A Beginner’s Guide to How DNS Works: Making Sense of the Internet’s Phonebook

Praveen Dandu
3 min readAug 10



Have you ever wondered how you’re able to effortlessly visit websites with names like “www.example.com" instead of typing in confusing strings of numbers? The answer lies in the Domain Name System (DNS), a fascinating technology that acts as the internet’s phonebook. In this blog, we’ll unravel the mysteries of DNS in simple terms, from turning website names into numbers to how it operates in cloud environments.

The Magic of Turning Names into Numbers:

When you type a website name (like “www.example.com") into your browser, your computer needs to find the website’s actual location on the internet. But the internet speaks a different language — it uses numbers called IP addresses. DNS is like a clever translator that takes the website name you type and turns it into the right number so your computer can find the website.

Your Computer’s Shortcut:

Your computer has a little trick up its sleeve to save time. It checks its own memory before asking anyone else for help. It has a list of websites and their numbers that it has visited before. This list is like your computer’s own mini phonebook. So, if you visit a website often, your computer can find it faster by using its memory instead of asking around.

Asking the Right Questions:

If your computer doesn’t know the number for the website you want, it sends a message to a special computer called a DNS server. This DNS server is like a big, organized phonebook with lots of website names and their numbers. Your computer asks, “Hey, do you know the number for ‘www.example.com'?" The DNS server looks up the number and sends it back to your computer.

Remembering for Next Time:

Once your computer gets the number from the DNS server, it doesn’t want to forget it. So, it writes the number down in a special notebook called a cache. This way, next time you want to visit the same website, your computer already knows the number and can go straight there without asking the DNS server again.

The Internet’s Tree of Knowledge:

Imagine the DNS system like a big tree with many branches. At the top are the main DNS servers, and each branch below them represents different types of websites (like “.com” websites, “.org” websites, and so on). This tree helps your computer find the right DNS server to ask for a website’s number.

DNS in Cloudy Skies:

In fancy tech words, sometimes websites are spread out across different clouds. These clouds use their own ways of translating names into numbers. But don’t worry, DNS knows how to talk to these clouds too. It’s like having a super-smart translator who can understand and speak many languages.

Making Friends Between Clouds:

When a website from one cloud wants to talk to a website in another cloud, DNS helps them become friends. It sets up a way for them to chat and share information. This way, even though they’re in different clouds, they can work together smoothly.


DNS might seem like a hidden hero, but it plays a vital role in making the internet work seamlessly. It’s like a friendly translator that ensures you can easily visit your favorite websites, no matter where they are. So, the next time you type in a website name, remember that behind the scenes, DNS is working its magic to connect you to the vast world of the internet.

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Praveen Dandu

🚀 DevOps Engineer | Automating Infrastructure, Streamlining Deployments | Continuous Integration & Delivery Specialist https://www.linkedin.com/in/pravin24/