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DNS query

(also DNS request)

DNS query definition

A DNS query is a device’s request to a Domain Name System (DNS) server to provide an IP address for a given hostname. By default, your router will send these requests to your internet service provider’s (ISP) public DNS servers. DNS queries reveal your online activity to the server’s operator — to protect your privacy from your ISP, use a reputable VPN with private DNS servers.

Types of DNS queries

  • Recursive DNS query: The DNS server itself tracks down the DNS record by making a series of DNS requests until it reaches the Authoritative Name Server with the IP address of the requested hostname.
  • Non-recursive DNS query: The DNS server either already has the required DNS record in its cache or knows where to get it, so there is no need for more than one query.
  • Iterative DNS query: If it does not have the requisite IP address in its cache, the DNS server queried refers the client to another DNS server to continue the search.

Watch it explained: DNS query and other terms