DNS Domain Name System Simplified – Tutorial

DNS Domain Name System Simplified - Tutorial

In this Cisco CCNA training tutorial, you’ll learn about DNS, the Domain Name System. Scroll down for the video and also text tutorial.

DNS Domain Name System Simplified – Video Tutorial

YouTube video

Jonathan Lin

I took the CCNA exam and passed with a score of 906! This was due to your course, thank you!

Jonathan Lin


DNS The Domain Name System


When two hosts communicate, the sender needs to form the packet. The packet is created starting with the Application Layer (Layer 7) information at the top of the OSI stack. If the host wanted to download information from a website, for example, this would include HTTP information like the Get request.

DNS Domain Name System

The host will then continue to form the packet and will encapsulate the Layer 7 header with the Presentation Layer (Layer 6) header.


DNS The Domain Name System 1

The sender will continue forming the packet and will encapsulate it with the Session Layer (Layer 5) header next.


DNS The Domain Name System 2


Next comes the Layer 4 (Transport Layer) header, which includes information like whether the transport is TCP or UDP, and the Port number. In our example, this would be TCP Port 80 for HTTP web traffic.


DNS The Domain Name System 3


Next, the source host will encapsulate that with the Network Layer (Layer 3) information which is the IP header. This includes the source and destination IP addresses. Some applications will enter the IP address directly, but often an FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) such as www.flackbox.com will be used. It’s a lot easier for humans to remember and type in www.flackbox.com than


The FQDN has to be converted to an IP address for the network to be able to get the packet to its destination. That’s where the Domain Name System (DNS) comes in. DNS resolves the FQDN to an IP address.


Enterprises will typically have an internal DNS server or a cluster of internal DNS servers which will resolve the IP addresses of their internal hosts. For example, if I was working for an enterprise called www.flackbox.com, we would have our own internal DNS server which would be responsible for resolving all hosts that were in the www.flackbox.com domain.


However, that internal DNS server obviously can't hold FQDN to IP address mappings for absolutely everything on the entire internet, so it's going to need to forward requests for servers outside the organisation to an external public DNS server. Public DNS is distributed across many external service providers.


DNS requests are sent using UDP port 53. If UDP fails it can revert to TCP port 53, but UDP is the standard.


You can view your IP addressing information, including DNS, by using the ‘ipconfig /all’ command on a Windows host.


DNS The Domain Name System 4


In the example here my IP address is with a /24 subnet mask, and the default gateway is at


DNS The Domain Name System 5


My DNS server is at


DNS The Domain Name System 6


The DNS domain that I am a part of is flackboxa.lab.


Lets have a look at the DNS server at next. I'm using a Windows server as my DNS server. Within Server Manager, I can click on Tools and then open up DNS.


DNS The Domain Name System 7


This server is authoritive for the domain flackboxa.lab and already has address records set up for some hosts. The host EngineeringA is at, EngineeringB is at, LinuxA is at etc.


DNS The Domain Name System 8


If this DNS server received a request for an FQDN that was in a different domain outside flackboxA.lab, it would need to forward that out to public DNS. To configure that, right-click on the server name on the top left here, select Properties and then Forwarders.


DNS The Domain Name System 9


Click Edit and then enter the IP address of the public DNS server, which you will normally have received from your Internet Service Provider.


DNS The Domain Name System 10


Okay, so that's DNS set up. If I come back to my local host now, I can do an nslookup for the host LinuxA. My DNS server at resolves linuxa.flackboxa.lab to My host can now communicate with LinuxA using it’s IP address, it’s hostname or it’s FQDN.


DNS The Domain Name System 11


Additional Resources

How DNS Works in Six Steps - Verisign


Want to practice Cisco VLANs on your laptop? Download my complete 350-page Cisco CCNA Lab Guide for free.


Click Here to get my Cisco CCNA Gold Bootcamp, the highest rated CCNA course online with a 4.8 star rating from over 20,000 public reviews.