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How DNS Servers Work
DNS (Domain Name System)

ball Domain Name Servers: The DNS is a set of distributed databases containing IP (Internet Protocol) addresses and their corresponding domain names. If you spend any time on the Internet sending e-mail or browsing the Web, then you use domain name servers without even realizing it. Domain name servers, or DNS, are an incredibly important but completely hidden part of the Internet, and they are fascinating. The DNS system forms one of the largest and most active distributed databases on the planet. Without DNS, the Internet would shut down very quickly.

ball Domain Name Mapping: Each domain name is mapped to a particular numeric address. Reading the Netsouth domain name www.ncsnet.com from left to right, the first item (www) is the name of the host computer itself. The next item (ncsnet) is the second-level domain name, and usually reflects an organization name. The last item (com) is a top-level domain name, and describes the organization who owns the second-level name.

ball Email Addresses: In an e-mail address such as "support@ncsnet.com", the domain name follows the @ symbol, and often consists only of a second-level domain and top-level domain name (ncsnet.com).

ball IP Addresses: Names like "business.com" are easy for people to remember, but they don't do machines any good. All of the machines use names called IP addresses to refer to one another. For example, the machine that we refer to as "www.business.com" has a specific IP address of the format Every time you use a domain name, you use the Internet's domain name servers (DNS) to translate the human-readable domain name into the machine-readable IP address. During a day of browsing and e-mailing, you might access the domain name servers hundreds of times!