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What is DNS?

The DNS, or the Domain Name System, maps domain names to human-readable IP addresses and is the glue that holds our modern Internet together.

A Brief History of the DNS

Thirty years ago, when the Internet was still in its infancy when you wanted to visit a website you had to know the IP address of that site. That’s because computers are and were only able to communicate using numbers.

This is an IP address: 127.33.54.200.

It’s long, hard to remember, and we (humans, I presume) are not robots. We needed a way to translate computer-readable information into human-readable. And it had to be fast, lightweight, and scalable.

In the early 1980’s, Paul Mockapetris came up with a system that automatically mapped IP addresses to domain names.. and the DNS was born. This same system still serves as the backbone of the modern Internet, today.

And yet, only a small subset of the world knows that it exists, and an even smaller group understand what it does. The real problem is that the people that need to know how it works and could actually benefit from this knowledge… don’t take the time to learn.

If you’re a webmaster, web designer, front-end developer, IT, or technical support you need to know the basics of how DNS works and how it can help you manage your domain’s presence on the Internet.

Further Reading

How the DNS Works

DNS for Web Developers

Optimize Your Website with DNS

What is Anycast DNS?

Which DNS Record to Use and Why