DNS, What???

More often than not, when I tell people what the company that I work for does, they look at me with a blank stare and a trivial look on their face and say DNS, What… They still seem utterly confused after I try to explain what DNS is and how they are most likely using it everyday.  These people usually just pretend like they get it and walk away, but do they really get it and what’s so hard to “get”?

We have touched on what DNS is quite a few times, but we still get the inevitable comments on surveys and blog posts that people are still very confused.  One person actually compared DNS to buying a bottle of air, open it and there is nothing inside, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!

DNS redirects an IP address, to a static domain name.  So if you want to visit www.no-ip.com, you type the domain name into your browser, not the IP address.  If not for DNS, you would have to remember every IP address of every website! With over 300 million websites on the web, remembering every IP address would be utterly impossible, well unless maybe you’re Kim Peek: The Real Rain Man.

In addition, the transition to IPv6 will make remembering IP addresses even harder! IPv6 addresses are 128 bits long compared to 32 bits of Ipv4 addresses.

They look something like this: 2001:db8:0:1234:0:567:8:1. That’s a lot if numbers to remember! (I can barely remember my phone number!)

So, next time someone asks you, WHAT the heck is DNS?! You can tell them that it is indeed more than just bottle air.  It makes visiting websites by a domain name, possible!

Have you ever had someone look at you confused when you mention DNS? Also, if you like this article, be sure to share it with your friends via Facebook and Twitter!

9 Comments.
  1. Steve

    The analogy I’ve found most helpful in explaining DNS is a “phone book.” Every computer has an IP address you can think of like a phone number. (Just a little oversimplified, ignoring the redundancy of private addresses, but the concept works.) When you type a web address in the browser or send an email, DNS is what looks up the domain name in the internet phone book to find the IP address of the desired computer.

  2. jen

    I’ve always explained DNS like an address book in a phone. When I want to call Jill, the address book in my phone knows to call a phone number that’s associated with Jill. People always seem to get that.

    2 cents by Jenny.

  3. Neil

    Oh, now I get it!

  4. Your experience is a common one for those of us who work in and around technology. I like to look at things and ask myself the question: why would anyone want this product/service? In the case of DNS I would probably pitch it as follows: DNS ensures that when someone types your domain name into a browser they find your site. Do you want this service?

  5. SysLaw

    With all due respect, the confusion is not with the concept of what DNS accomplishes, i.e. the phone book analogy. The confusion is with the interfaces that are designed by geeks and presented to normal users for accomplishing this. If the interface used looked something similar to a phone book then there would not be any confusion. Instead you choose to use computer terminology such as DNS, Domains, Registration, etc, etc, combined with multiple steps for doing such a simple thing. If all one is doing is choosing a name to link to a number then why not design an interface that does just that on a single screen, not five?

  6. Gaia

    i was imedialy thinking on the mobil contact book you write your friends name and the phonebook call the number very simpel and hanks for the easy explanation

  7. kifah

    i have regestrered and i dnont know what is my no ip

  8. I tell my client: DNS is his UNIQUE “username” across the Web.

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