written by: Finn Orfano•edited by: M.S. Smith•updated: 2/3/2010
DNS stands for Domain Name System. Before 1983, if you wanted to visit a website you would have to type numbers at the browser instead of a memorable address. The problem with that was trying to remember so many numbers, and as the Internet grew bigger, a more practical system became necessary.
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The Importance of DNS
The way the Internet works today is not fundamentally different from the way it worked 27 years ago. The implementation is superficial, and today, numbers are still used to take you to your cyber-destination. The only difference is that the Domain Name System performs such process on your behalf, by the means of Domain Name Resolutions.
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What is a DNS Server Number?
A DNS Server is where all the information necessary for Domain Name Resolution is stored. When you type www.google.com on your internet browser, the settings of your internet connection will refer the entry to the DNS Server, which will match www.google.com with the IP (Internet Protocol) address 126.96.36.199 (one of Google’s datacenters) and send you to the right place without you having to remember any IP addresses.
Such a process is possible because the DNS Server Number in your internet connection settings is a valid one. The DNS Server Number is in fact the IP address of a location in the internet where all the correspondent names and number are matched, your WWWs with their 192.168.123.123s.
This location is usually held by your Internet Service Provider, or by a Data Provider on behalf of your Internet Service Provider. Either way, the work is accomplished and you are able to visit your website by simply remembering its name rather than by remembering numbers. If it weren't for this, the web would not be what it is today.
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How Do I Find My DNS Server Number?
The easiest way to find out what your DNS Server Number is is by the Command Prompt facility of your Windows operating system.
On a Windows Vista operating system, click on Start and Run.
Type CMD on the field and press Enter.
At the Command Prompt (a black window with the blinking prompt), type IPCONFIG /ALL and press Enter.
The system will return information on your current network settings. Out of all the information presented, only the field DNS Servers, under the Ethernet Adapter Local Area Connection section, will be relevant for the purpose at hand.
Your DNS Server number will be something like 192.168.1.2, but if can be different if the network settings in your computer were entered manually or if you are using a system in a large network.
There is also a way to look up your network settings from the Control Panel. However, for such a simple task, the Command Prompt IPCONFIG /ALL command is the most practical and easiest way to perform this task. There is no reason to make it more complicated than that it has to be.
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Changing internet and network settings require knowledge and a little experience. Remember - if it is not broken do not fix it.