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The Domain Name System (DNS) is a global database that translates domain names
© iStockPhoto / Internet Society

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a global database that translates domain names (such as to Internet addresses that are used by computers to talk to each other.

DNS also provides other information about domain names, such as mail services.

Why is DNS important?

Domain names are fundamental to the Internet. Every Internet-connected device, whether a personal computer, smart phone, or gaming console, looks up each name in the global DNS, and uses the resulting Internet address to connect to the web server, send the e-mail or use the World Wide Web.

When you visit in a browser, your computer uses DNS to retrieve the website’s IP address of 2001:41c8:20::19.

We Focus On:

Behind its simplicity, the DNS raises many complex technical, legal, and political challenges.

Here are some of them:

DNS Transition to the Private Sector

The success of the Internet lies in the fact that is powered using a bottom-up community based process built on publically developed principles.  This means our "network of networks" truly belongs to everyone and is open to both local and global imagination, inspiration, and innovation.

Names and Naming

Although some may think of the DNS solely as a technical system, the practice of naming raises many important social and cultural issues. Names and naming are also part of the broader issue of multilingualism.

Finding Solutions to Illegal Online Activities

While the most effective way to combat illegal online activities is to attack them at source, the multi-national environment of the Internet makes this more complicated than just shutting down a local server.

Filtering is not a solution - the real solution is international cooperation.