The Domain Name System

A Domain Name System (DNS) name server connects you to the websites you want to visit. Understanding just how it does that requires a little background on how people and computers interact.


THE BACKBONE OF THE INTERNET

Computers work best in the language of numbers, while humans do better with words. Today’s Internet was built in a way that caters to each preference, allowing both computers and people to navigate the Web with ease. This means that every website has two names, or addresses. One is a domain name easily remembered by humans, such as verisigninc.com. The other is a unique, computer-friendly series of numbers, or Internet Protocol (IP) address.

A Domain Name System (DNS) is a database that stores all of the domain names and corresponding IP numbers for a particular top-level domain (TLD) such as .com or .net. The DNS identifies and locates computer systems and resources on the Internet. For instance, when you type in a Web address, or URL, the DNS will match the typed name with the IP address for that location and connect you to that site.

IT IS IN THE BOX

DNS name servers are physical servers that store the DNS database records. These domain name servers are the hardware that handles literally billions of requests every day. Each time someone types a web address into their browser, a domain name server somewhere around the world receives the query, locates the IP address and directs that person’s computer to the proper website - all in just a few seconds.

DISSECTING A DOMAIN NAME

The best way to understand a domain name is to start to the right of the first dot. The characters after the dot signify the top-level domain or TLD. Each TLD has one or more second-level domain names (verisigninc.com); each second-level domain can have many third-level domain names (support.verisigninc.com). Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs) use characters from many different scripts, such as Kanji and Arabic, and not just the familiar Latin alphabet.

REGISTERING A DOMAIN NAME

Domain names are registered for a period of one to ten years by an individual or an organisation. A user contacts a registrar or reseller to register a domain name. The registrar verifies that the domain name is available by checking with the registry that manages the corresponding TLD. If it is available, the registrar registers the domain name with the registry, which adds it to the registry database. At the end of the registration period, the domain name registrant can either renew the domain name or let it expire. Find a Registrar

THIS IS WHAT WE DO

As the global leader in domain names, Verisign powers the invisible navigation that takes people to where they want to go on the Internet. For more than 15 years, Verisign has operated the infrastructure for a portfolio of top-level domains that today include .com, .net, .tv, .edu, .gov, .jobs, .name and .cc, as well as two of the world’s 13 Internet root servers. Verisign’s product suite also includes Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Protection Services, iDefense Security Intelligence Services and Managed DNS.

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