Get familiar with the DNS resolution process

The DNS resolution process is the core of understanding how the Domain Name System works. That’s why, in this article today, we will explore it. So, let’s start. 

DNS resolution description

Domain Name System (DNS) resolution is the procedure of acquiring an IP address (IPv4 or IPv6 addresses) through its domain. This is done to make life easier for online users. The easiest way to understand DNS resolution is to picture a phone book with the names of people in it. But because it’s so hard to remember their phone numbers, we don’t. The same idea applies to DNS resolution. It gets to its IP address via the domain name by sending DNS queries.

So let’s start from the beginning and observe how domain name resolution works.

DNS resolution process: Steps

The DNS resolution is accomplished in several phases. It begins when a user wants to connect to a website or domain name.

  1. Inside the browser, you type a domain name. That is how the DNS query is performed. A DNS lookup is followed to find an analogous IP address.
  2. When the DNS recursive server receives the query, it checks to see if the IP address is still in its cache memory. If you request that domain for the first time, the answer will be unavailable. As a result, the DNS recursive server will look for the address in the remaining servers – Root, TLD, and finally, the authoritative DNS server.
  3. The Root server is at the top of the DNS hierarchy and serves as the first stop in the lookup process. It provides information and redirects to the responsible Top Level Domain (TLD) server, such,.info, etc.
  4. The TLD server will provide information on which nameserver is in charge of that specific domain name.
  5. The DNS recursive server can then query the authoritative DNS server for the domain’s IP address.
  6. Following the response submission, the Recursive DNS server can return to your browser with the information required to access the website. Furthermore, if you want to explore the site later, it will save the IP address in its cache memory.
  7. Finally, the browser loads the URL you typed.

Challenges of the DNS resolution process

  • Network disruptions are frequently brought on by problems with DNS resolution. A single DNS server error, such as a missing or mistyped IP address in an authoritative server, can have cascade failures for all of the services that communicate with it as contemporary technology builds more intricate and interconnected networks.
  • Another issue for this process is a security concern. We can agree that this process is not secure, and it is possible to be a target of criminals (DDoS attacks, DNS spoofing, etc.). So, it’s essential to take measures before happening. For example, Anycast DNS, DNESSEC, Dynamic DNS, Private DNS server, etc.
  • The recent consolidation of third-party DNS providers is the last but not least significant challenge. There is a single point of failure due to the dependence of several high-traffic applications on the same provider, which might cause service disruptions on a worldwide scale. The great majority of enterprises rely heavily on DNS providers to facilitate internal and external communication, making them prime targets for DDoS and cache poisoning attacks. Organizations in these situations have few options for mitigating an outage, mainly if they depend on a single source.


While there is only a brief wait for the user, there are several steps in the DNS resolution process. The DNS query, therefore, passes across multiple servers (Recursive DNS server, Authoritative DNS server, etc.). The good news is that this procedure goes by so swiftly that we can reach our destination quickly. So it’s great to know what occurs when we enter a domain name into the search engine, even as basic internet users. Congratulations then. You’ve advanced your understanding of this topic by one step.

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