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Using a simpler, more memorable name in place of a host's numerical address dates back to the ARPANET era.
The Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) maintained a text file named HOSTS.
When a user accesses a distributed Internet service using a URL, the domain name of the URL is translated to the IP address of a server that is proximal to the user.
An often-used analogy to explain the Domain Name System is that it serves as the phone book for the Internet by translating human-friendly computer hostnames into IP addresses.
The domain name space consists of a tree data structure.
Each node or leaf in the tree has a label and zero or more resource records (RR), which hold information associated with the domain name.
Most prominently, it translates more readily memorized domain names to the numerical IP addresses needed for locating and identifying computer services and devices with the underlying network protocols.
By providing a worldwide, distributed directory service, the Domain Name System is an essential component of the functionality on the Internet, that has been in use since 1985.
This process of using the DNS to assign proximal servers to users is key to providing faster and more reliable responses on the Internet and is widely used by most major Internet services.