WHOIS, Domain names and everything related
What is a Domain name and how does it work?
The internet and several other large and private networks make use of the DNS or the Domain Name System to direct the traffic online. The DNS is also popularly called the 'phonebook of the internet'. The internet makes use of DNS as a name resolution service for public websites across the world. It refers to a decentralized naming system that is fit for computer or services that are connected to the internet or even a private network. Overall, it serves as an important component for the smooth functioning of internet. When a user types the name of a site in a browser, the DNS finds the corresponding IP address for it and any other data required to get the desired network connection. So a Domain Name System is actually a friendly way of naming the web servers or the web pages. It defines addresses to them. They work very similar to an international phone number and give servers an easy to remember and easy to spell address. On the other hand, they also hide the IP addresses that are technical and are not very useful to the viewer as well.
Apart from all that is mentioned above, the domain system is also responsible for assigning domain names and mapping those names to the internet resources by providing name servers to every particular domain. The internet maintains two different spaces for names; one is for domain name hierarchy while the second one is for IP address. It is also important to know here that the domain name system provides the translation services to and fro on the internet.
How to read Domain names?
The domain names are always organized from right to left as is the case in any name (the family names to the right and the personal names to the left.). These descriptors are actually called 'Domains'.
The TLD or the Top Level Domain, also called the parent domain is mentioned to the far right of a domain name; the mid-level domains are obviously in the middle while the machine name is to the far left. It is often "www". The different levels of domains are separated by dots or periods.
Some facts about the Domain Name Systems
The main function of the Domain Name System or the DNS is to store the names and the addresses of the servers of the public internet. Here are some interesting facts about it:
The Domain Name Systems is around 30 years old before which a public system was only identifiable with its host name. The addresses of all the host names were maintained in one big file. The process became difficult and complicated in the later years when computer network grew. It was then that support domains were added and the single level naming system was changed to the multi level naming system.
When DNS was first implemented in 1980, it originally defined only 6 original Top Level Domains that were .com, .edu, .mil, .net, .org and .gov while there are more than 700 TLDs today on the internet. The wide expansion for domain names only happened post 2011 with the basic aim of better classification of the web sites, based on their purpose.
Currently, there are more than 100 million domains that are registered under .com solely. While there are a few that are specifically affiliated to certain kinds of businesses, there are others that are registered by individuals for their personal purposes.
DNS works both in forward and the reverse direction, i.e. the host names of the web sites and the other internet servers can be converted to the IP addresses (called the forward DNS look ups) or translating the addresses to the names (called the reverse DNS look ups). The reverse DNS lookups are not too common but they are often used in troubleshooting by the network administrators.
DNS remains the prime target when it comes to hacking the websites. Hacking happens when a hacker gets access to the DNS server records for the website he targets to hack. The hacker access the DNS records of the website, modifies them in such a way that the visitors are redirected to some other site. Every time a user visits a website that is hacked, the DNS instructs the browser to locate data from a bogus location. It is however, not necessary that the hackers have to hack into the DNS every time. They can also compromise with the hosting service of the domain by acting as the web administrators.
What is WHOIS and WHOIS lookup?
If you are wondering what is WHOIS? WHOIS is simply read as "who is?" and is a utility protocol that is used to gain any information on domain names. The information included is related to the contract and other technical information on domain name server like the IP address block and autonomous system which is one of the most crucial roles of the service. The database content is stored as well as delivered in a human readable format. Apart from these, there is other additional information that is related to the status, for instance, if the domain is locked. To be able to use it, the user needs to enter the domain in the form and then start with the WHOIS look up. There might be several events when the user is not given all the information that is available or even worse, maybe they are not provided with any information at all. In such instances, it is important to check if there is any other alternative to the WHOIS lookup for the domain that is not responding. There are different levels of the WHOIS lookup protocol that explain a number of things about the domain name in great detail. It also decodes several status codes for the user.