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Getting Started: Understanding DNS Records

DNS (Domain Name System) is like an address book for the internet. What it does, is maintain a directory of domain names and the IP addresses that they are tied to.

In layman’s terms, devices use IP adresses to communicate with each other over the internet. IP addresses are difficult to remember, which is why websites have names like example.com. By entering example.com into your browser, the DNS will let your computer know the location (IP address) of the website, and help your browser arrive at its destination.


Some common DNS records include:

Address Mapping Record (A Record) – Also known as a DNS host record, stores a hostname and its corresponding IPv4 address. This is your website’s IP address.

Mail Exchanger Record (MX Record) – Specifies an SMTP email server for the domain, used to route outgoing emails to an email server. This record is necessary for sending out emails.

Name Server Record (NS Record) – Specifies that a DNS Zone, such as “example.com” is delegated to a specific Authoritative Name Server, and provides the address of the name server.

Canonical Name Record (CNAME Record) – can be used to alias a hostname to another hostname. When a DNS client requests a record that contains a CNAME, which points to another hostname, the DNS resolution process is repeated with the new hostname.

Reverse-lookup Pointer Record  (PTR Record) – allows a DNS resolver to provide an IP address and receive a hostname (reverse DNS lookup).

Text Record (TXT Record) – Typically carries machine-readable data such as opportunistic encryption, sender policy framework, DKIM, DMARC, etc. This helps to improve the deliverability of emails sent from the mail server.

Start of Authority (SOA Record) – this record appears at the beginning of a DNS zone file, and indicates the Authoritative Name Server for the current DNS zone, contact details for the domain administrator, domain serial number, and information on how frequently DNS information for this zone should be refreshed.


Here’s some guides for how to change your website’s DNS record for our SME/Shared Hosting users:

How to add DNS records in Plesk control panel

Modifying A Record in DirectAdmin

Modifying MX Record DirectAdmin