What is DNS: what it means and what is it for

If you are starting to deal with hosting, servers, domains, surely you have come across the abbreviation DNS. But what exactly is DNS?

In this article I will try to explain technical concepts to you in the simplest possible way, in order to understand how to operate on some configurations of your hosting that may be useful to you.

In particular, if you intend to transfer a domain  from one provider to another, you will really need to work on the DNS and, if you know what it is, you can work with more awareness and not just automatically.

Knowing the meaning of certain technical terms will also help you understand what kind of problems you might encounter and how to fix them in case something goes wrong.

It will also allow you to better communicate with your hosting support team and understand their responses clearly.

What is DNS

DNS stands for Domain Name System and, to briefly explain, it is the system that translates IP addresses into domain names.

When we browse the web, in the address bar of the browser we write the domain of a site, for example sos-wp.it.

What happens on a technical level is this:

  1. the browser takes the domain you entered;
  2. this domain is associated with an IP address;
  3. the IP address is a series of numbers that identifies a specific server, i.e. a computer where the website is located;
  4. the DNS translates the domain name into an IP address.

What is DNS for

Do you remember when cell phones didn’t exist yet? Maybe you are too young and you have no idea how people lived in prehistory, or maybe I’m too old!

However, with old landline phones, you had to enter the phone number in full in order to initiate a phone call.

Remembering all the telephone numbers of friends, acquaintances, offices, shops, was definitely impossible, so we used the telephone directory or address book, rigorously compiled by hand in alphabetical order.

With mobile phones, however, the address book has been integrated into the telephone. It was therefore sufficient to search for the person’s name and the mobile phone could dial the correct number.

All this to make you understand that i DNS they work a bit like the phone book: that is, they perform a translation from the name (the domain) to the number (the IP address).

Imagine what the web would be like if, for example, instead of sos-wp.it you had to type every time, or instead of google.com . You would need a dedicated column for all the websites you visit most often.

Definitely a not very user-friendly system .

In reality, there is a kind of digital directory of the DNS, which is a database managed by an application called name server.

When you might need DNS

The most practical situation where you might be dealing with DNS is when you have registered a domain with a provider, but your website is on another hosting.

In this case, you can point your domain registered with provider X to your site at provider Y.

If you access the account settings of your domain, you will find a section in which the name servers are indicated. The domain, therefore, is inserted in a database that associates it with a specific IP address.

Then log into your hosting account where your website will be, find their name servers and enter them in place of those present in the domain settings.

In this way, your domain will be connected to another database and therefore the DNS it will refer to will be those of the new hosting.


I hope I made it clear to you what is DNS and what is this translation system for.

The concept isn’t straightforward, and if your goal is simply to create a website for your business, you probably won’t need to delve into it.

However, having an idea of ​​what it is will help you understand how the web works and therefore work with more awareness, especially when you need to apply changes to your hosting configurations.

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