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A DNS lookup is an essential tool for troubleshooting Internet connectivity and understanding the components that make up a website or email address. This guide explains the basics of DNS lookups and how to use them to identify potential issues with your domain name hosting.

What is a DNS Lookup? 

DNS lookups are public queries that allow users to locate web and email servers by their domain name. It is essentially a way of translating the domain names into IP addresses, as all websites and email are hosted on IP addresses. The DNS lookup also provides additional information, such as the mail server records, to help identify any issues with your domain name or other Internet-related problems.

How to Perform a DNS Lookup.

A DNS lookup can be performed in a few simple steps. The first is to find an online domain name search tool, such as Whois or Dig. Enter the domain name in the search bar and perform a lookup by clicking on “Search”. This will then bring up all the relevant details of that particular domain, including the Name Server (NS) records and IP address. Other information may appear depending on the type of lookup you perform.

Interpreting the Results from a DNS Lookup.

Once you have performed a DNS lookup, it is important to interpret the results. The Name Server (NS) record usually refers to the server that holds the domain’s DNS records. This may be a web hosting provider or domain registrar for example. The IP address is then the numerical representation of this server. Having knowledge of DNS lookups can help inform decisions on domain routing and network security for website admins and owners.

Uses of a DNS Lookup.

DNS lookups are often used to help website owners discover which domain name server is hosting their website or for troubleshooting technical issues such as network delays, connection timeouts and DNS errors. This process can also be used to check if a particular domain name has been registered or changed recently, protecting users from spoof websites. Finally, a DNS lookup can help identify malicious IP addresses trying to access the domain and block them before any harm occurs.

When Should You Use a DNS Lookup?

A DNS lookup might be necessary when diagnosing connection issues on the web, or if you want to check that a domain name hasn’t been diverted to an unwanted server. It can also be done if you want to identify any malicious IP addresses trying to access your domain, as these may indicate potential security risks. Finally, you can use it as part of troubleshooting mail delivery problems.