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DNS is an abbreviation for Domain Name Server (or Domain Name System) and often used to refer to the configuring thereof on a domain name registrar or on a web host.
How DNS works offers a “fun and colorful explanation of how DNS works” that uses a comic format to explain what DNS is for and how it works.
DNS Record Types
- A - points a DNS entry to an IP address (e.g. www.example.com points to 184.108.40.206)
- AAAA - points a DNS entry to an IPv6 address
- CNAME - points a DNS entry to another name (e.g. www.example.com is an alias for example.com)
- MX - tells other servers where to send email to for the domain (e.g. mail for example.com is handled by mail.example.com)
- NS - points to the name server
- TXT - used to store arbitrary information in DNS, most often used for things like SPF records to help fight email spam
DNS is based on a decentralized but still hierarchically organized set of name servers and thus is vulnerable to attacks on the root name server(s).
Because of this vulnerability, any system that depends on DNS cannot be 100% peer-to-peer, that is, at some point such systems must depend on the hierarchy of DNS rather than just the peer they may wish to communicate with.
For the purposes of IndieWeb and developing practical short-term federation, as well as peer to peer user experiences and protocols, we are not attempting to replace DNS, but rather build upon it with the hopes and expectations that the UXes we develop, and likely the protocols will advance federated systems development in general.
For more see: federation#DNS_Exception
Some operating systems are particularly unreliable when it comes to DNS, e.g.:
- Apple OSX 10.10 Yosemite
- 2015-01-12 ars technica: Why DNS in OS X 10.10 is broken, and what you can do to fix it
Registrar and TLD issues
See individual TLDs on
for specific issues with specific ccTLDs like .io.
Frequently asked questions and troubleshooting for DNS problems.
This section needs restructuring into discrete individual questions and answers. Right now it reads as a list of issues
- harvest FAQ from relevant chat logs
Challenges while setting up my own domain(s):
- Confusion between "registrar" and "nameserver"
- What is a registrar?
- What is a nameserver?
- Did not realize at first that my VPS had a "console" where options would be set
- What is a VPS?
- What is a console?
- Next challenge: I have multiple domains and one VPS, and I'll next want to learn how to serve pages to all of those domains. "Hosts" and "Ports" and "Servers", oh my~. -mathpunk
- How do I setup multiple domains on one VPS?
- 'My nameservers are not working and I'm not sure why': I used Into DNS to work out my issues with my manually created nameservers (it can be used for hosted nameservers too) ~ Shane Hudson
- Why are my nameservers not working?
- Isn't DNS a centralized/hierarchical vulnerability/bottleneck? See: federation#DNS_Exception
- Getting Started
- domain name registrar
- top-level domain
- A good primer on DNS (although quite technical): https://powerdns.org/hello-dns/basic.md.html
- dns.toys Useful and playful utilities available over DNS
- Hosting a fun DNS server with Go and a DNS library: Experience building a DNS server with some IndieWeb utilities
- "DNS isn’t perfect, but it’s miles more robust than Facebook-usernames etc" @Flocular November 27, 2022
- Name Server