Are you looking to understand the basics of DNS records? Then this blog post is for you! We’ll cover seven of the fundamental DNS records you need to know to get on the right foot with your domain setup. So read more about SOA, A, CNAME, MX, SPF, NS, and TXT records.
DNS SOA records
DNS SOA (Start of Authority) records are essential in a name server’s database. They specify basic information about a domain, such as the name of the server that supplied the data, the contact information of the domain administrator, and the default TTL (time to live) settings. The purpose of an SOA record is to provide a single, authoritative source of information about the domain and its associated name servers.
SOA records work with other resources, such as NS, A, and MX records, to provide a comprehensive domain view. However, with proper configuration, the various records of a DNS zone can stay in sync, leading to resource conflicts and other technical issues. For this reason, maintaining a valid and accurate SOA record is essential to the function of a domain’s name server properly.
DNS A records
DNS A (Address) records are one of the most common records in a name server’s database. They are responsible for mapping hostnames to IP (Internet Protocol) addresses, allowing users to locate a website using its hostname. A records serve as the backbone of the Domain Name System, and no domain’s name server can function without them.
When a DNS query is made for a domain name, it is routed to the appropriate A record to find the IP address that corresponds to the domain. Without a valid A record, a request for the website will fail, leading to a “host not found” error. For this reason, maintaining accurate A records is essential for any well-functioning name server.
DNS CNAME records
DNS CNAME (Canonical Name) records are commonly used to point one domain name to another domain name. A CNAME record is often needed when creating an alias to an existing domain name. For example, if you wanted to create a subdomain to point to another domain, such as www.example.com pointing to example.com, you would use a CNAME record.
CNAME records are also often used for content delivery networks (CDNs). By setting up your DNS to use a CNAME record to a CDN provider, you can speed up the website loading times and improve the overall user experience. In addition, CNAME records provide the flexibility of pointing domain names to different resources, making them a critical component of web infrastructure management.
DNS MX records
DNS MX (Mail Exchanger) records are a type of record used to manage email delivery for a domain. MX records indicate which mail servers handle incoming messages for a domain and the priority at which messages should be received. Most domains have multiple MX records with different priority settings, allowing for redundancy and increased email reliability.
It’s important to note that MX records are entirely separate from website DNS records. So, for example, you can have one mail server (or many) and a completely different server for your website. This separation helps ensure that incoming messages are routed accurately and that website visitor traffic is unaffected by MX record changes.
DNS NS records
DNS NS (Name Server) records are a type of record that provides information about the name servers responsible for managing a particular domain. These records contain a list of name servers authorized to give information on the domain and the corresponding IP addresses.
It is important to note that all name server records must be identical across all parent and child name servers to maintain the integrity of the domain’s data. If any name server records differ, the domain may experience errors or other technical issues. For this reason, it’s essential to keep all NS records up-to-date and properly configured.
DNS TXT records
DNS TXT (Text) records are used to store arbitrary text in a domain’s name server databases. These records are commonly used for several purposes, such as verifying domain ownership, setting up SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records, and other technical operations.
TXT records may contain any text you choose, up to 255 characters in length. This can be used to provide valuable context on a domain name, such as the website’s purpose or contact information for the domain administrator. However, it is important to note that TXT records are also used for authentication and other security measures, such as DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Email).
Finally, TXT can also be used in conjunction with other types of DNS records, such as MX and A records. For example, a TXT record may be used to provide additional information about a mail server or the IP address of a website. While TXT records are considered optional by most name servers, setting up these records can provide valuable insights into the domain.
Now that you have the basics of the seven fundamental DNS records, you can set up and maintain your domain name system. Setting up and managing these records properly will ensure your website runs without technical issues.
Thanks for reading, and best of luck with your domain setup!