What are DNS Records?
DNS stands for Domain Name System, and it makes it easy to access websites. It is a large scale system that contains IP addresses, domain names, hosting and other information across every site on the internet. DNS records act as instructions for the DNS server, this is so that it knows which domain names each IP address is associated with. DNS records contain different syntax, which are sets of rules, and commands for how the server should respond to a request.
A records are a basic type of DNS record. They are used to point a domain, or a subdomain, to an IP address. You assign values to A records through your DNS management panel. A DNS management panel typically has three values that the user will enter. The first of these values will be a hostname. There are different types of hostnames which can be used to point to multiple IP addresses. Examples of these hostnames can be an asterix (*), @ symbol, or names hostnames. DNS management will also have a field where you enter the IP address where you want the domain to point. There will also be a TTL field which is the time to live.
CNAME records are another common type of DNS record. They are used to point to another domain address, rather than an IP address. For example, if you have multiple subdomains and you want to point them to your main domain name then you would create CNAME records. You would set the hostnames to your subdomain name, and then set them to point to your main domain name. This is useful for times when you change servers. You would change the IP address of your main domain name, and then the rest of the subdomains which are set as CNAMES will follow. All you have to do is update one record.
MX stands for Mail Exchanger. MX records are used to route emails, they specify which server or server to use to deliver mail to. They require a priority value, where the user will set a number which is used to indicate which MX server to use first from the list of MX records. The lowest priority number is the first to be tried for email delivery. So if one priority is set to 0 it would be used first, then the next to be tried would be 10 and so on. Host names for MX records are typically ‘@’, but if you wanted to receive emails on a subdomain then you would adjust the host name.
A TXT record is used to associate text with a zone. They are what the record ‘points to’, but aren’t used to direct any traffic. They are used to provide information to outside sources. They are typically used to provide SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records. They are used by a lot of email systems to identify that the email is coming from a trusted source. This helps to filter out spam emails. TXT records can be used to relay any information using a DNS record, as long as it is properly formatted and you have a purpose for it.