Root Server

What Does Root Server Mean?

A root server is part of the supporting infrastructure of the Internet, and facilitates Internet use by acting as the backbone of online access.


Root servers are an essential part of the domain name system (DNS). They publish root zone file contents, which are responsible for DNS functionality, to the Internet. DNS associates information with domain names, and a great deal of online activity makes use of it. Domain names are mapped to IP addresses through this process, for example.

A root server is often called a DNS root name server.

Techopedia Explains Root Server

Internet traffic never passes through root servers. Routing is not a root server function. Instead, root servers answer queries from other sections of the DNS.

A number of root servers are located around the world, although there is some controversy about how many are actually in existence. Many sources claim that there are 13 root servers. However, this claim has been shown to be false, as it only refers to the number of named authorities in a root zone’s delegation data. Most sources list hundreds of these root servers existing in various locations worldwide.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…