How DNS Lookup Works

Devices which communicate over the Internet require a specific protocol to successfully establish a connection to access websites and other components associated with Internet connectivity. DNS stands for Domain Name Server and is a necessary protocol that helps you to access websites via DNS Lookup.

When you type in a domain URL the DNS server looks for the IP (Internet Protocol) for this URL address before it connects you to the site you requested. This works very similar to a phone number lookup using a phone book. Your web browser sends the domain name URL you request to the DNS server so it can lookup the numeric IP address which your device reads in order to connect you to the website.

In order to further understand DNS Lookup let’s first explain an IP address. An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a numerical identifier consisting of four sets of numbers that allow devices to communicate with one another over the Internet. An IP address might look something like this: and acts as an identification number for your PC as well as the device you are trying to connect to.

When you set up an Internet connection one of the components you use is called a router which assists with establishing connectivity. The router is incapable of reading a website domain URL that you enter into your browser however a router can read IP addresses.

A Domain Name Server (DNS) is capable of converting a website address to a numeric IP address which enables you to access a specific website. If you have the name of the website but you do not know the IP address for the website the DNS acts a phonebook.

Whenever you try to access a website via your Web browser your PC will initially send a query to your primary server which is what you set up to establish an Internet connection. If your main server is unable to locate the IP address for the website you requested it will automatically go to the Domain Name Server for your Internet Service Provider. The DNS will search for the IP address on the root server which stores the IP address for every domain URL on the Internet.

Once the IP address for the website has been identified the Domain Name Server will return the IP address to your browser. Your browser will then send out the IP address for the website URL you requested which allows your router to send the information to your PC. The end result is that you are able to view the website you requested in your query.

Although this may seem like a very slow process before you are able to connect with a website it actually occurs over a period of just a few seconds. Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will make a point to maintain the most recent updates for Domain Name Server records to make the process of DNS Lookup easier and more efficient.

DNS Lookup is a process that continually occurs behind the scenes as you browse the Internet. Although we never think about how websites are able to appear in our browser, hopefully this information will help you to better understand the role that this subject plays in your browsing experience of the DNS lookup.

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