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What Can DNS Query Testing Do for You?

04.28.21

Keeping a website up and running means constantly being on the lookout for problems. One class of tools designed to help you resolve issues with a website are DNS queries. In this post, we'll go over what DNS is and how this class of tools can help y

What Can DNS Query Testing Do for You?

April 28, 2021


Keeping a website up and running means constantly being on the lookout for problems. When a problem is discovered, either via automated checks or reports from a visitor, the source of the problem needs to be pinpointed and a solution found. One class of tools designed to help you resolve issues with a website are DNS queries. In this post, we'll go over what DNS is and how this class of tools can help you with your problems. 


What is DNS?

Websites are hosted on servers, who are contacted via a numerical address call an IP address. For example, 142.250.72.78 is an IP address associated with Google.com. As you can imagine, it would be horribly inconvenient if you had to remember a set of numbers for every website you wanted to visit.  Thankfully, something called the Domain Name System (DNS) exists that will map those numeric addresses to the domain names that we are all so familiar with. 


What types of DNS queries are there?

The type of DNS query available to you depends on the software you are using. For Linux and other UNIX-based systems, Dig is a popular tool for performing DNS checks. Dig stands for Domain Information Groper. Although there is no version of Dig for Windows, the tool NSLookup on that platform has much of the same functionality. Tools such as Whois and Ping can also be useful. 

DNS lookup

When you want to map a domain name to an IP address, you need to use a DNS lookup command. This is a simple command that will take whatever domain name you have given it and lookup with the IP address the DNS says is associated with it. The best DNS checkers can provide you with other information as well, such as the canonical name record for the site.

Reverse DNS lookup

Now that we've explained what a DNS lookup is, it should be fairly obvious what a reverse DNS lookup does. Sometimes, you have an IP address and don't know which domain is associated with it. This can come up in cybersecurity a lot. If you see an IP address in your logs and want to track it to a domain, a reverse DNS will allow you to do so. 

Whois

Simply knowing a domain isn't always enough. A whois search serves two major functions. First, it lets people in the market for a domain name know if their chosen name is already in use. That's probably where you've heard the name from. But it also provides information on who the name belongs to and how to contact them. This can be useful if someone is abusing an IP address and you want to report it to the owners.

DNS server speed test

There are many different servers that will perform a lookup into the Domain Name System, so your computer can properly translate domain names into their IP addresses. Like anything connected to the internet, these servers can be slow. A DNS speed test will tell you how quickly the server you are using response to requests. This can help you track down the source of slow connections. 

Ping

The first step to seeing if a website is responding correctly or not is to ping it. The ping command takes a domain name or an IP address as its input and then simply connects to the site repeatedly, telling you how long it took to respond each time. 


Conclusion

These tools are useful for keeping your website running smoothly, and also for tracking down those with malicious intent. Because of their vital role as cybersecurity tools, you'll find several DNS query tests available in your Synergy Infosec dashboard. If you don't already have an account with us, you can register for a free trial today. When you do, you'll get access to DNS tests and many other Synergy Infosec tools designed to keep your site secure.



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