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DNS Server Address

Omkar Phatak Aug 21, 2020
What is DNS server address? How can it be found? Read to get all the answers...
If you are trying to understand the working of world wide web and Internet technology, you are bound to come across the question of what is DNS server address and what role does it play in the functioning of the Internet.

What is a DNS Server?

To understand what this address actually means, first one needs to comprehend what a DNS server is. Let me begin with that. A Domain Name System (DNS) is an elaborate technique developed to translate alpha-numeric domain names of websites into IP addresses and IP addresses back to domain names on any computer network.
When you type the name of any website in a web browser, your client computer needs to translate that name into the IP address of the server which hosts that site. These servers do the job of translating these domain names of websites to their IP address counterparts and vice versa.
They are the Internet technology equivalent of phone books, that have a large database of website names along with their associated IP addresses. So this server is like an online translator of domain names for client computers connected on the Internet.
Does every DNS server associated with an Internet service provider have the database of all websites on the Internet? No, it is not so. There are only 13 root servers all over the world that hold the complete databases. The rest of the regional servers only have a small part of the database and ask for more information from root servers as required.
All the services on the Internet depend on DNS servers for routing of data. That is why domain name registration is controlled by an international organization to eliminate confusion regarding routing of information on the Internet.
Google search engine provides its own DNS server for public use. The Google DNS server addresses (IP addresses) are and Look up the OpenDNS server address which offers free service.

What is a DNS Server Address?

This address is an essential part of specifications that you save into your ISP provided Internet connection settings. With the local DNS address specified, your computer can easily lookup IP addresses of any website that you browse by sending a request and retrieving relevant information.
When you get a DNS error, it means that the website address you typed is incorrect or something is wrong with Internet connection. Most of the time, DNS server errors mean that you need to recheck the domain name of the website you are looking for. That is why, it's essential that you enter the correct domain name address when you set up Internet connection.

How is it found?

In case your computer hard drive gets formatted and you need to enter the Internet connection settings again, to set up your connection, it is essential that you know the DNS address specific to your ISP. You can have all the information you need from your computer itself. If yours is a Windows based PC, here is how you can find the address.
Open the command prompt application in Windows through 'Start --> All Programs --> Accessories'. Make sure that your Internet connection is on. Type in the following command in the command prompt:


and press enter. Immediately, you will be supplied with the complete details relevant to your net connection.

This will include the DNS server address as well, which you can easily note down. It will also include IP address, Subnet Mask address and default gateway address. This is the simplest way of knowing your DNS server address.

How to Find the Address on a Mac/Linux/BSD?

In case you are a Mac OS X, Linux or BSD user, the method to find the IP address is not the same. ipconfig won't work there. Here is what you need to type in shell prompt to get the address.

$ cat /etc/resolv.conf
Immediately, as you type in this command and hit enter, you will find two IP addresses listed beside 'nameserver'. Those are the addresses used by your ISP.
We can browse from one site to the other without any perceivable delay with the highly efficient hierarchical structure of the DNS servers. It is interesting to understand how much of effort needs to be put in to translate machine language to human readable form and vice versa. The DNS setup is a prime example of such a machine to human language translation.