DNS, the internet and Exchange

Posted on 2003-11-04
Last Modified: 2013-11-29
Ok, i'm an absolute beginner to this so i want to know how the 3 link together

When you register a domain name it asks you for the dns server names (i.e. How does the dns server get a url? Why i it not an ip address???

What I dont understand is how the DNS server on my server gets used by the internet?? Or doesnt it? do i have to use the ISPs DNS server for people to get to my site and email?

My email is hosted in my office but the website is at an isp?? How does this work?

Please help me before i go bauld!
Question by:Mr_Parsons

Accepted Solution

rj-smith earned 50 total points
ID: 9679433
When you register a domain on the Internet then you need to specify a DNS server that will be responsible for the domain. This can be your own server or a server operated by your ISP. If your ISP already hosts your website ( then it's likely that your ISP is responsible for the DNS for If you wanted to add another host or an MX record for mail purposes for your domain then you'd have to request that from your ISP.

The MX record I mentioned is a record which points to a mail server for the domain This server would have to have a public IP address so that Internet hosts could contact it. If it's got Exchange Server running on it then you'd have to have SMTP configured (SMTP is the protocol used to send mail over the Internet).

Your local DNS server should only be used for your own local network name resolution. It should forward any requests it can't resolve to your ISP's DNS servers.

A DNS server doesn't have a URL, websites have a URL.

Hope that's clear.

Author Comment

ID: 9679490
I understand what your saynig.

when i have registered a domain name though it saks for a DNS server name I.e. and not an IP address. So how does the dns server get that name associated with it?
LVL 35

Expert Comment

ID: 9679900
It is associated through the Domain Name System.  The "root servers" (the servers that hold all the master naming records for the DNS for the entire internet) are controlled by a single company.  Those root servers talk to "DNS host" servers, that help to spread out the workload of resolving URL names to IP addresses on the Internet.  The "DNS Host" servers are often serviced and provided by ISPs.  They have permission from the "root server" company to actually send updates to the root servers, which causes the update to propagate to the DNS host servers.

That way, all of the URL (universal record locator) names that officially exist on the Internet will resolve, or be associated with, an IP address of a device that holds that service indicated by the URL

The URL would be a DNS host server registered within the root servers, and subsequently all of the other DNS host servers.  when a URL is "seen" by a DNS server, it translates it to the IP address that URL is associated with and makes the connection with that address.

The reason for this is twofold.  First, it allows us to navigate the Internet using a human-readable format (the URL)
Second, it allows companies, people or organizations to "own" a URL but reassign it to a different IP address whenever they need to, should they move to a new ISP or add new services on different IP addresses within their assigned public IP address range.

Expert Comment

ID: 9691490
1. Your domain name is registered with a registrar (eg.
2. You tell godaddy that you will use their DNS servers for free, so you specify their DNS server names and address's
3. Do a whois on you domain name and you will see the dns servers responsible for answering.


When I ask for, my browser asks my DNS servers (whatever is shown in IPCONFIG) to find your IP address. Removing all the middle stuff, my ISP's DNS server will ask a root level server (theses are all fixed address's predetermined by "internic") for the responsible server.

go daddy will be returned as the answer.

My browser will then ask godaddy's dns to return the ip address, and it will.

To see an example, type NSLOOKUP from a command line. Then type your domain name (ie.
It will tell you the responsible server and the ip address.


Expert Comment

ID: 9693079
When you buy a domain you are asked for the SOA (Start of autority) DNS Servers. That's the Writable DNS Server where the file wich translates names into ip address is located.

That file says what IP address is your web server, your mail server/s and their preference, ....

If you have your own domain name server it has to be public to the Internet and when someone writes in his navigator a dns request is addressed to the visitot DNS server, if the visitor DNS server don't knows the answer it request to a root server wich redirects the request to your dns server. Your DNS server sends the you web server ip address to the visitor's dns server and this one to the visitor machine wich then sends the http request directly to your web server's IP addresss.
Is no important where the DNS is placed, in your house or in your ISP. There's no necessity to have DNS server and web servers or another services in the same ISP or place. DNS servers acts as a translator, as a phone book where you look at when you wanna call someone, you know his name but not his phone number.

Hope this helps.

Juanma Merino

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