Popular DNS record types – Definitions & Purposes

Popular DNS record types – Definitions & Purposes

It is very important to know and understand these DNS record types. They are very common, and they find a place in almost every DNS configuration. Let’s see which are these popular DNS record types and what their purpose is.

A record

The “A” in A record stands for “address.” It is probably one of the most well-known DNS record types. Its primary purpose is to link one specific domain name with its corresponding IP address. It is crucial to mention that this record functions only with IPv4 addresses, which look like When you type a particular domain name in your address bar, your browser is going to need exactly this A record.

AAAA record

The AAAA record is similar to the A record. Once again, it serves to point the domain name to its IP address. Yet, the huge difference is that it operates with IPv6 addresses, such as 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0170:7334. 

SOA record

The Start of Authority record, or for short SOA record, is fundamental for every Master DNS zone. It serves to show the main source of the authority DNS zone. The SOA record is a must-have. Without it, your DNS network won’t be able to function properly at all. It indicates which is the Primary (Master) DNS server. Inside it is placed contact data about the DNS administrator. The SOA record holds essential parameters related to the DNS zone, for instance, the serial number of the domain and refresh rate. We should also mention that each DNS zone should include just one SOA record.

NS record

The “NS” in the NS record stands for the nameserver, and that is another important DNS record type. It functions for identifying and pointing the specific nameserver for the particular DNS zone. In addition, the NS record should be present. If it is not, your DNS zone won’t be able to operate at all. Just like the A record, you should establish the host in the NS record, yet it has to point to the nameserver.

MX record

The MX (Mail Exchanger) record allows you to indicate the email server accountable for receiving email messages for your domain. Inside it is the domain name simply pointing to the hostname of the incoming mail server. You should not make a mistake and point it to an IP address. Instead, the right way is to point it to a hostname. You have the opportunity to add more than one MX record. That way, if there are any problems, you have a backup. The MX record is crucial for every online business and for you to properly receive email messages.

PTR record

The purpose of a PTR record is to link a particular IP address (IPv4 or IPv6) with the domain name. A common reason to use it is for validation that the IP address actually belongs to a specific domain name. Why is that necessary? For instance, for better email deliverability and verification of different services, and many more.

CNAME record

The CNAME record is used to indicate the actual canonical name of a certain domain. In most cases, it is used for subdomains. When you set it, all of your subdomains are going to point to the domain name. We should mention that the CNAME record is not able to exist in one DNS zone with other DNS records. So, be careful when you administrate your DNS zone.

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