The Domain Name System puts a friendly face on the
Internet. Let's put it this way... what's easier to remember: www.google.com or '188.8.131.52'?
Right, we agree.
To your browser, the above two entries become one and
the same thanks to the magic of DNS. What the system does is to map domain names
like Goole.com to IP addresses like
For example, when you type www.pcstats.com into your
browser's address bar, the computer sends that address to a DNS server on your
network or the Internet, looking to have it translated into an IP address that
it can contact directly. That DNS server will send back the IP address if
it knows it, and if it doesn't, it will contact other DNS servers all the way up
to the root of the Internet until it finds the address it's looking for.
The entire process generally takes less than a second.
Internet Service Providers generally assign each customers computer a DNS server to
contact when the connection is first set up. If you are using a home Internet
sharing device, it will receive DNS requests from your network and pass them
on to the ISP's server. Without a DNS server, the web browser will be
unable to transform domain names (URLs) like www.pcstats.com into
IP addresses, and thus cannot access web pages.
DNS and Website Hosting
Technically, you don't NEED a domain name to host a
website. If your home computer is connected to the Internet with IIS
running, and you have created a web page (in a special folder), anyone on
the internet can access that information by typing the IP address of your home computer into
their web browser.
If you want to have a website that people will actually
visit though, it's best to get a domain name, preferably a catchy one.
How do I get a DNS domain name for my
To get a domain name, you'll need to register your
choice with one of the many, many domain name registration services. Network Solutions is the grandaddy
of them all, but there are other independent companies which offer more
competitive pricing on a yearly, or multi-yearly basis. It pays to do some
research, and we would suggest choosing a domain name registration provider
based in your native country if at all possible.
A central body governs all domain names on the Internet, and the
various registration services have acquired permission to lease them to
you for a period of time, usually starting with a minimum of 2 years.
Once you have found a domain name registration service
provider you like, the next issue is ensuring the domain name you've chosen is
not already registered. It it is free, you can choose the extension
(ie. .com, .org, .net, etc.) and register
that name. The registrar will always run a search to see if the particular domain name
you have chosen is already taken, so there is no chance of two
individuals owning 'Google.com' for example. Fees will vary, but in all cases you are registering that
domain name only for a certain length of time, measured in years.
Once you have registered your domain name, you can use the domain name
registration service's tools to map it with your computer's IP address.
From this point on, anyone who enters your domain name into a web browser will
be directed to your IP address.