What are name servers?

Name servers play an important part in getting from a web address (or URL) to the actual web page it points to.

When your browser fetches a web page from the server hosting it, it does that using the server IP address. There is a process (domain name resolution) where a domain name (contained in the URL) is ‘translated’ to the appropriate IP address. This process uses the Domain Name System recordsĀ (DNS records) which are kept by a name server. Each name server can contain these records for several domains (and their sub-domains). Name servers are found by what’s known as a WHOIS lookup.

Here’s an example, lets say you type the following address in your browser’s address bar: www.enoi.se.

  1. A WHOIS lookup will be made at the WHOIS authority for .se domains to find the name server for enoi.se
  2. The name server will be queried on the DNS record for an IP address to www.enoi.se
  3. The browser contacts the IP address the domain resolved to and gets a response that will be sent back to the user

More info on this Wikipedia entry: Domain_Name_System.