Significance of the Domain Name System (DNS) Records in Determining Ownership of a Domain
The Domain Name System (DNS) is a crucial part of the Internet and without it we wouldn’t be able to visit any of our favorite sites. When you type in “google.com” into your browser, your computer needs to know at where to find the web page google.com. In reality, your computer doesn’t care about the actual words “google.com” but rather a string of numbers called an IP address that looks like this: 220.127.116.11. DNS is what tells your computer that google.com is found at IP address 18.104.22.168. In some ways, it’s like a phone book for the web. A really great video overview can be seen here.
The translations from domain names to IP addresses are often referred to as ‘’DNS records’’. When a domain is purchased, the owner dictates a server where these DNS records are stored. DNS servers all over the Internet use that server to find the authoritative DNS records for that specific domain. The Mormon Church’s authoritative DNS servers as ns*.intellectualreserveinc.org. This can be seen when obtaining the whois information for any domain owned by the Church as seen in this example of lds.org:
If we look at the whois information for argyllresearch.org, we will see the intellectualreserveinc.org servers listed as well:
Inherently, that doesn’t necessarily indicate a direct connection between the Church and the domain. Similar to WHOIS information, anyone can buy a domain and list those servers as their DNS servers. It is safe to assume that the Church controls the records placed on their intellectualreserveinc.org DNS servers, so if those servers respond with DNS records for argyllresearch.org one could completely verify that the Church does indeed own the domain rather than someone attempting to give that appearance.
Without getting into details of all the different types of DNS records, the servers ns1.intellectualreserveinc.org, ns2.intellectualreserveinc.org, ns31.intellectualreserveinc.org, ns32.intellectualreserveinc.org, ns33.intellectualreserveinc.org, and ns34.intellectualreserveinc.org not only all return what is called an SPF record for the domain argyllresearch.org, but the record list several IP addresses owned by the Church: 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, 184.108.40.206/24, and 220.127.116.11/26. We know they are owned by the Church after looking at the WHOIS information for one of them:
It appears the Church controls all IP addresses within the 18.104.22.168 - 22.214.171.124 range.