When you type into your web browser the name of a website, for example www.ModernSurvivalBlog.com, before you actually get to the site there is a process that takes place in the background that translates the name of the site to the IP address of the site (a number), like 188.8.131.52
The number itself (the IP Address) is the actual identifier of the website, and is where your web browser actually retrieves the content of the site.
In other words, domain names (ModernSurvivalBlog.com) are assigned to an IP address.
The ‘thing’ (Internet service) that translates the names into the IP addresses is called the ‘Domain Name System’, or DNS. Domain name servers do the work. These servers are all over the internet.
DNS is an amazing distributed database, meaning that there is no one machine handling it. The system handles billions of requests for billions of names every day through a network of of name servers. The system is configured such that if one ‘name server’ goes down, your request will go on to another, until your browsers request is fulfilled, etc.
The thing is, what if there was a major cyber attack on name servers, which would then create problems with your web browser while attempting to reach a website? Or, what if a particular website was removed from the DNS registry (by hack, attack, or ‘other’)?
In that case, there’s only one way that you would have a chance at getting to the site. And that is to know what the site’s IP Address is, or its ‘number’. If you knew the number itself, you could simply type it into the browsers address bar and hit enter… bypassing the DNS name servers and going directly to the site. The problem is of course that you would have needed to have made a note of the site(s) number before hand.
Here is one way to find out the actual IP Address of a website.
Step 1, Methods to open the Command Prompt
You first need to open a ‘command prompt’ window. On Windows 7 for example, it’s simple to do. Click on the ‘Start’ Windows icon on the lower left and a text box will open up. Type ‘cmd’ (without the quotes) in the box and press enter. Your command prompt window will open. Another way is to look in your ‘Programs’ folders for one named ‘Accessories’ and click on it (All Windows versions have this). You will then see ‘Command Prompt’ as one of the choices. Click it. Now you have your command prompt window open and ready for the next step…
Step 2, Open Command Prompt
Step 3, Ping a website name
Type the following, exactly, while substituting any website name that you wish, and press ENTER.
Step 4, Get the IP Address
After you ping the site name, you will see a series of resulting lines of text. Look for the IP Address which will look something like this, 184.108.40.206
Step 5, Verify IP Address in Broswer
Next, you can verify the IP Address by typing it into your browser’s address bar and hit ENTER. The website should now be loaded into your browser (without having typed the name!)
Although the Internet is extremely resilient and designed to continue to work even with broken nodes and routes, if you are concerned at all about the possibility of DNS attacks, you may choose to record the IP Addressees of your ‘go-to’ web site names.