Domain Name System
DNS Explained – A brief history
Computers that are attached to the internet are each identified by unique IP addresses in order that messages can be routed correctly between them.
IP addresses are numeric in nature (e.g. 22.214.171.124), and are rather like telephone numbers insofar that they are not particularly easy to remember, and certainly don’t say very much about the computer they represent. Each networked computer has a hosts file, and in a small network of computers a hosts file might look like this:
This file is a like a simple address book. So, instead of entering http://192.168.0.10 to connect to the web server, users could just type in http://webserver and connect to the same server. Inevitably, networks grew and grew, and before long it became impractical to manage hosts file on each computer.
In 1983 the first naming system was designed whereby instead of keeping a local address list as above, computers could query central name servers. It was structured like a tree where each branch could become a administrative domain of authority – thus the term Domain Name System.
Continue to page 2 to read about how the domain name system is structured…