domain name system (DNS) definition

The domain name system (DNS) is the way that Internet domain names are located and translated into Internet Protocol addresses. A domain name is a meaningful and easy-to-remember "handle" for an Internet address.

Because maintaining a central list of domain name/IP address correspondences would be impractical, the lists of domain names and IP addresses are distributed throughout the Internet in a hierarchy of authority. There is probably a DNS server within close geographic proximity to your access provider that maps the domain names in your Internet requests or forwards them to other servers in the Internet.


Getting started with domain name system
To explore how DNS is used in the enterprise, here are some additional resources:
Tutorial: A primer on DNS and MX records: Learn what MX records are and how they work, and find out how to create an MX record and host that record on your own DNS server.
Exchange Server and DNS: This collection of tips, tutorials and tools explains how DNS works and shows how to configure it for optimal Exchange Server availability and performance.

This was first published in September 2005

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