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Domain Naming System Essay

3516 words - 15 pages

Domain Name System
By: Teresa M. Wade

In today’s society, technology has made life very convenient. One of those conveniences is the World Wide Web (WWW) commonly known as the Internet. From the touch of a button or a click of a mouse a user can gain access to a plethora of information. There are many different protocols and services that are interconnected to provide this ability. One such service is called Domain Naming System (DNS). DNS is an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. This may not seem like a big deal to most but many would beg to differ if they had known that without DNS they would have to remember billions of numbers. Everything in a network ...view middle of the document...

The growth of networking required a more scalable system that recorded a change in a host's address in one location only. Other hosts would learn about the change dynamically through a notification system, thus completing a globally accessible network of all hosts' names and their associated IP addresses. So before we talk about this dynamic notification let’s look at the basics of a domain.
The domain name system uses a tree name structure. At the top of the tree is the root and followed by the top level domains and a number of lower levels. A domain name is separated by a period. The label on the right side is the top level domain (.com) and the left side is a sub-domain (yahoo). The terms domain and sub-domain are interchangeable. Sub-domain is typically a term relative to domain and refers to a domain contained within full domain. When a node is added to the left hand side you get a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN). DNS is separated into zones and each zone is served by a name server, which can host several zones. A zone is a collection of connected nodes. A name server that has complete information for that zone is said to be an authority for that zone. When an IP address or hostname is resolved it searched through several name servers. If a name server is not working then a host cannot access any resource on the network. That is the reason for several name servers. If the primary does not respond then a host can use the secondary. Name servers are listed by name rather than by IP address. The difference between a domain and zone is subtle. A zone contains the domain names and data that a domain contains *except* for the domain names and data that are delegated elsewhere. Using the term delegated means making someone else responsible for the sub domain. This delegation property is why DNS is often called a distributed database. (DNS and BIND, 2000)
The basic unit of data in DNS is called a resource record. Each record has a designated type such as A or MX (WindowsITPro, 2001). An A type is the most common. It translates a domain name into an IP address. A CNAME uses an alias for an internet address. A Pointer Record, or PTR, is used for reverse queries. That is if you have the IP address but not the hostname. That's why PTR records have become important. Originally, PTR records were just intended as a convenience. There still are no requirements that you have a PTR record but because of the abuse of the internet by spammers it is sometimes necessary. An MX record or Mail Exchanger record specifies how Internet e-mail should be routed using the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). Each MX record contains a preference and a host name, so that the collection of MX records for a given domain name point to the servers that should receive e-mail for that domain, and their priority relative to each other (MX Record, 2009). An NS record will list which name servers can answer the DNS requests. Records that have the same...

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