What is: DNS?

When the internet was first created, no one had any idea just how many trillions of websites and other connected files would be added. In the earliest days of the internet, users simply had to remember the names of the servers that hosted the websites or other files that they wanted to access.


Eventually, a more user-friendly system was devised. Every website and connected file would be assigned a unique number known as an IP Address. And the DNS or Domain Name System would be in charge of converting plaintext URLs to those IP Addresses.


That’s why you can type “www.WordPress.org” into your browser and go directly to the WordPress website without having to remember its IP Address, which is “”. Both the IP Address and the plaintext “www.WordPress.org” addresses take you to the same website, all thanks to the Domain Name System.


Perhaps the easiest way to think of the Domain Name System is like a giant phone book. When you type in something in plaintext in your browser’s address field, your browser then uses a Domain Name Server to find the corresponding IP Address and thus connect you to the desired website.


The DNS records are stored on a Name Server (sometimes written “nameserver”). All websites must have at least two nameservers, one to function as the primary server to deliver the information and a second nameserver to work as a backup.


It’s important to remember that the server hosting your website is not the same as the nameserver. The nameserver is provided by a company that gives you the exclusive right to use a given plaintext website address (like “www.WordPress.org”) while the web hosting company is operating the server that delivers the content from your website. In other words, the nameserver gives you the address or URL of your website, and the web host is where your website files reside.