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Last updated Feb 26, 2022 Edit Source

Domain name: an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control within the Internet.

DNS currently has ~300 million DNS registrations. Both query and reply messages follow the same message format. Both always include Name, Type, Class tuples – Class is usually IN. Names cannot be wildcarded but type and class can

How do we resolve domain names to IP addresses? Resolves starting from the root and makes it way down the network hierarchy

  1. Root (13 of these worldwide)
  2. Top-level Domains (e.g. .com, .net, .org, etc.)
  3. Second-level Domains (e.g. Microsoft, UBC)
  4. Subdomains (e.g. www)
  5. Individual machines
  6. Local DNS Servers (not actually a part of the hierarchy, just caches data)

Authoritative DNS server is the server with the actual jurisdiction of the domain name you are looking for. The authoritative server of cs.ubc.ca is the cs server under UBC.

Types of queries

  1. Recursive Query – if the name server doesn’t know the answer, it asks a downstream server (recursively) for the answer on your behalf.
  2. Iterative Query – if the name server doesn’t know the answer, it tells you where to look at next, you do all the querying

DNS servers store resource records (RRs) Types:

  1. A (address records)
    1. name: hostname
    2. value: IPv4 address
  2. NS (name server)
    1. name: domain
    2. value: name of DNS server for domain
  3. MX (mail exchanger)
    1. name: domain of email address
    2. value: name of mail server
  4. AAAA (addressx4 record)
    1. name: hostname
    2. value: IPv6 address
  5. CNAME (canonical name)
    1. name: alias
    2. value: canonical name (e.g. foo.com)

Inserting records into DNS

  1. Register name with a registrar
    1. Provide registrar with name and IP address for your authoritative name server (usually a primary and secondary)
    2. Registrar inserts two resource records into the top-level domain server for each authoritative name server
      1. (example.com, dns1.example.com, NS)
      2. (dns1.example.com,, A)
  2. Add appropriate records into our own authoritative name server
    1. (www.example.com, <server-ip>, A)
    2. (www.example.com, <server-ip>, MX)