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What's the difference between “default gateway” and “preferred DNS server”?

My hosting provider gives me an IP and an IP gateway address. I configured my domain to use the IP. I don't understand what is the use case for the gateway.

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marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, soandos, Joe Taylor, Mokubai, Dennis Jul 25 '12 at 17:41

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How do you plan to reach machines with IP addresses not inside your segment? –  David Schwartz Dec 22 '11 at 0:43
    
I don't think all hosting providers are explicit about it. I'm wondering when would I actually need this to mess around with it. –  m33lky Dec 22 '11 at 4:00

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

The gateway is the "next hop" - basically, your PC connects to the gateway IP to get out onto the rest of the internet.

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As a note, it does not actually have to connect to the internet, it could be any network (even one that is totally internal). –  soandos Dec 21 '11 at 23:14

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