The Domain Name System (DNS) matches the domain names to their corresponding IP addresses. Thus, DNS records give the information for your hostname, domain, and IP address. With DNS records, you can adjust your domain configuration. There are many types of DNS records, but let’s start with the top 4 most popular of them.
A record and AAAA record
The A record is probably the most popular DNS record because it is used in almost any DNS system. It is an address record, so its purpose is to point a domain name to the corresponding IP address. Thanks to that, humans are not required to remember long and difficult numbers (IP addresses). Yet, the A record is usable when we are talking about IPv4 addresses.
In case when we want to point a domain name to an IPv6 address, we have to use the AAAA record. It is not so commonly used in comparison to the A record. However, the amount of new devices is rapidly growing, so eventually,, the IPv6 and the AAAA record will also gain popularity.
The Start of Authority or, for short, SOA record is another fundamental DNS record. It holds crucial information for the domain name, such as the administrator’s contact information, when the latest update of the domain was. It also stores data about the amount of time a secondary name server has to wait before reviewing for updates or before trying a new zone transfer after an unsuccessful one. Every DNS zone requires an SOA record in order to submit to IETF standards.
The Mail Exchanger record, or just MX record, is another DNS record that holds essential settings about the mail server responsible for receiving emails for a domain. Inside the MX record should be the domain name and pointing to the hostname of the incoming mail server. Remember, it has to point to a hostname and not to an IP address.
Additionally, you are able to set several MX records and establish different priorities. That will provide a backup if, for some reason, there is a problem.
The CNAME record is used to show the actual, canonical domain name for the domain or subdomain that you desire to connect to. A very common way for applying the DNS CNAME record is for subdomains. However, if you want to make the administration easier for your DNS, you should create a CNAME record for every subdomain and point it to the domain name. That way, you are not obligated to modify any additional DNS records for each subdomain. In case you make modifications, for example, for domain.com, you are not required to update the modifications again for blog.domain.com.
Recommended article: ALIAS record vs CNAME record
These are the four most popular DNS record types that everyone should know. It is important to know how to use especially them. Of course, there are other DNS records that serve different purposes. Yet, with these four, you are going to have a great start with managing your Domain Name System. Overall, DNS is a complex topic, and the process of learning about it is too.