DNS provider


What exactly is DNS provider, and how does it work?

In: 2

A DNS provider essentially converts a website’s name (eg: google.com) to an IP address (eg: so your computer knows where to access the website.

It’s kind of like a phone book for the internet.

DNS is the service that converts names like “www.reddit.com” to its IP address, like

There are two different definitions of a “DNS provider”. First is the service that does what I just described above. Every ISP provides their customers with a DNS provider – typically themselves – but 3rd party providers exist. Examples include google, opendns, and cloudflare. Normally I would just stick to your ISP’s unless you suspect they’re up to something nefarious, or they perform poorly.

The second type is used by hosting companies. If you actually owned reddit.com, you need DNS servers so that the world can request the IP addresses for http://www.reddit.com from you. You could host your own DNS servers, but you could also pay another company to provide that service to you. It’s recommended that you have 2+ DNS servers geographically diverse so that they’re unlikely to both be dead at the same time for any reason, so paying someone to be at least 1 of the 2+ often makes sense.

It is a server or group of servers containing a table of network domain names and their associated numeric IP addresses. A DNS server takes them from other upstream or authoritative servers, makes a copy and allows other clients to contact it to obtain this information. If a DNS server is placed on a local network, then the number of requests that have to be made outside is reduced.

You need domain names to have more easily memorable addresses, or to provide multiple names for virtual servers on the same address.

Computers do not speak english, or any human language.

What we (humans) think of as an internet address, is actually not. http://www.reddit.com is just a word it’s not an address. http://www.reddit.com is known as a domain name, but actual internet addresses normally look like groups of numbers.

Where I live, reddit.com is actually hosted on a computer at the address (among a few others). But no human could ever remember an address like that, it’s insane. Imagine the following conversation..

“Did you hear about that cool news story? A man was eaten by a bear!”
“OMG no, where did you read that?”
“I read it on”

That would never happen. Humans do a much better job of remembering words rather than long groups of numbers. So instead this happens

“Did you hear about that cool news story? A man was eaten by a bear!”
“OMG no, where did you read that?”
“I read it on reddit.com”

So computers use one kind of address and humans use a different one.

A DNS provider is what translates between these kinds of addresses. It’s just like a long list of domain names and the actual addresses associated with them.

So when you type in http://www.reddit.com your computer goes, “Oh, this is a human address, I shal contact my DNS provider and ask them to look this up for me.” It then contacts the DNS provider and says “Please look up http://www.reddit.com and tell me the address.” The DNS provider replies “the address is”.

Your computer then goes to and requests it’s webpage. That webpage is reddit and it loads reddit and shows it to you.