DNS stands for Domain Name System. The decentralized naming system converts domain names into codes that can trace the particular service under that numerical identity. This technology designates authoritative name servers to domain names. These name servers can be used to locate the assigned service and differentiate it from other services from the many available ones in the online space. Protocols and hierarchies are used behind domains. The DNS defines the specific protocols and hierarchies used. Whenever queries are directed to a database, the DNS provides answers to them. Here’s more about DNS.
Just like any other technology, the DNS has a little history. It dates back to the days of ARPANET. It all started with the Stanford Research Institute. Files existed with HOSTS.TXT extensions when saved. Stanford worked in arms with the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute (USCISI) to ensure the directory of the numerical addresses on ARPANET was well maintained.
A lady by the name of Feinler worked hard daily to manually assign addresses to files. It must have been a tedious job. They say necessity is the mother of all creations, and at this point, Feinler and her team realized a need to be innovative. From there, the concept of domains was created.
This brilliant mind suggested domains should be tied to the computer’s remote location. That meant the computer’s location would determine its domain name. A computer-based in an educational center would be assigned an edu extension. All these inventions and readjustments were happening in the 1970s and 1980s. Being a new idea, it would take time to be actualized and improved. Nevertheless, the brilliant minds working on the creation worked relentlessly to ensure the idea came to life and worked perfectly.
Just like any other computer software, this too has a structure. Below are some of the main components of a DNS structure:
- Domain namespace
- Domain name syntax
- Name servers
The above three have different functionalities and representations. The domain name space assumes a tree-like data structure. The branches of this tree-like structure store data linked to the domain name. The root is another zone as well as the stem zone. All these zones have different representations. A zone may have as little as one zone or as many as there can be with even more subzones. The zone manager makes the decision of the number of domains and sub-domains a zone will have.
A domain name contains labels separated by dots. Labels are parts of a domain name completing the identity of a domain—for instance, malobarasa.com. In the example, we have two parts, and each referred to as labels. The dot separates the two parts. That is the conventional expression of the domain name. Now, let’s focus on its structure. For instance, in a domain name like www.wineverything.com, there is a hierarchy. The right-most label represents the top-level domain. This means the left-most part is the lowest in rank. The hierarchy ascends as you move to the right. Conversely, it descends as you move to the left. Therefore, the parts on the left are subdomains.
The last component of a DNS structure is the name server. There are different types of name servers, and one of them is the authoritative name server. This kind of server responds to DNS queries. But, not all questions. The answers are only provided to sources and not just any other source. Each DNS is entitled to several authoritative name servers.
How It works
Knowledge of how DNS operates is critical. Configuration must always be done for effective functionality. Initial caches are used in the configuration process, which should be regularly updated. Well, it is important to note that caches may not be available in some situations. In such cases, a query should be sent to the root servers. The root server may not respond directly. Alternatively, it will refer the query to the topmost servers, i.e., authoritative servers. At that level, the query can be responded to, and configuration may continue to take place.
Caching has many benefits to the root server. With every update to be done, caches are sought whose absence the root server will be queried. The process is repetitive, and this can cause the root server to be overloaded. That should not be the case. Caching helps relieve this pressure from the root server. That way, the server will be in perfect condition to execute its functions.
The internet barely needs authoritative name servers to be operational. But imagine all the incoming queries being directed to the authoritative name servers. Buffering and downtimes would clog the internet big time. Caching comes in to prevent this.
Once a query is sent to the server for the first time, a local copy is saved by the local computer for quite some time. Every time an identical query is sent, the locally available copy is made available. This saves the local computer time to fetch the results and protects the root server from traffic. This will be the case until the time allocated for the caching elapses.
The only shortcoming with this is that the user will only have access to the same information even though answers to the same query might have been updated from the root server. But, with the latest releases, updates happen in real-time.
Domain Name System (DNS) is a naming system that codes remote computers’ identities. Once this happens, the numerical code will be the computer’s identity. The DNS has a theoretical underpinning defined in terms of structure. There’s the domain name space, domain name syntax, and name servers. Each local computer is identified based on location, and the aforementioned three advise the naming structure and the operations. Caching is of benefit to both the root server and the local computer. It also saves the user time. Together, DNS and caching work closely to make the user have a better experience.