DNS – The domain name system (DNS) is the name service provided by the Internet for TCP/IP networks. DNS provides host names to the IP address service. DNS also serves as a database for mail administration. For a complete description of this service, see System Administration Guide: Naming and Directory Services (DNS, NIS, and LDAP). See also the resolver(3RESOLV) man page.
/etc files – The original host-based UNIX name system was developed for standalone UNIX machines and then adapted for network use. Many old UNIX operating systems and computers still use this system, but it is not well suited for large complex networks.
NIS – Network Information Service (NIS) was developed independently of DNS and has a slightly different focus. Whereas DNS focuses on making communication simpler by using machine names instead of numerical IP addresses, NIS focuses on making network administration more manageable by providing centralized control over a variety of network information. NIS stores information about machine names and addresses, users, the network itself, and network services. NIS name space information is stored in NIS maps. For more information on NIS Architecture and NIS Administration, see System Administration Guide: Naming and Directory Services (DNS, NIS, and LDAP).