What’s in a name? Resolving with DNS

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According to Internet Live Stats, there are 996,814,563 websites on a internet! They all exist on millions of computers around a world, any with their possess address. How are we means to find a one we’re looking for?

Image Credit: Carl Boisson

Image Credit: Carl Boisson

Behind a scenes, there’s a network of special computers called DNS servers. DNS servers are to networks as GPS devices are to drivers. They give directions to other computers in a identical conform to how a GPS leads drivers to addresses.

The Basics

Every mechanism on a internet is reserved an IP address. This is a singular set of numbers that offer as a network location., for example, tells us accurately where a mechanism that hosts a New York Times website lives on a internet. Imagine carrying to remember that to review a news. Now, suppose carrying to remember a set of numbers for any website we revisit any day! Computers pronounce math, a denunciation of numbers, though constantly typing out prolonged strings of digits would make networks a pain to navigate. Domain Name System (DNS) servers act as a middle-man. Their primary duty is bend people-friendly names (sites, domains) into computer-friendly numbers (IP addresses). This routine is called name resolution.

Navigating Networks

When we daub a plcae on your GPS, it shows a name of a investiture in plain English (or your denunciation of choice). In actuality, a name we entered corresponds to a set of numbers within a GPS, famous as longitude embodiment (and infrequently altitude). To make it easier for you, it translates a names to numbers and vise-versa.

“It’s distant easier to hunt for directions to ‘The New York Times building’ than for 40° 45′ 23″ N, 73° 59′ 24″ W
40.756389, -73.99″

Before it can assistance people find a computers, printers, and files they need, a DNS server needs to have a record of where these things live within a network. This is rubbed by DNS Zones. You can consider of a DNS section as we would a set of addresses in your GPS. The latest GPS units will have a few set of addresses that organisation points of seductiveness such as restaurants, parks, and gas stations. On tip of all of that, there is a “home” button. Similarly, DNS zones have “directions” to opposite areas of a network, and a primary section that leads to a domain (home).

Image Credit: Carl Boisson

Image Credit: Carl Boisson

Get Directions

Some of a common zones found in DNS include: Forward Lookup Zones, Reverse Lookup Zones, and Stub Zones. A Forward Lookup Zone contains a set of addresses that can be found if we know a name of a apparatus you’re looking for. If we know that a apparatus you’re looking for resides on Puppies.com, we would use that tenure to query it and that residence would be found in a Forward Lookup Zone. This is same to acid for “Puppy Paradise” by name to find a residence on a GPS.

A Reverse Lookup Zone contains a set of names that conform to addresses and is used to establish a name that corresponds to a specific IP address. If you’re perplexing to establish that apparatus is located during, acid with that IP would produce a name of a apparatus (i.e. Puppies.Com). This can be likened to inputting 40.603216 , -73.959591 into a GPS to establish that Puppy Palace is during that location.

A Stub Zone doesn’t enclose approach addresses to resources. Instead, it points to other DNS servers that have Forward and Reverse Lookup Zones that are outward of that DNS’s domain. Imagine we have an American GPS, and need a European residence (GLONASS). When we searched for this address, there would be a couple to a European device that has that address. (At a time of this writing, I’m not certain this is a genuine underline of GPS devices).

Sorting a Address Book

Within DNS zones are specific addresses to a resources that a section contains. These are referred to as Resource Records of that there are 7 common types: SOA, NS, A, PTR, CNAME, MX, SRV. We won’t get into a sum of any record form now but, if you’d like to learn more, a consummate overview can be found here. These annals can embody names that conform to addresses (A), addresses that indicate to names (PTR), and annals for special addresses like e-mail servers (MX). One of these annals (SOA) is vicious to DNS’ functionality. This allows a DNS resolver (the customer creation a DNS query) to establish if that server has management to announce possibly or not a apparatus can be found on that domain.

I Need Answers!

The hunt for an Authoritative server isn’t always so easy. DNS servers can be widespread opposite many floors of a bend office, or even opposite continents. In sequence to streamline a process, dual forms of queries are used for name resolution: Recursive Queries and Iterative Queries. Let’s illustrate.

Congratulations, you’re a CEO of a Fortune 500 association that manufactures rubber duckies. You need to find out how many duckies were sole in India final May. You call in your Vice President of sales in Asia, and ask him to uncover we a numbers, though he’s clueless. As a boss, we design approach answers; it would be unsuitable to to ask someone else. This would be an instance of a Recursive Query. In a same manner, when a DNS server creates a recursive query, it is awaiting a decisive (authoritative) approbation or no, and not to be destined to other DNS servers.

Your VP of Asian sales is now broke by his miss of preparation. He’s frantically acid for anyone who might have a specific sales news we requested. He e-mails a VP of general selling in Brussels, who tells him to call a President of rubber prolongation in Calcutta, who in spin leads him to Skype a VP of Global sales in Damascus, who, finally, is means to brazen a Indian Duckie Sales news to a VP of Asian sales. This is an instance of an Iterative Query. Similarly, a DNS server creates an iterative query with a bargain that it might be destined to several other servers before it finds a residence it’s looking for.

Now your VP of Asian sales can tell we that your association sole 200,000 rubber duckies final May, a same approach a DNS server would solve a residence of a site we searched for (authoritative yes). Because he was means to get in hold with a chairman obliged (authoritative) for generating that report, he could’ve also told we that a news isn’t ready/available, a same approach a DNS server could come behind with a “webpage is not available” summary (authoritative yes). In possibly case, a DNS server with management for a domain was means to give a decisive approbation or no.

Just Scratching the Surface

There’s most some-more to DNS than what was lonesome here, like bargain underlying technology, standards, and implementation. I’ve supposing a few links of how we can puncture serve into this topic. Thanks for reading!

Written by Carl Boisson on Medium.com