Knowledge Base

Types of DNS Records

This article explains the different types of DNS records.

  • There are four commonly used DNS record types.

A Records

The majority of DNS records are “A” records. A records allow for you to point different sections of your domain to different IP addresses or servers. For example, this would be useful for having “www.example.com.au” point to your web server’s IP address and “mail.example.com.au” point to your mail server’s IP address. Each record includes a “Host Name” value and a corresponding IP Address.

CNAME Records

CNAME records point to domain names, as opposed to specific IP addresses. This is very useful in that you can point a CNAME record to a domain name, change the record value for that domain name, and the CNAME record will reflect the updated record value.

The most common use of this is to have a www CNAME record that points to the domain root. eg. www.example.com.au -> CNAME -> example.com.au

CNAME records cannot be created on the root of your domain. For example you cannot create a CNAME record like this: example.com.au -> CNAME -> www.example.com.au.

MX Record

An important part of the email delivery system is “MX” records. MX records essentially tell the world what server to send mail to for a particular domain name.

Priority field: The priority preference for that MX record. MX records are processed in order starting with the one with the lowest priority value and working towards high priority records. In situations where you have multiple email servers, or backup email servers, set a lower priority value for your primary mail server and a higher priority value for your backup server.

Record field: You can specify a 3rd level mail domain here, but typically you will want to leave it bank to specify the record is for the root domain name.

Address field: The address of the target mail server. It is recommended to use a domain name value here as opposed to an IP address. Typically you would first create an “A” record of “mail” pointing to the IP address of your mail server, and specify “mail.example.com.au” here as the address entry for the MX record.

TXT Record

Typically a TXT record is used to get information about a domain. They can be used to specify what email servers are allowed to send mail for your domain with what is known as a “Sender Policy Framework (SPF)” record – which is very useful in combating spammers from falsely marking spam emails as from your domain name. They can also be used to provide a public “DomainKey” to be used to further prove the identity of emails being sent from your mail server to prove to spam filters that your domain’s email is legitimate email.

TXT records are also commonly used to verify the ownership of the domain to third part providers, such as your Google and Bing Webmaster’s service.

Modifying your DNS Records

You can modify your DNS records with your DNS hosting provider.

  • In cPanel you can modify all your DNS records under the Advanced DNS Editor, and MX records can be modified under the MX Entry tool (found in the Mail category).
  • How to change your DNS Settings in Plesk

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