Find DNS records. The Domain Name System (DNS) is the hierarchical and decentralized naming system used to identify computers, services, and other resources reachable through the Internet or other Internet Protocol (IP) networks. The resource records contained in the DNS associate domain names with other forms of information. These are most commonly used to map human-friendly domain names to the numerical IP addresses computers need to locate services and devices using the underlying network protocols, but have been extended over time to perform many other functions as well. The Domain Name System has been an essential component of the functionality of the Internet since 1985.
An often-used analogy to explain the Domain Name System is that it serves as the phone book for the Internet by translating human-friendly computer hostnames into IP addresses. For example, the domain name www.example.com translates to the addresses 126.96.36.199 (IPv4) and 2606:2800:220:1:248:1893:25c8:1946 (IPv6). The DNS can be quickly and transparently updated, allowing a service's location on the network to change without affecting the end users, who continue to use the same hostname. Users take advantage of this when they use meaningful Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) and e-mail addresses without having to know how the computer actually locates the services.
An important and ubiquitous function of the DNS is its central role in distributed Internet services such as cloud services and content delivery networks. When a user accesses a distributed Internet service using a URL, the domain name of the URL is translated to the IP address of a server that is proximal to the user. The key functionality of the DNS exploited here is that different users can simultaneously receive different translations for the same domain name, a key point of divergence from a traditional phone-book view of the DNS. This process of using the DNS to assign proximal servers to users is key to providing faster and more reliable responses on the Internet and is widely used by most major Internet services.
The DNS reflects the structure of administrative responsibility in the Internet. Each subdomain is a zone of administrative autonomy delegated to a manager. For zones operated by a registry, administrative information is often complemented by the registry's RDAP and WHOIS services. That data can be used to gain insight on, and track responsibility for, a given host on the Internet.