When a device connects to the internet, there is a lot happening behind the scenes. The first step is to assign the device an unique identifier called an IP address. Once this is assigned, the device can then process web request. One of the most popular uses of the internet is to visit various website on the internet.
When one types in a website like www.dnschampion.com into their web browser, a lot more happens than one would think. Since all internet connected devices are assigned an IP address, names like www.dnschampion.com do not make sense to internet connected devices, since they can only connect to other devices by using their IP address. This is where Domain name system servers or DNS servers come into use. A DNS server is an internet connected computer that helps one computer connect to another computer. What they do is they take the request of connecting to www.dnschampion.com and they look up in a database what IP address is the server assigned who is hosting www.dnschampion.com. It then finds the appropriate IP address and then sends this information back to the device who requested it. The device then receives the information and is able to connect to the website that the visitor wanted to visit.
One can bypass a DNS server altogether, by directly typing in the website’s IP address into the address bar in a web browser. For example, if one typed in 18.104.22.168 in the address bar it would connect directly to www.dnschampion.com without using a DNS server.
A DNS server may not sound that important, in regards to efficiency but it truly is. For example when a user visits a single website, the DNS server is queried numerous times, because it has to load not only the website that the user wants to visit, but all of the other script links that host scripts, content delivery network links, and any other website that the browsed websites has to load. This means that the DNS could be queried hundreds of times for just one visit to one website. There are thousands of different DNS servers and most are maintained by ISP companies, but they all get their information from DNS root servers. There are twelve DNS root servers, which provide updated data to all of the DNS servers, so the content is the same for all DNS servers.
Typically an internet user is assigned a DNS server when they connect to the internet by their ISP, at the same time they are assigned the IP address. Some DNS servers are public, meaning anyone can connect to them. There are many disadvantages to using the default DNS server that the ISP assigns to the user. One is a lack of speed. For example, one reason for this is that most ISP DNS servers are made from cheap hardware and are usually overused. This is because they are not trying to promote a service and the DNS servers have to fulfill the request of all internet users that an ISP provides service to. Another reason is because of the lack of server locations, and because of this one could be assigned a DNS server in different state or territory then they are located, which will reduce page loading time as well. Some public DNS servers even have special technology to enable faster internet browsing. Another disadvantage is privacy. Some ISP’s are now even selling information from their DNS servers, since they know every website the user has visited. They can sale this data as anonymous data to marketing companies. Because of this some public DNS servers have no logging. Another reason is security. Some public DNS servers have anti malware filters, so if one requests a malware website, the DNS can stop the computer before it connects to the malware website. Last but not least some public DNS servers also include family friendly services, which can block adult content. Most public DNS servers are also DNSSEC certified, which means they have passed certain criteria to safe and efficiently run as a DNS server. Almost everyone will agree they would want a faster, more secure and more private internet experience, and this is why this is such a hugely overlooked technology. The best part about public DNS servers is that almost all of them are free to use.