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The Domain System Network software generally needs a 32-bit Internet address in order to open a connection or send a datagram However users prefer to deal with computer names rather than numbers Thus there is a database that allows the software to look up a name and find the corresponding number When the Internet was small this was easy Each system would have a file that listed all of the other systems giving both their name and number There are now too many computers for this approach to be practical Thus these files have been replaced by a set of name servers that keep track of host names and the corresponding Internet addresses In fact these servers are somewhat more general than that This is just one kind of information stored in the domain system Note that a set of interlocking servers are used rather than a single central one There are now so many different institutions connected to the Internet that it would be impractical for them to notify a central authority whenever they installed or moved a computer Thus naming authority is delegated to individual institutions The name servers form a tree corresponding to institutional structure The names themselves follow a similar structure A typical example is the name BORAXLCSMITEDU This is a computer at the Laboratory for Computer Science LCS at MIT In order to find its Internet address you might potentially have to consult 4 different servers First you would ask a central server called the root where the EDU server is EDU is a server that keeps track of educational institutions The root server would give you the names and Internet addresses of several servers for EDU There are several servers at each level to allow for the possibly that one might be down You would then ask EDU where the server for MIT is Again it would give you names and Internet addresses of several
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