How does DNS work?

DNS is a protocol for how computers exchange information over the internet. The purpose is to translate computer language into a language comprehensible to us humans and vice versa.

For example, humans access information online through a domain name, like Computers use IP addresses to access information online, like Whether you type or into a web browser, both will connect to the Hover website. DNS translates the domain name to an IP address, so the web browser knows where to connect to, and we know what to enter into the web browser.

Through DNS, you can connect a domain name to web hosting, email, or other services.

DNS terminology

DNS DNS is an acronym for Domain Name Systems or Domain Name Servers. DNS entries translate domain names into a computer-friendly language like an IP address.
DNS Servers DNS servers fall into four different groups; DNS recursors, root nameservers, TLD nameservers, and authoritative nameservers. All four work together to supply the computer with an IP address to connect to.
Authoritative nameservers The authoritative nameserver determines where the domain is being pointed to by the domain registrar. All Hover domains can manage their nameservers within their Hover account.
IP Address Internet Protocol address is the numerical address assigned to computers and servers on the internet. Every device connected to the internet has its own IP address.
Hostname A hostname is a name or label assigned to a host computer or server. by itself is just a domain name, but when is set to point to an IP address, it becomes a hostname.
A record A records map domain names to the IP address of the host server. For example, the A record for is pointed to
CNAME record CNAME records, also referred to as an alias, points one domain name to another. For example, a CNAME record is used to point to
MX record The MX record specifies which server emails should be delivered to. For example, if a domain uses Hover's MX record,, emails will deliver to Hover's mail server.
DNS caching  DNS caching is the length of time a DNS server will retain existing DNS data before checking for updates. 
DNS propagation The time it takes for the cached data to be updated at the TLD nameserver after changes are made to the domain's authoritative nameserver.
TTL An acronym for time to live, TTL determines the time in seconds the authoritative nameserver tells non-authoritative nameservers to cache data.
Zone file The zone file contains DNS records for the domain name. As long as the domain uses Hover nameservers, you can manage your zone file through your Hover account.


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