As a system administrator, webmaster, DevOps or in SRE may need to manage the DNS records type like in route 53 for your web application domain name or DNS server in your organization.
For a person without any technical knowledge can be even more challenging to understand all the different DNS records types available. In this article, I will share all the different DNS records type especially those commonly used DNS records type.
What Is DNS Records Type?
DNS (Domain Name Service) Records type refers to the different types of records that can be used to help direct traffic to the correct location on the internet. You can imagine like is like mapping your unique ID map into your name.
Each type of record has a specific purpose and can be used to point a domain or subdomain to the correct IP address or hostname. DNS records are essential for the proper functioning of the internet and the delivery of web services.
What Are the commonly used DNS Records Types?
These commonly used records include A (Address) records, CNAME (Canonical Name) records, MX (Mail Exchange) records, TXT (Text) records, and NS (Name Server) records.
A (Address) records
The A Records are used to point a domain (example.com) or subdomain (subdomain.example.com) to an IP address.
Here is one example, if I have a domain name called example.com and with this A record entry. It is pointing to the IP address eg (220.127.116.11) which is shown in the value.
CNAME (Canonical Name)
CNAME stands for Canonical Name and it is also known as an alias. Usually, CNAME Records are used to point your domain or subdomain to another domain name/address. It also sounds like a redirect where pointing your this subdomain abc.example.com to example2.com.
MX (Mail Exchange) records
MX Records are used to direct mail to the proper mail server. Most of the time, your email provider will provide you with more than 1 mail server for your MX records. The reason behind this is in case one of their mail server is down but there are
In the example below, the current domain has these 2 MX record entries to point to mx1 and mx2.emailsrvr.com which is the mail server.
TXT (Text) records
TXT refers to the text and usually contains a string of long text and characters. It is also commonly used for to do verifications like for example for SSL certification, connecting your site to Google Search Console, etc will require some kind of verification and this verification can be done by adding a new TXT record entry.
NS (Name Server) Records
The NS record is used to indicate which DNS server is the authoritative server for a given domain. This record helps direct web browsers and other internet applications to the correct IP address for the domain name.
Generally, multiple nameservers are listed for a single domain. For instance, they may be in the form of ns1.examplehostingprovider.com and ns2.examplehostingprovider.com.
What Are The Other DNS Records?
Below is the list of other DNS records maybe you will less often use or see when you manage your domain name.
An AAAA record, also known as an IPv6 address record, is used to map a domain name to the IP address (Version 6) of the computer hosting the domain. This allows a website to be reached with an IP address in the more modern IPv6 format, as well as in the traditional IPv4 format.
The SOA (Start of Authority) record is a critical part of the DNS system. It is a record that contains information about the domain name, such as the primary nameserver responsible for the domain, and administrative contact information.
It is also used to provide authoritative information about a domain and is the starting point for the DNS resolution of a domain name.
SRV records are used to point to a hostname and port number that can be used to provide services. This allows for a more reliable connection than just using an IP address. SRV records are commonly used for domain hosting, email, voice-over-IP, and other services.
CAA records are used to specify which Certificate Authorities (CAs) are allowed to issue SSL/TLS certificates for your domain. This provides an extra layer of security to ensure that your domain is only issued certificates by CAs that you trust.
A PTR record (Pointer Record) is a type of Domain Name System (DNS) record that resolves an IP address to a domain or hostname, unlike an A record which points a domain name to an IP address. PTR records are used for the reverse DNS lookup. Having a valid PTR record is essential for any server connected to the internet as many mail servers will reject emails from servers without a valid PTR record.
A DNAME record also known as a delegation name is used to provide redirection services for a whole subtree of a domain name tree. It allows a domain administrator to redirect an entire subdomain to another, without having to set up individual redirects for each subdomain.
For example, a DNAME record can be used to redirect all requests for test.example.com, test1.example.com, test2.example.com, and so on, to example.org.
What is TTL mean in DNS?
You might notice whenever you need to manage DNS records, you will also need to input the value for TTL and it is usually in numerical value. Have you wondered what TTL means?
TTL stands for Time To Live. It is a value in a DNS record that specifies the amount of time that the record can be cached by a resolver before it should be discarded and a new lookup should be done. It is usually set in seconds.
For example, if you input a value for TTL of 3600 which indicates 3600 seconds and that will translate into 1 hour.
Thanks for reading! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about DNS record types or anything mentioned in the post. I am happy to help.