DNS Record

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What Does DNS Record Mean?

A DNS record is a database record used to map a URL to an IP address. DNS records are stored in DNS servers and work to help users connect their websites to the outside world. When the URL is entered and searched in the browser, that URL is forwarded to the DNS servers and then directed to the specific Web server. This Web server then serves the queried website outlined in the URL or directs the user to an email server that manages the incoming mail.

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The most common record types are A (address), CNAME (canonical name), MX (mail exchange), NS (name server), PTR (pointer), SOA (start of authority) and TXT (text record).

Techopedia Explains DNS Record

Different types of DNS records are as follows:

  • Name Server (NS) Record: Describes a name server for the domain that permits DNS lookups within several zones. Every primary as well as secondary name server must be reported via this record.
  • Mail Exchange (MX) Record: Permits mail to be sent to the right mail servers located in the domain. Other than IP addresses, MX records include fully-qualified domain names.
  • Address (A) Record: Used to map a host name to an IP address. Generally, A records are IP addresses. If a computer consists of multiple IP addresses, adapter cards, or both, it must possess multiple address records.
  • Canonical Name (CNAME) Record: Can be used to set an alias for the host name
  • Text (TXT) Record: Permits the insertion of arbitrary text into a DNS record. These records add SPF records into a domain.
  • Time-to-Live (TTL) Record: Sets the period of data, which is ideal when a recursive DNS server queries the domain name information
  • Start of Authority (SOA) Record: Declares the most authoritative host for the zone. Every zone file should include an SOA record, which is generated automatically when the user adds a zone.
  • Pointer (PTR) Record: Creates a pointer, which maps an IP address to the host name in order to do reverse lookups.
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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.