Domain Name System is what DNS stands for and in simple English it is the phone book or doctors surgeries paper index listings of the internet. When you go to bing.com you don’t actually go to bing.com, your query is resolved to a single IP address or multiple. Humans are not good with remembering numbers, well remembering something simple like 888.com is easy though it still goes to a IP address, for everything else DNS does it for you. It also holds email records, sub domains, domain aliases and more.
Why am I randomly writing about DNS you will wonder when plenty of other people wrote about it many years ago? Yesterday randomly I typed in express.co.uk without the www and without the use of a search engine. I ended up at a completely random website: https://app-a702.mangahigh.com/en-gb/login - screenshot below.
I did some research and this website is not connected to the newspaper. To further ensure I was not imagining what happened, I tried it on a smartphone with/without Wi-Fi and within Internet Explorer & Firefox - the same result.
Take my domain name and most others, you add a A @ record and www record. One does www. and the other works if you don’t type in www. Below is a short snippet of what the express.co.uk has setup.
To many this article and the above will appear as gobbledygook. 126.96.36.199 is the middle A record entry and it goes to Mangahigh if you visit the IP address. 188.8.131.52 is very likely their @ entry which handles non www visits. All the IPs are Amazon AWS Ireland registered.
184.108.40.206 is a IP address used by another company and Express.co.uk is linked to it. Perhaps AWS changed the IP address owned by mistake or Express.co.uk forgot to update their records. A simple weekly internal IT task would catch this from going on for too long.
To put it simply a tiny config change within their DNS means people who do not use search engines or type in express.co.uk not www.express.co.uk end up at a random education site - Mangahigh are the winners here since they are getting free traffic by mistake.
Newspaper notified and awaiting a response.
DNS is the backbone of the internet, get it wrong and it can cause serious problems - just look at the Daily Express website
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