From what I understand, when going to site, the router first goes to the ISP's Resolver Name Server. From there, it either finds a cache of the site's IP, or it goes to sub-sequent Name Server's to get to the site's IP.

But what if you already know a site's IP, and you're plugged into an ethernet port? Can you enter the IP manually in a browser, and thereby reach a site while bypassing the use of a router or ISP? Or, is there more involved in reaching a site than that? If so, what else is involved?

  • 5
    You won't be able to reach the ip address if you don't have an ISP.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 27, 2018 at 19:20
  • related Do servers hold one website only? and How do DNS servers work?
    – Mokubai
    Feb 27, 2018 at 19:20
  • @Ramhound But for what reason? What does an ISP's technology do that allows it to reach site's IP?
    – abcjme
    Feb 27, 2018 at 19:52
  • you'll need a router to access the site. no way around that. As for DNS, you can use ANY internet DNS server in place of the ones provided by your ISP. In fact, when MOST ISPs block your internet (because of DMCA/RIAA violations, illegal downloads, etc) you can bypass the block by using some other DNS server. I imagine the ISP doesn't want you to know that however. I often use the DNS which re-activates my internet when they turn it off ;) Feb 27, 2018 at 19:54
  • Without paying someone (your ISP) to provide you some kind of internet connection how do you connect at all?
    – Mokubai
    Feb 27, 2018 at 19:56

2 Answers 2


Everyone needs an ISP

You can't get anywhere on the Internet without a way to connect to the Internet. By definition, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is how you connect.

Think of the Internet has a series of roads and highways that are all interconnected and the site you want to access as your travel destination. Regardless of where you start, you begin by traversing a portion of that network of roads. Whether it's the road the runs in front of your flat, a driveway coming up to your house, or a 8-lane highway you climb the fence to get to, that first section of road is your ISP.

If you took your laptop to the nearest university and plugged directly into their cable feed coming from the Internet, they'd be your ISP--at least until you got caught.

Use of the Public Internet requires routers

Routers move traffic from one network to another. A network in this sense is a group of nodes on the same IP subnetwork. The Internet is nothing more than many individual IP subnetworks linked together. If all of the computers and servers in the world were on one giant IP subnetwork, routers would not be needed. But this is not how the Internet was designed (and for good reason). As a result, if you want to access a site that's hosted elsewhere on the Internet, your traffic must be "routed" (by routers) to its destination.

That said, it is perfectly possible to not have a router of your own and plug your computer directly into your ISP's network (assuming they let you do this). In that case, your computer would get an address valid on your ISP's network. However, this only eliminates one router from the equation. When your computer begins a conversation with that remote site you want to access, it will send all of the data packets to the ISP's router. Use of routers is entirely unavoidable on the public Internet.

Bypassing your ISP for DNS

You are correct that you don't need DNS to access (some) sites as long as you know its IP address. But you seem to be assuming you need to use your ISP for DNS, which is not the case. DNS is a public service and regardless what nameserver you use to resolve your lookup queries, you'll be able to get to the site you're trying to reach. For example, Google offers public DNS services at the IP addresses of and If you configure your system to use those DNS servers, no queries are sent to your ISP.

Or doing away with DNS entirely

Perhaps you're wondering if you can dispense with DNS entirely. In practical terms the answer is no. One immediate problem you'd face is the fact a server that host multiple websites looks at the name you type into your browser's address bar to figure out which website it should show you. While you could work around this problem using your HOSTS file, there are other DNS record types that can only be accessed through a DNS query.

  • 1
    @TwistyImpersonator valid point there. I guess a simple note: "Some webservers have more than one sites and as such, you simply cannot enter the ip address and expect the site to load up. You are more likely to see a website from the hosting company itself. In that case you really need the domainname rather than the ip address."
    – LPChip
    Feb 27, 2018 at 20:05
  • 1
    @LPChip I have to agree with you. Paragraph added. Feb 27, 2018 at 20:18
  • 1
    A lot of questions! :) The graphics in your first and 3rd comments are largely accurate. As for the landlines, to a degree, yes, routing works under similar principles. For your third comment, there are a lot of technical reasons why there can't be one giant network. One of them is the problem of keeping an accurate list of who has what address. Another is the fact that all the computers in the world couldn't have a physical connection to that ONE network (which would be necessary). As for your 2nd comment, when you use another DNS server, yes, your info must transmit that data...(cont) Feb 28, 2018 at 1:22
  • 1
    ...but since it's going to "some other server" (not theirs) it's just data to them. But your graphic is confusing the role of routing and DNS. You may be helped by reading about how DNS works and network routing. Feb 28, 2018 at 1:24
  • 1
    @abcjme yes, that's more accurate Feb 28, 2018 at 12:33

From what I understand, when going to site, the router first goes to the ISP's Resolver Name Server. From there, it either finds a cache of the site's IP, or it goes to subsequent name servers to get to the site's IP.

In many cases, this is what happens, yes.

Can you enter the IP manually in a browser, and thereby reach a site while bypassing the use of a router or ISP?

"Yes" to manually entering the IP in the browser, "No" to bypassing the router and ISP.

When you manually enter an IP in a browser, you are bypassing the process of matching the domain name (e.g. www.example.com) to its IP (e.g. This matching process is what you are describing in the first half of your question.

But a router and ISP do much more than that. They carry all the data from your computer to the website you wish to visit and vice versa. They are what allow your computer and the website to communicate in the first place. As a simple analogy, the original question is like asking if you can make a phone call without the phone company (your router and ISP) because you didn't need to call information to dial the number.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.