What are Name Servers and why does my Web Domain Need Them?

If you have ever started a website, you probably have heard the term “name-server” before. However, you may not understand what they are and why they are an important part of the web-hosting infrastructure. I will try to keep this explanation simple yet useful.

A name-server is a server that specializes in answering queries regarding people’s domains and the various services that they are providing.

You can think of a name-server like a telephone book that lists phone numbers associated with names. In a similar way, a name-server lists information (e.g., IP addresses) associated with a particular queried domain name.

For example, when someone types in blog.computerlagoon.com, their DNS server sends an inquiry to one of my name-servers asking for information such as the IP address. All information the software needs in order to make a connection with my server.

Without a name-server (or DNS servers in general), you would be typing out numbers (e.g. to access web services instead of domains (e.g. example.com).  As you can see, typing out names is far easier than remembering a series of numbers for every website you visited.

You also want to make sure your web domain has at least two name-servers associated with it. Why? Because if you only have one name-server and that name-server happens to go down, no one that has not recently accessed your domain will be able to get your IP address to connect to your website.

Worse. If you have no name-servers online for an extended period of time (e.g. major outage), then search engines like Google may think that your website is no longer online and delist it from their search results.

That is why having at least two name-servers is recommended.

Posted in Computers, Internet and Servers