A DNS server is a computer server that keeps a database of hostnames and public IP addresses. It uses these to resolve or convert hostnames to IP addresses. DNS servers use unique protocols to connect to web browsers while running specialized software. The IP address of the website is more difficult to remember than a domain name or hostname, which are generally in the xyz.com format. The DNS server facilitates communication between humans and computers by linking domains to IP addresses, making it easier to navigate the internet.
The hosts containing the DNS databases are called DNS servers or domain servers. They are interconnected and routinely converse with each other to coordinate directory information and establish redundancy. Primary DNS and secondary DNS servers are the two different categories of DNS servers.
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What is DNS Server?
A Domain Name System (DNS) server is a server that translates domain names (such as www.threatcop.com) into IP addresses (such as 18.104.22.168). So, computers can communicate with each other using the Internet.
In order for browsers to load Internet resources, DNS converts names to IP addresses. Every server has a distinct IP address that other computers can use to find the device. DNS servers are often used to resolve domain names to IP addresses and vice versa, and can also be used to store other types of information about domain names.
What is Primary DNS?
The system and the users do not speak the same language. A translator is needed to convert the user-entered domain name of a website to the IP address whenever a query arises. Computers use DNS servers for internal communication.
Every time we search for a website in a browser, the entry is converted into the domain’s corresponding IP address by the DNS server. The DNS record on the server of the primary DNS has the accurate IP address for the hostname.
How Does Primary DNS Work?
The domain name system stores the record information about the DNS and converts domain names into IP addresses, which are easily understood by machines. These IP addresses are provided to the domain by the primary DNS servers.
These are the following steps decoded by the user during a query:
- Step 1: The device of the user contacts the recursive nameserver.
- Step 2: The recursive name server contacts the root server.
- Step 3: The root server refers to the recursive server as the top-level domain(TLD).
- Step 4: The recursive server contacts the TLD server.
- Step 5: The recursive server is again referred to as an authoritative name server by the root server.
- Step 6: The recursive server contacts the authoritative server.
- Step 7: The final answer is received at the recursive server through the authoritative server.
- Step 8: The recursive server resolves the query, directing the browser to the destination.
All of these steps are executed in milliseconds. Every server is dependent on the other server to continue functioning. Amidst these steps, the primary DNS solves the actual query. This is why it is called an “authoritative server.” But if it malfunctions, the process is repeated until a conclusive answer is obtained.
Benefits of Primary DNS
Primary DNS has several advantages. Some of them are explained below:
- The DNS systems are the only systems that help you browse the internet.
- DNS servers have excellent systems that convert the user-domain name to the IP address. This does not require the users to remember the IP addresses of the websites that they may browse frequently. The DNS servers also have systems that categorize and effortlessly archive information from search engines.
- DNS servers also enhance security systems. But they only enhance the security of your systems. They do not provide a complete solution. Other security measures must be adopted tentatively to prevent data stealing if the data stored in systems is susceptible and private.
- The DNS servers have a rapid internet connection. The systems installing the DNS servers can leverage these high-speed connections, which is one of the standings out factors of the DNS servers.
- There are primary and secondary connections in the DNS servers. This enables you to have internet uptime even when one of the servers is down for repair and maintenance.
What is Secondary DNS?
The secondary DNS server is an authoritative server that receives data about a zone via zone transfer from the primary server. As a result, the primary DNS and secondary DNS servers are connected.
The essential data stored on the primary DNS server is duplicated on secondary DNS servers. Through a process known as zone transfers, this data is frequently copied from the primary to the secondary DNS servers. As a result, there are more DNS servers that can handle user requests for your domain. A backup DNS server will be able to respond to their request if the primary DNS is unavailable.
Also, a secondary DNS server will guarantee that user requests for your domain are responded to, irrespective of what happens with the primary DNS server. One secondary server may be classified as a high-tier secondary server if there are multiple secondary servers in use so that it can replicate zone file copies to the other secondary DNS servers in the pool.
How does Secondary DNS Work?
A constant stream of traffic to your website is ensured by configuring your secondary DNS properly. Even if the primary DNS service does not function well, user queries for your domain will always be answered by the secondary DNS.
A secondary DNS provider with a global footprint will also ensure that users are always routed to the closest accessible server so that their requests are responded to as quickly as possible.
A precise procedure that explains the working of the secondary DNS is discussed below:
- The first DNS client to receive a query is the DNS recursive resolver. To locate the proper IP addresses, it connects with other DNS servers. Once the resolver gets a request, it operates as the client’s representative. It sends queries to the root nameservers, top-level domain (TLD), and authoritative nameservers of the other three DNS servers.
