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A DNS server is a type of name server that manages, maintains and processes Internet domain names and their associated records. In other words, a DNS server is the primary component that implements the DNS (Domain Name System) protocol and provisions domain name resolution services to Web hosts and clients on an IP-based network.
Primarily designed to locate and deliver websites to end users over the Internet or a private network, a DNS server is developed on typical hardware but runs specialized DNS software. It is always connected to the Internet or a network.
A DNS server stores a database of different domain names, network names, Internet hosts, DNS records and other related data. The most basic function of a DNS server is to translate a domain name into its respective IP address. During a domain name resolution query, DNS records are searched, and if found, the domain name record is returned. If the domain name is not registered or added to that DNS server, the query is then passed to other DNS servers until the domain name record is found.
DNS server software comes in dozens, if not hundreds of flavors. The best known version is BIND, which is free and distributed with Linux/Unix systems. On Microsoft systems, the Microsoft DNS is bundled as part of many Windows Server releases.