Most popular DNS records – a brief introduction

Getting familiar with the Domain Name System (DNS) is not easy. But it is a must if you plan to have an online business. This brief introduction to the most popular DNS records can be one of your first steps into the DNS realm. Take it easy! Here we go.

What are DNS records?

Shortly, DNS records are text files with different information and instructions for DNS servers (name servers). Based on the DNS record, the information it will hold. It can be the IP address of a domain, аn instruction to manage DNS requests for that domain in a certain way, etc.

Most popular DNS records

  1. Address or A /AAAA records

The two are address records. The difference between them is that A records work with IPv4 (32-bit address) and AAAA records with IPv6 (128-bit address). IPv6 is the latest version, and it is superior compared to IPv4, but still, both work. They have the same objective, to link a domain name with its corresponding IP address. They have a key role in the DNS resolution process that makes it possible for users to reach your website.

  1. Canonical name or CNAME record

The CNAME record points out that a hostname is the alias of another. It helps a lot to manage subdomains because by adding it, you don’t need individual records for every subdomain. A DNS request to a subdomain using a CNAME record will redirect the request to the canonical domain to obtain the proper answer.

  1. Nameserver or NS record

The NS record points out the DNS authoritative server for a specific domain. The authoritative server is the one that holds the original DNS records of the domain. You will need it, for instance, to inform other servers where they can request the associated IP address of your domain. It is not rare that a domain uses many NS records. This can be a sign that it has primary and secondary nameservers. NS record is, without a doubt, one of the most popular DNS records.

Configuring is a delicate task. A single typo in the configuration of the NS record will cause users can’t load your domain.

  1. Pointer or PTR record

The PTR record points an IP address to a domain name. It is an essential record for communication between machines. Humans work much better remembering domain names, but machines’ communication language is numbers. Again, a small mistake configuring PTR records can cause e-mails you send to go directly to spam.

  1. Mail Exchange or MX record

The MX record holds the information to know the mail server that must receive the e-mails sent to a specific domain name, yours, for instance. An error in its configuration and you will not receive the e-mails people (potential clients) send to your domain.

Conclusion

These are the most popular DNS records but not the only ones. As you see, they are essential for different processes to happen. Small files with a big job!

DNS services explained in detail

DNS services are responsible for name resolution, routing emails, communication between IoT devices, CDN routing, and much more.

But what are they exactly? Let’s go into detail and explain the DNS services.

DNS (Domain Name System)

The DNS (Domain Name System) is a globally-distributed system for resolving domain names to IP addresses. It basically matches the hosts to their addresses and routes all the DNS queries.

Without it, it would be extremely hard to use the Internet. You would need to know all the IP addresses of the hosts you need to connect to.

DNS services explained

The DNS services are software that runs on DNS servers and allows you to manage your domain. You can purchase a plan for DNS services or use a Free DNS plan and manage your domain through it. Usually, the companies that offer such services will provide you with an easy-to-use interface for interacting with their service.

You can also rent servers and install DNS services on them, but it is more complicated.

DNS services allow you to fully manage your domain by adding and removing DNS records, adding and removing servers and zones, and more. Each DNS record type has its purpose: to point to a target, to announce a service, to route the traffic, etc.

You can have access to Primary and Secondary DNS servers. The Primary servers host the original DNS data, which you can modify on them. The Secondary just copy the data and serve to provide better and faster name resolution.

Not all DNS services are the same. Some DNS providers have a broad network of servers all around the world. That allows better DNS resolution, regardless of where the DNS queries are coming from.

Others focus on a particular region. For example, a DNS provider can concentrate on Asia, having more than 50% of their DNS servers there while almost neglecting the rest of the world. It could still be a good service if you are almost exclusively on the Asian market.

The DNS services strongly improve your uptime. Using a paid service, you will get access to multiple DNS servers. Even if one or two are down due to maintenance or cyber attack, you will still have more to answer the incoming queries.

When you check different providers, you will see many additional services. Let’s explain a few of them:

DDoS protection – Intelligent firewall that will protect you from DDoS attacks.

DNSSEC – additional features to encrypt the DNS queries and make them safer for your clients.

DDNS – Dynamic DNS for pointing your Dynamic IP address to a fixed name.

Load balancer – a method for managing the queries that improve network performance.

GeoDNS – load balancing based on the IP addresses of the visitors.

Reverse DNS – connects the IP address to a domain name and serves for verification.

Conclusion

DNS services help you host your DNS records and can provide better DNS resolution. You can also enjoy the benefit of multiple servers, additional and very useful features, and improved uptime.