what it is, how it works and how to configure a domain’s DNS – WAU

DNS is a system that contains a list of domain names and allows users to find a page using those names. It is fundamental for the functioning of the internet, to optimize the performance and security of a website.

The DNS system is crucial for communication on the internet. Any strategy that involves expansion in the digital environment needs to consider this concept, its configuration and its implications.

It is necessary to understand, for example, the relationship between DNS, the security and performance of a website so that better results are achieved.

All users use DNS daily and it works so quickly that it can go unnoticed. So how exactly does it structure the world wide web? That’s what we’re going to discuss in this content.

Throughout the post, you will better understand the backstage of the large network and be able to configure your site better. We will cover the following topics:

What is DNS?

The DNS – from the English Domain Name System – is an acronym for domain name system. As the name suggests, it is a record that contains website names and associated IP addresses. This correlation favors the transfer of data between computers and allows access to the internet.

A more simplified understanding of DNS requires only a look at a browser’s address bar. The domain is the name of the website (rockcontent.com, for example), and the name server stores a set of them.

In short: DNS is nothing more than an abstraction at the user level, which allows pages to be found on the internet. Each of them is unique to each site.

What is DNS for websites for?

Web sites are stored on special machines, called servers, through hosting services. As we already know, each server must have a unique address that allows people to find that site and be able to access their data. Web addresses contain an IP combination and an associated domain.

To better understand this concept, we will go deeper into how the communication protocol of the large network works. The internet works based on the IP standard, which differs from many others by the use of addressed packets.

That is, each element on a website is sent in a package and is interpreted on the computer that views that information. Images, texts and videos are broken into packages and sent gradually.

However, each machine on the network only communicates with another when it knows its IP. If computer X wants to receive packets from Y, it must first initiate an interaction with Y. This is only done if X knows the IP number of Y. The interaction then begins with a kind of search for the number of Y.

When a user opens the browser and types the URL address referring to the domain of a website, he sends a request on the network to find the respective IP of the server that stores it.

The request is sent to your ISP, and it is forwarded to DNS. Thus, DNS functions as something that in computing is called an interface: a kind of translator who establishes communication between two parties.

Humans do not work with IP addresses arranged in the form of bits, and computers do not know how to interpret names with our alphabetic code. However, the DNS system understands and processes both types of information, since it has a list with this data and is able to allow interaction between these different levels of abstraction.

The server processes this, finds the address for that name and returns it to the computer that sent the user’s request. Thus, it is possible to establish the connection so that the packages are sent and the person can see the structure of the site with links, videos and images in their browser.

How does DNS work on hosting?

DNS works in a subsystem infrastructure, with different servers processing information and transmitting it to others. It is like a customer service where each employee transfers the contact to the specialist in the particular subject in question.

Recursive DNS works on the first layer, receiving requests directly from ISPs. It then passes this information on to a more specific subsystem, the Root Nameserver. This, in turn, also organizes the requests and transfers them forward to the TLD Nameserver.

The Nameserver TLD is responsible for grouping domains according to a specific term that standardizes them, the suffix: “.com” or “.org”, for example. When you type “rockcontent.com”, that request is directed to TLD.com, which contains the names of that category.

Then, the request finally reaches the last record, the authoritative Nameserver, which contains a list of the most specific names and IPs. It is essential that this path be followed, as the combinations of addresses on the internet are extremely numerous, and these servers help to catalog them.

How to configure domain DNS?

When a user starts a website, he needs to hire a hosting system (host), which stores the data on a server, and register a domain. Registration is performed by specific companies that offer this service.

In cases where the host is different from the company that provides the registration, it is essential to perform a configuration to connect the domain to the DNS servers. This connection is like registering a new name in existing name lists.

Thus, the new address will go through a process called propagation, which usually involves 24 to 72 hours, and then the site will be available for online access.

Propagation consists of the replication of a new domain by all DNS servers in the world – which allows an address to be found anywhere via the internet.

This definition is simple and can be made by anyone. Next, we will present a step by step.

Configuration

Initially, the goal is to find information regarding the nameservers provided by the hosting used. Usually, this data appears in the e-mail of the purchase of a plan and is also available on the panel. You must copy this information.

Then, you need to log in to the domain registrar website. We use as an example the Registro BR, which is responsible for London internet sites. With the login and password, you will be able to access the name information you just purchased.

DNS configuration

Then find the link “change DNS servers”.

DNS configuration

In “editing data”, you will find two fields for “master” and “slave 1”. In these, you must paste the nameservers provided by the hosting provider (the example is HostGator). Then, it’s time to save the data and wait for it to propagate.

DNS configuration

Even though the example was specific to the case of these two companies, the step by step is basically the same for other options as well.

Free DNS vs Premium DNS: which is better?

In addition to hosting systems, users are also able to hire specific services to manage a website’s DNS.

So, what is important to consider when choosing one?

Important factors

There are three fundamental factors when it comes to DNS servers: security, redundancy and performance.

Performance is associated with the speed of opening a website. As we have seen throughout this post, DNS processing directly interferes with the speed of communication with a web page. This factor is very important and reflects the engagement and experience of users.

It is worth remembering, for example, that 53% of people abandon a page whether it takes more than 3 seconds to load and display information, according to Google. According to the same survey, 67% claim that this is what bothers the user experience most.

Security represents resistance to possible virtual attacks, such as DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service). One of these attacks can redirect the user to a completely different website, run by criminals who steal data. That is, this can be used against the company that maintains that address and affect its reputation.

Another factor is redundancy, a very relevant term when it comes to networks and servers. It is the ability to maintain an application in the air continuously. When a particular server fails, the solution is to connect access to a secondary machine.

This avoids instability of an address and keeps the site available to users even when facing a very large number of accesses.

Comparation

With these aspects in mind, it is possible to compare the common and premium free DNS service. Generally, free ones are associated with hosting services and offer a simple architecture to protect security, guarantee performance and redundancy. Some even have some protection against DDoS, including, but it is very limited.

Premium services are much more robust and complete, therefore, ideal for large companies with businesses that cannot risk running a website. Think of an online store, for example.

It must be able to stay online all the time, because if it becomes unavailable, the company loses profit and sales opportunities. In addition, performance is crucial and so is security, as customers often enter personal data.

In premium systems, the user has:

  • secondary servers for redundancy;
  • a dashboard for viewing relevant data and for DNS management;
  • reports;
  • two-step authentication to enforce protection;
  • better performance and scalability, as it allows millions of queries with the same stability.

The DNS server is essential for the functioning of the large network and is present in our daily lives, even if we do not pay much attention.

When setting up a website, it is essential to establish performance and reliability, which ensures speed and directly impacts a company’s results in the digital environment.

Now that you know more about the subject, take the opportunity to check out a checklist with the steps to a perfect website.

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