DNS Lookup

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What is DNS?

After reading this Article

You'll be able to understand:

DNS or Domain Name System is assigned to an IP address for an easier human understanding and interaction.

What is DNS?

DNS or Domain Name System is the address book of the internet. Every Computer System or an Online Server has an IP address (Internet Protocol) assigned. It can be either an IPv4 address or IPv6, e.g. 192.168.1.1 or 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334 respectively. These addresses are hard to remember especially the IPv6 address.

To solve this problem, we created DNS Server or Domain Name System servers to rectify this issue. The domain can be anything. A DNS example is example.com or server99s.com. The web browsers do not understand this domain name so this should be converted into an IPv4 or IPv6 address.

To put it in a simple Sentance, DNS converts the IP address of a machine/System and Vice versa for a better computer and human understanding respectively.

DNS-server-server99s

How DNS works

Let's assume you have to open the website server99s.com on your computer. You type server99s.com in your search box and it takes you the homepage of our website. There is one more process hidden behind this. The DNS resolution or DNS conversion takes place between the process of redirecting you to the homepage.

When you type in server99s.com, the DNS converter changes the hostname to a computer-friendly IP address such as 192.168.1.1.

It can be seen as the street address when you have to find your home. DNS resolution looks for the appropriate IP address to locate the correct device.

Like we mentioned earlier in the article, this process happens behind the scenes and there is no need for a human interaction except the part where you enter the hostname. DNS resolution can be divided into 4 parts. There are 4 types of DNS servers and these hardware work together to get the work done for us.

Types of DNS server (DNS Types)

DNS servers can be divided into 4 parts.
  • DNS recursor
  • Root Nameserver
  • TLD Nameserver
  • Authoritative Nameserver

DNS recursor

You can think of it as a Housing Company which helps you to find a home in your city. DNS recursor collects all the requests from the client and is responsible for all DNS queries. It then initiates the further process of converting the Domain to a System IP.

Root Nameserver

It is the first step when the Recursor initiates the process of Domain into the IP. Think of it as the Representative from the Housing Company. He will take you to the house.

Authoritative Nameserver

It is the last part of our DNS Server List. When the TLD nameserver triggers the request to send the data back to the DNS Recursor, it checks the authorization of the DNS query. If the DNS query matches in the Authoritative NS records, it returns the IP of the System to the DNS recursor, and the whole data set is sent back to the Client.

Think of it as your room in your house where you are going to live.

DNS Lookup Process

DNS server Server99s A typical DNS lookup process follows these steps
  1. When you enter server99s.com in your URL search box, the query or the data packet is sent to a DNS recursive resolver with the help of your internet connection. Now it is called a DNS query.
  2. The DNS query is passed through a recursive resolver and sent to the Root Nameserver.
  3. The root server then responds to the resolver with the address of a Top-Level Domain (TLD) DNS server (such as .com or .net), which stores the information for its domains. In the case of Server99s.com. The TLD points our request to the .com TLD Server.
  4. After receiving a request, the resolver requests the TLD DNS server (in case of server99s.com, it's .com)
  5. Then the TLD server checks the records, and if it matches the request, the TLD server responds with the IP address to the DNS query.
  6. In the end, the recursive resolver sends the query to the DNS nameserver.
  7. Now The browser makes an HTTP request to the IP address and it returns the data to the browser.
  8. The browser parses that webpage and performs necessary actions such as On-page javascript and other queries to make the page look just as the developers intended to.

DNS Resolver

DNS Resolver is the computer which awaits for the queries sent to the DNS server by the client. When you request the DNS Server, the DNS resolver is the first step in handling those requests. DNS resolver then triggers other critical requests that lead to the conversion of the DNS query into an IP address which is sent back to the client.

The difference between the recursive DNS resolver and the recursive DNS query is simple. The recursive DNS resolver is a computer system that handles all the requests made by the client. A recursive DNS query is a request sent by the client that is a set of directions sent for the recursive DNS resolver to handle.

Types of DNS query

Recursive DNS Query

The recursive DNS query is the most general type of request which is sent to the DNS server. A DNS client sends the request to the DNS server, and these two conditions take place.

A)) If there is a record available for the DNS server to respond, it sends the data to the client.

B)) If there is no record available, the DNS server responds with an error to the client.

Non-recursive Query

When a DNS resolver client queries a DNS server, it looks for the record available in the database. If the DNS server has any record available in the current database or cache, it sends the data back to the client.

The DNS server saves the data in the cache to save time and additional bandwidth consumption on upstream servers.

Iterative DNS Query

You may have noticed it sometimes when you try to open a website, and it shows a list of domains that are similar to the website you searched for.

Iterative DNS query usually occurs when you request a DNS server that has no record available of the DNS query. DNS Server looks for the lower level of the authoritative namespace available in the chain and refers to it. This process keeps going on until it finds the appropriate and working hostname in the chain, or there is a timeout.

DNS Leak

DNS leak is a security flaw in a system connected to the internet that allows your local ISP (Internet service provider) to see what websites you are visiting and what is your current location.

Many VPN providers do not reroute your request through a proxy server. Although it changes your IP address (which makes for someone to pinpoint your current location a little bit harder) but with the help of the DNS, your local ISP can monitor your activity. Most of these VPN services do not reroute your DNS requests through a proxy server.

To prevent this, you need to set up your DNS server in a way that redirects your request through a proxy server. There are many free resources available to overcome this flaw.

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