- The root nameservers are responsible for responding to queries regarding records in the root zone of the DNS for the internet. A list of the authoritative nameservers that correlate with the suitable TLD of a domain name is included in the responses.
- The IP addresses of the second-level domain (SLD) are kept within the top-level domain, or TLD, nameservers. The IP address of the website is then released, and a request is later made to the nameservers for the domain.
- The nameservers that respond to DNS requests and supply the requisite IP address are known as authoritative nameservers. These nameservers are nearest to the target host or resource.
Benefits of Secondary DNS
Benefits of a domain’s secondary DNS server include:
- The availability of Secondary DNS reduces the load on the primary DNS, which makes it easier for customers to access the servers.
- Secondary DNS always serves as the ideal firefighting tool when the primary DNS is offline or malfunctioning. The additional demand on the other servers won’t stop them from operating.
- Round Robin Solution is a procedure in which the server alternates servers in response to Secondary DNS each time a user reaches the server as load-balancing, Load distribution, or fault tolerance.
Difference Between Primary DNS and Secondary DNS
Since both primary DNS and secondary DNS store the same data and are active and prepared to respond to online requests for a domain. We are still unsure of the difference between primary DNS and secondary DNS servers. Primary DNS servers host the zone files that control them, while secondary DNS servers are used for dependability and redundancy.
|S. No.||Primary DNS||Secondary DNS|
|1||Contain all the accurate resource records.||Contain zone-file copies that cannot be modified.|
|2||Translates human-readable domain into IP address.||Provides a backup for the other DNS when the network has issues.|
|3||Primary DNS servers are mandatory.||Secondary DNS servers are not mandatory.|
|4||It contains data about the domain. requested and the IP address as well.||It contains data about a primary DNS server zone.|
Final Thoughts: What are Primary DNS and Secondary DNS
For a browser application or other device that needs to transform a human-readable hostname into an IP address, a primary DNS server is the first point of contact. All of the authoritative data for a domain, including its IP address, the name of the domain administrator, and numerous resource records, is contained in this database. DNS records can only be changed by a primary server, like updating an IP address. The primary server can then update secondary DNS servers. One DNS zone’s primary DNS server may be another DNS zone’s secondary server. Both primary DNS and secondary DNS go hand in hand when accessing the internet and providing proper security for data. Both are essential and handy.
Most people use the internet to access websites by searching for specific domain names, however, computers do not understand these names; they only recognize and use IP addresses to identify and access websites. Despite its importance in allowing us to easily access the websites we want, many people do not give much consideration to DNS security or the role of the domain name system.
FAQs: Primary DNS and Secondary DNS
The Domain Name System, or DNS, is a system that converts domain names to IP addresses for internet-connected devices like computers and services. It changes readable domain names into IP addresses. Since computers can only communicate using numerical sequences, the DNS was created as a kind of phonebook that converts the domain you enter in your browser into an IP address.
A separate file on the DNS server that contains all essential connections between the domain name and IP addresses is present. A DNS zone description, or simply a DNS zone, refers to what this file’s contents are known as.
A DNS server can be configured to act as both primary DNS and secondary DNS for the same zone. This is known as a hidden primary configuration. It can be useful in cases where the zone administrator wants to ensure the zone data is not accidentally modified or deleted on the secondary servers.
A secondary DNS is used as a backup for a primary DNS in case the primary DNS is unavailable or goes offline. This ensures that DNS queries can still be resolved and that the domain name system continues to function properly. Additionally, having a secondary DNS can also help to distribute the load on the primary DNS and improve the overall performance of the DNS system.
To mark Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Threatcop collaborated with 31 respected CISOs and CTOs from prominent organizations. Together, we’re working towards a safer digital future.
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Co-Founder & COO at Threatcop
Department: Operations and Marketing
Dip Jung Thapa, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Threatcop, a leading cybersecurity company dedicated to enhancing people security management for businesses. With a profound understanding of cybersecurity issues, Dip plays a pivotal role in driving Threatcop’s mission to safeguard people’s digital lives.
Co-Founder & COO at Threatcop Department: Operations and Marketing Dip Jung Thapa, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Threatcop, a leading cybersecurity company dedicated to enhancing people security management for businesses. With a profound understanding of cybersecurity issues, Dip plays a pivotal role in driving Threatcop's mission to safeguard people's digital lives.