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A Domain Name System zone file (DNS zone file) is a simple text file which is automatically bundled with DNS records. The file contains all the necessary information of all resources records for the particular domain. Alternatively, it can also contain the complete Internet Protocol to domain mapping of the domain.
DNS zone files help in Domain Name System management. The files provide valuable information such as the email address of the admin, DNS records, the name servers involved and other additional information.
A DNS zone file can be a DNS master file or a file which can be used to provide the DNS cache contents. DNS zone files are created in such a way that they are portable for any domain name system server. The DNS files can easily be edited or modified with the help of text editors such as EMACS or VIM.
In a typical Domain Name System file, every line can only hold one record. The file should start with time to live (TTL), the time duration to keep the Domain Name System records in the DNS server’s cache. Another mandatory record in the DNS zone file is the start of authority (SOA) record. It provides the primary authoritative name server for the specific Domain Name System zone.
After these records, additional records can be added. After adding a record for a particular hostname, the hostname must end with a period. Comments can also be added to DNS zone file with the help of a semicolon. In the case of multiple-line comments, the representation is done with the help of brackets, with the comments beginning with a semicolon. When the multiple-line comments end, they are closed with the help of a bracket symbol placed on the single line.