DNS: the forgotten cornerstone of the internet
"The what?" a phrase I've heard far too often. The humble Domain Name System or DNS for short is the forgotten cornerstone of Internet.
But what is the DNS?
All websites, servers or services that we use daily on our computers or phones are accessed via an Internet Protocol (IP) address. An IP address is a long 12 digit number (for IPV4 and an even longer one for IPV6). For example www.civicuk.com maps to the IP address 188.8.131.52.
Despite popular belief when we type a URL into our browser (or any other service), our computer knows where the website we want to go is. So, the DNS effectively maps a URL to an IP address allowing our device to access the website or service we want.
Given the number of websites and services we use on a daily basis, it's practically impossible for anyone to memorise or keep track of all the IP addresses we use during any given day. Hence, the importance of this unsung Internet hero!!!!
What does the DNS mean for me?
In essence, if the DNS is not working then the Internet and all the services you access will not be available. In a nut shell no DNS means no Internet.
Recently, a massive Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDOS) was launched on a major DNS provider. The result was that many major websites were unavailable. The reason for that was that your device was unable to convert the URL you were typing into an IP address.
Never forget the DNS
In this new and wonderful age of the cloud and extreme redundancy, where everything is duplicated in order to avoid downtime, we still forget the basics.
We build bigger, faster more usable websites, investing huge amounts, but we forget the most basic of requirements.
We forget to ensure that our clients are able to get to this wonderful website we have created. We invest a measly £20 a year to register a domain and then forget that we need to ensure that our DNS infrastructure can deliver our clients to our wonderful creations or amazing hosting and support services.