Domain Name Resolution

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Domain Name
This is a very brief description of a highly complex subject.

The process for locating a Website is called Name Resolution and it is rather complex. Your domain registrar takes care of the details of making it all happen, once you have provided the proper information to them.

Humans refer to Websites by a Domain Name such as PlanetEagle.Com but Internet routers and servers understand only IP Addresses such as In order to direct a request for a Web page to the correct server the domain name must be Resolved to an IP address.

The key to resolving a domain name lies in a feature called DNS, which stands for Domain Name Service or Domain Name System. DNS resolves domain names based on entries in a database, which is copied to the DNS servers around the world.

Listed along with your domain name will be the names of two or three Name Servers. These are servers owned by your Web hosting company that keep tabs on where each domain is actually located within their server farm.

  • When you contract for Web hosting with a company other than your domain registrar, your hosting company will furnish you with the proper name server names and their IP addresses. You must furnish these to your domain registrar.

Requests for a Web page at your domain will be forwarded to the name servers at your Web hosting company, which then locate the page on the Web server and relay it up to the visitor.

All of this happens within a few milliseconds. It is really rather amazing how well it works, given the number of domains that currently exist.

How Users Find Your Website
  1. A user requests a Web page at your domain.

  2. A domain name server receives the request.

  3. The domain name server finds the names of the domain servers at your hosting company and sends the request to one of them.

  4. Your hosting company receives the request, finds the server on which your domain is hosted, and sends the request to that server.

  5. The Web server replies to the request, sending the Web page to the user.

  6. Now that a connection has been established between the user and your Web server, any further requests are handled directly.

There is one database maintained for each Top Level Domain (TLD) such as Com, Net, or Biz. Your domain domain registrar can register most of the common TLDs but they would not normally register country-specific domains outside of their own country. In the US the Government (Gov), the military (Mil) and the universities (Edu) all manage their own domains.

Some countries are very happy to let outsiders register domains using their country name, for a fee. A large part of the income of Tuvalu is derived from selling domain names that end in .TV, which can be taken to mean Television.

A number of countries are prospering from this phenomenon, known as a Domain Hack, in which a name intended for one purpose turns out to be more useful for another. For example:

AM AM Radio Armenia
FM FM Radio Federated States of Micronesia
CD Compact Disk Democratic Republic of the Congo
DJ Disk Jockey Djibouti
TV Television Tuvalu

Click here to learn more about TLDs and domain hacks.

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www.PlanetEagle.Com  06/28/06