DNS stands for Domain Name System, a system of computers that provides the infrastructure allowing browsing of the World Wide Web. In its most simple definition, the Domain Name System is a conglomeration of root servers that houses the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of the DNS name servers that have authority over individual domains of every registered Internet domain name.

When you purchase a domain name from a name registrar, such as NameCheap, the registar will associate with that domain name a minimum of two DNS name servers. These DNS name servers are configured and maintained by the company that hosts your web site for you–not by the name registrar. However, the name registrar does send the DNS name server information that you provide at the time of purchase to InterNIC for storage in the root servers that make up the Domain Name System.

The role of the DNS name servers maintained by your hosting company is to respond to a query for a specific domain name with the precise location on the exact web hosting server (using that server’s IP address) where that domain name, and thus web site, is located.

The role of the root servers that make up the Domain Name System of the World Wide Web is to send an ISP’s equipment, and thus the web browser, to the correct DNS name server that will in turn point to the web site being requested.

Tip: Find the Name Servers of a Web Domain

If you would like to know about the Authoritative Name Server of any web domain, the one that will most definitely know the location of the IP address of that domain, follow these steps.

  1. Open the command prompt windows by typing CMD in the Windows Run box.
  2. On the command prompt, type NSLOOKUP and hit Enter.
  3. Now type set querytype=soa without the quotes and hit Enter. Sentence case matters and there should be no extra spaces.
  4. Finally type any domain name and in the results, the primary name server is the authoritative name server of that domain.