Behind The Scene – DNS


The Domain Name System (DNS) is a key component of the Internet. You can think of it as the Internet’s phonebook, it translates domain names (e.g., to a computer address or IP so that your browser can load the webpage. The DNS is a key determinant of your quality of experience, and privy to your tastes and preferences. In some parts of the world, it can play a key role in what you can and cannot access on the Web. Most of us are unaware of DNS. Your home, office, or school machines typically rely on a DNS server – known as a “resolver” – supplied by your ISP or network provider. The browser in your machine will ask that resolver to translate (or resolve) a given domain name to an address, the server will find the associated address, and hand it back to your browser. Of course, things are rarely that simple.


How you can help

Below, you see two buttons. Based on your operating system, you can click one of the buttons to copy a command to your clipboard. When the command is run on your terminal/command prompt, it will output an IP address, that is the IP address of the resolver responding to your DNS query. Please paste that output into the text box below, and then hit submit to run the experiment.



Please Enter Your Resolver IP Here:




The goal of our study

We are a group of academic researchers trying to understand the complexity of DNS. by taking a look behind the scenes. We are asking questions such as is your ISP using its own DNS server or working with another third-party service? Who is it sharing your sensitive DNS information with? As you can imagine, this is likely different in every region and country and for every ISP provider around the world. Asking all those providers may be hard so we figured we should ask you directly!


[1] What does an IP look like? You have seen them before, they are something that looks like (for IPv4) or a much longer 2601:246:c80:3420:61b9:e0b5:3bdb:ed4d (IPv6).