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What is Primary DNS?

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Tanya Valdez is a Technical Writer at Constellix. She makes the information-transfer material digestible through her own transfer of information to our customers and readers. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Primary DNS is the main authoritative DNS server (or nameserver) that serves as the initial stop for a query as the user-entered domain name is translated into an IP address that the system can understand—after all, we don’t speak the same language, so we need a translator to help us with every website visit. When the name of a website is typed into a browser, the DNS server takes the entry and converts it into the domain’s corresponding IP address, and then connects the end user to the website. This is similar to how operators worked back in the day when we had to call for a phone number that we didn’t know. We would tell them the name of the person or business and they would locate the appropriate number and transfer us. For a thorough understanding of DNS, see What is DNS.

Primary DNS Servers

As mentioned previously, DNS servers are used for internal communication amongst computers. Hostnames that are requested by end users are resolved to the unique IP addresses that they store. Authoritative DNS makes your website available to the public. It is what allows it to be found by query searches. There is both free DNS and premium authoritative DNS.  For a detailed difference between the two, see Free vs Paid Authoritative DNS. The distinction falls in the performance of the DNS provider, the strength of its infrastructure, and the DNS management services that it offers. 

How Primary DNS Works

Primary DNS is the first point of contact for a browser, device or application that that needs to translate a human-readable hostname into an IP address. When another DNS server is added to a domain, one will become the primary. As a primary DNS server, it houses the domain’s original DNS zone files. When changes are made to DNS records in the zone files, the primary is either updated simultaneously with or prior to the secondary, depending on the configuration.

What Is My DNS?

There are a few online tools in which you can enter the domain name and check the credentials related to your DNS host:

The search results page will display administrative information related to the domain, including the registrar details, expiration date, and the primary DNS nameservers.

DNS Related Resources:

What is Secondary DNS?

What is a TXT Record?

What is TTL?

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