When you start trying to manage your domain’s DNS for the first time, everything can seem very confusing. Don’t panic! DNS records can be intimidating, but they’re not so hard once you get a feel for them. Below are explanations of the more common types.
A Records:These are also called Address Records or sometimes Host Records. A record only resolves to IP addresses. These records point your domain to the IP address of your website or hosting. Let’s say that you own the domain name name.com which is hosted with us and the IP address of your hosting server is 127.0.0.1. Usually you would have two DNS records to point your domain to the hosting that look like this:
- A name.com 127.0.0.1
- A *.name.com 127.0.0.1
The first A record in this example is pointing the “bare” version of your domain. That means when someone goes to their browser and types in the domain name without www, it will resolve to the right server and website. The second A record is the wildcard version. This redirects any subdomains to your domain to the server; this includes www, and anything else people may type before your domain name.
If you have any specific subdomains that you need to set records for, you would also do that with A records the same way. So, if in the example above, you wanted to make a subdomain called test.name.com, then you would create an A record that looks like this:
A test.name.com 127.0.0.1
Using this method, you can also point subdomains to different servers than your main site, depending on your needs.
CNAME Records: CNAME stands for Canonical Name Record. CName records only resolves to domains and subdomains. A CNAME record points one of your subdomains to a different domain name. A CNAME cannot be set up on your bare domain! You could set up a CNAME record on www.name.com but not on simply name.com. One thing that CNAME records are commonly used for is to direct a part of your site to a site you have set up elsewhere, such as an eCommerce shop or something similar.
MX Records: MX stands for Mail Exchange. MX record does resolves to text and not IP-records. These records are used to direct emails sent to your domain name to the correct server to then send it to your specific email address. Your email provider will provide you with the necessary MX records for your email. If you have email with Name.com, you can use our DNS Templates to automatically add the right records. Keep in mind that you can only have one set of MX records on your domain. All of your mail needs to be directed to the same place, and will then get sorted from there. This means that you cannot have two separate email providers on one domain. It also means that any email forwarding you set up has to be set up with your email provider, and not on the domain itself.
TXT Records: TXT just stands for Text. These records do not change anything on your domain, but they can be searched for your domain. These records are commonly used by services such as Google, which will ask you to add a string of characters to a TXT record, so that they can search for the record and verify that you are the domain’s owner/have access to the domain’s DNS records.