Domain Name System


Domain Name System (DNS) is a standard naming convention used on the Internet that is defined in RFCs 1034 and 1035, (Wikipedia, n.d.) it’s a networking protocol that enables the use of friendly names instead of IP addresses towards location of computer resources in a network. This protocol works at the application layer of Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model. An example of this is the school website, it easier to remember “www.conestogac.on.ca” than the IP address “142.156.1.223” of the website.
At first when the internet came to existence, there are only few computers involved that made up the ARPANET, so it easier to match the IP addresses with each specific computer using the host.txt file (Harvard, n.d.) However, the increase in the number of computers in the early 80s makes the manual matching tedious as the task of updating and distributing the host.txt file became unmanageable which led to the birth of DNS.
Invention of DNS
In November 1983, Paul V. Mockapetris proposed a Domain Name System architecture in RFC 882 and RFC 883 which is a distributed and dynamic DNS database (Wikipedia, n.d.) that helps in dealing with the problem of a large host.txt file that is difficult to manage.
Paul V. Mockapetris is an American computer scientist and Internet pioneer born in 1948, Boston, Massachusetts, US. He developed the first SMTP email server and in 1983, he wrote the first DNS implementation (called “Jeeves”) for the TOPS-20. (Paul Mockapertris, 2015)
Also, the invention of DNS allows users to type host names such as “www.conestogac.on.ca” instead of “142.156.1.223.” With his invention of DNS, his outstanding achievement is recognized on international scale having won different accolades for his numerous accomplishments.
How DNS Works
DNS primary function is matching hostnames to IP addresses, this is accomplished through the data stored as records in a zone file on the DNS server hosting the zone. (Baccala, n.d.) The main concept behind DNS, is its ability to function as distributed database between a client’s request and server’s DNS data. It all start with a query request from a client, trying to map a hostname to an IP address (client uses a resolver to request resolution of a host name to an IP address).
This query is then forwarded to the root server which in turn through the Domain Name Server match the hostname to an IP address and sends response back to the client. Resolving a host name to an IP address is called forward lookup while resolving an IP address to a host name is called reverse lookup.