What is DNS Hosting

Domain Name System (DNS) vs. DNS hosting - what exactly is the difference? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If you’re confused about this topic or just want to learn more about DNS in general, keep reading!

What is DNS: Quick Breakdown

DNS is an afterthought to the average user—if it’s even a thought at all. But the truth is, it’s kind of a big deal. In a sense, it’s what makes the internet go ‘round. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of how it works:

Every device uses DNS when it connects to the web. This includes computers, smartphones, Alexa, Google Assistant, a smart bulb, gaming consoles, smart TVs, smart refrigerators—you name it. The main functionality of DNS is to convert domain names ( into numerical IP addresses that machines can read ( This is how DNS nameservers know where to send internet users when they enter a website into their browser.

It’s not just one nameserver that makes DNS decisions. There is actually a series of nameservers that work together to achieve the end result: recursive, root, top level domain (TLD), and authoritative nameservers). When a person enters a website into their browser, it generates a DNS lookup, which begins with a recursive resolver. If the resolver has the information stored in its cache, it will return the answer to the requesting client. Otherwise, it will contact other nameservers until it eventually gets the final answer from the authoritative nameserver. The DNS provider for your domain is who is authoritative for your domain as it always holds the most up-to-date information.

Tip: Check out our blog Authoritative and Recursive DNS: What’s the Difference? for a deeper dive into the DNS process. 

DNS Hosting Explained

Web hosting and DNS hosting are often confused as the same thing. This is likely due to the fact that some web hosts, like GoDaddy, offer DNS too. But a web host’s main purpose is to provide the actual online space for your website. A DNS host, on the other hand, is a service that provides the authoritative nameserver for your domain’s queries. 

DNS Hosting Provider: Free vs Premium DNS

While some web hosts include DNS as part of their package—and often for free—this isn’t an ideal solution for most businesses. Speed and reliability vary greatly among dedicated DNS hosting providers, but there is an even great disparity between dedicated providers and their free counterparts. 

Cheap or free authoritative DNS hosting may work fine for personal and hobbyist websites, but any small to enterprise-level business would be best suited with premium options. Free doesn’t always mean free, in the true sense of the word. Most free DNS services come with caveats, such as limited functionality and features. 

Premium DNS hosts provide more advanced customization options, stronger infrastructures, faster performance, and higher uptime. That said, not all managed DNS providers are created equal. While core services are often similar, each provider has its own product suite, so it’s important that you choose one that can provide superior performance and reliability as well as one that satisfies all your DNS requirements. 

Did you know?: Dyn is slated for end-of-live by May 2023. To help you make the best, most informed DNS decisions for your organization, we have created a comprehensive comparison of our services vs Dyn.

DNS Hosting Checklist

1. Uptime history

2. Speed

3. Infrastructure

4. Scalability

5. Customization options

6. DNS Monitoring

7. Query analytics  

8. Customer service and support

DNS Hosting In a Nutshell

A DNS host provides the authoritative nameservers that answer or resolve queries for your website. This is how your site is found on the web. There are free and premium DNS providers, and each one offers a different customer experience. Researching potential providers beforehand is the best way to ensure the DNS provider you choose will meet your current and future needs. A strong DNS hosting provider with powerful traffic management solutions is critical to your domain’s success. 

Related Resources:

Best DNS Servers: United States

DNS Security 2022 - Best Practices to Prevent DDoS Attacks

Top 6 DNS Solutions for E-Commerce

Heather Oliver
Heather Oliver is a Technical Writer for Constellix and DNS Made Easy, subsidiaries of Tiggee LLC. She’s fascinated by technology and loves adding a little spark to complex topics. Want to connect? Find her on LinkedIn.

Our latest news

Stay up to date on the latest DNS Made Easy resources and news

Want a Proof of Concept?

Start Free Trial