DNS (Domain Name System): A Simple Guide in 2023

Last Updated on 11th January 2023 by Ajmer Singh

DNS, or Domain Name System, is a fundamental component of the internet that enables users to connect to websites using easily memorable domain names, such as example.com, instead of having to remember the numerical IP addresses of the servers hosting those websites.

It is a hierarchical system that converts human-friendly domain names into the IP addresses that computers use to locate and communicate with each other over the internet.

Without DNS, users would have to type in IP addresses to access websites, making the internet much harder to navigate.

DNS operates on a client-server model, where DNS clients, such as web browsers, send requests to DNS servers to resolve domain names to IP addresses.

DNS servers, in turn, provide the necessary information for the client to establish a connection to the server hosting the website.

This system allows for a decentralized and scalable method of managing domain names and IP addresses.

What is DNS: A Simple Guide to Understand!

I. Introduction

dns guide

A. Explanation of DNS

DNS (Domain Name System) is a system that maps domain names to IP addresses.

When a user types a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) into their web browser, DNS converts that URL into the corresponding IP address for the server hosting the website.

This process allows users to access websites using easily memorable domain names, rather than having to remember the IP address of the server hosting the website.

B. Importance of DNS for WordPress users

Understanding DNS is important for WordPress users, as it plays a crucial role in the setup and maintenance of a WordPress website.

Without a properly configured DNS, a website may not be accessible to users or may experience other issues.

II. How DNS Works

dns guide

A. Domain Name System structure

DNS is based on a hierarchical structure, with the root domain at the top level.

The root domain is followed by the top-level domain (TLD), such as .com, .org, or .edu, and then the second-level domain (SLD), such as example.com.

The SLD is then followed by any subdomains, such as blog.example.com. Each level in the hierarchy is controlled by a DNS server.

B. DNS request and response process

When a user types a URL into their web browser, the browser sends a request to a DNS resolver, which is typically provided by the user’s internet service provider (ISP).

The DNS resolver starts by looking in its local cache to see if it already has the IP address for the requested domain.

If it doesn’t, it sends a request to the root DNS server, which responds with the IP address of a top-level domain (TLD) server, such as a .com or .org server.

The DNS resolver then sends a request to the TLD server, which responds with the IP address of the SLD server, such as example.com.

Finally, the DNS resolver sends a request to the SLD server, which responds with the IP address of the web server hosting the website.

C. Role of DNS servers

DNS servers play an important role in the DNS system.

Root servers are responsible for keeping a list of all TLD servers, while TLD servers are responsible for keeping a list of all SLD servers.

SLD servers are responsible for maintaining a list of all the IP addresses for the domains they control.

III. DNS and WordPress

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A. Setting up DNS for a WordPress website

Setting up DNS for a WordPress website involves creating DNS records for the domain name.

The most important record is the A record, which maps the domain name to the IP address of the web server hosting the website.

Other DNS records that may be needed include MX records for email, CNAME records for subdomains, and TXT records for security.

B. Using DNS to point a domain to a WordPress site

Once DNS is configured, it can be used to point a domain to a WordPress site.

This is done by creating an A record that maps the domain name to the IP address of the web server hosting the website, and a CNAME record that maps www.example.com to example.com

C. Common DNS issues with WordPress and how to resolve them

Some common DNS issues that may be encountered when setting up or maintaining a WordPress website include:

DNS propagation: After making changes to DNS records, it can take some time for the changes to propagate throughout the internet.

During this time, some users may still see the old DNS information.

Incorrect DNS records: If DNS records are incorrect, the website may not be accessible or may not function properly.

This can be resolved by checking and correcting any incorrect DNS records.

DNS server downtime: If the DNS server hosting a domain’s records is down, the website may not be accessible.

This can be resolved by contacting the DNS hosting provider and finding an alternate DNS server.

Firewall/Security Settings: If the firewalls or security settings are not configured properly it might block the DNS request, this can be resolved by reviewing and adjusting the firewall or security settings.

IV. Managing DNS for a WordPress Website

dns guide

A. Tools for managing DNS

There are various tools available to help manage DNS, including web-based DNS management interfaces provided by the DNS hosting provider, command-line tools such as nslookup and dig, and third-party software such as DNS Detective.

B. Best practices for maintaining DNS for a WordPress site

To maintain a stable and secure DNS for a WordPress website, it’s recommended to:

  • Keep the DNS records up-to-date.
  • Have backup copies of the DNS records in case of accidental deletion or data loss.
  • Keep an eye on the DNS server’s uptime and availability.
  • Keep an eye on the DNS server’s response time.
  • Keep the DNS server software updated.

C. How to troubleshoot DNS issues with WordPress

When troubleshooting DNS issues with WordPress, the following steps can be taken:

  • Check the DNS records and ensure that they are correct.
  • Check the DNS server’s uptime and availability.
  • Check the DNS server’s response time.
  • Check the Firewall or security settings.
  • Use tools like nslookup or dig to query the DNS server and see if the issue is resolved.
  • Check with the DNS hosting provider for any known issues or maintenance windows.

V. Conclusion

DNS plays a crucial role in the setup and maintenance of a WordPress website.

It maps domain names to IP addresses, allowing users to access websites using easily memorable domain names.

Understanding DNS, and how to properly configure and manage it, is important for WordPress users.