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Part I: Principles and Overview > An Introduction to DNS

Chapter 1. An Introduction to DNS

The Internet—or any network for that matter—works by allocating a locally or globally unique IP address to every endpoint (host, server, router, interface, and so on). But without the ability to assign some corresponding name to each resource, every time we want to access a resource available on the network, the web site www.example.com for instance, it would be necessary to know its physical IP address, such as 192.168.34.166. With hundreds of million of hosts and more than 200 million web sites,[] it's an impossible task—it's also pretty difficult with even a handful of hosts and resources.

[] http://news.netcraft.com/archives/web_server_survey.html

To solve this problem, the concept of name servers was created in the mid-1970s to enable certain attributes (or properties) of a named resource, in this case the IP address of www.example.com, to be maintained in a well-known location—the basic idea being that people find it much easier to remember the name of something especially when that name is reasonably descriptive of function, content, or purpose rather than a numeric address. This chapter introduces basic name server concepts and provides a bit of background regarding the evolution of the Domain Name System from a tool used for managing just a few hundred hosts to a global utility responsible for maintaining smooth operation of the entire modern Internet.


  

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