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Understanding DNS

Now that we've taken a look at some of the different ways information is accessed on the Internet, we need to take a look at the mechanism that allows users accessing the Web or an FTP server to use friendly, text names. You already know from Chapter 5 that all computers and other devices on a TCP/IP network are identified by their IP addresses. But, how often do you actually type an IP address into a Web browser or FTP client window? The answer is "not very often," and the reason why is DNS.

The Domain Name Service (DNS) provides the structure and the strategy that is used to refer to computers on a TCP/IP network, such as the Internet, by "friendly names." This means that you don't have to know the IP address of a particular computer to connect to it. For example, when you type a friendly name such as http://Microsoft.com into your Web browser, DNS provides the mechanism where the friendly name (http://Microsoft.com) is resolved to the IP address of the Microsoft Web site.


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