Saturday, November 6, 2010

What is DNS and why it is so important?

Most modern browsers sport DNS prefetching proudly in their major features. But why is it so important? How does it actually speed up your web browsing?

But what is DNS in the first place? I'll write a series of articles that will guide you through DNS and all other things related to it.

Moreover, there will be an article about even remarkably speeding up your web browsing by switching a few DNS settings. It's something you may have never thought about and it really speeds things up, for free, no installations. More on that, later, however.

What is DNS?

DNS, abbreviation of Domain Name System is a massive database that allows you to browse and download stuff from the Internet. For an explanation, consider this:

  • You type in a web address into your browser, like ''. 
  • The browser sends a request to your Internet Service Provider (ISP), who in turn sends the request to a DNS server. 
  • This server looks up your address and finds an IP address for the website you are trying to visit. 
  • If it doesn't have one, it sends a request to another DNS server.
  • When the IP address is found, it is sent back to your ISP, and then to your computer.
  • Your browser then uses that IP address to look up Right Now In Tech on the World Wide Web.

DNS is used for webpages, email and all kinds of other things that your computer does on your web, in various protocols. You might not even come to know, and you may easily be making hundreds to even thousands DNS requests in a day. 

Many times, even two or more IP addresses are required to display all the content on a website. This may be in case of adverts, which are actually located on other servers, embedded videos and many more things.

So that was the concept of DNS in a nutshell. Now, stay tuned to my blog for more on this, including DNS prefetching... and the part where I teach you how to speed up web browsing using alternate DNS servers. I'll also explain how it works.

To make sure you don't miss it, remember to subscribe to my blog. (P.S. Twitter is the best option of the three because all the posts are linked through it, and you may get some extra fun stuff.)

Update: Here's the next article in the series: All about DNS prefetching.
Update: And here's the third one: Beginners' Guide to choosing a better DNS server.