Not many people usually understand what DNS records usually stand for whenever they’re configuring their servers. DNS records are quite important when it comes to DNS servers.
Understanding them can greatly reduce any errors or issues that you might encounter when it comes to DNS management.
Here are some of the most commonly used record types.
A records are the simplest records that you can understand. They usually point a subdomain or domain to a particular IP address. You simply assign a value to the A record, the IP address it should point to and the TTL. You can have both your primary domains and subdomains pointing to the same IP address. However, if you want them to point to multiple IP addresses you can add another a record with the same domain or subdomain but with a different IP address.
You can also make an A record if you want a particular subdomain or domain to be the entry point of your CNAME. This is explained in detail below.
CNAME is another commonly used record. It is used to point a domain or subdomain to another host name. The working principle behind CNAME is that there is a host to points to an existing domain or subdomain which in turn points to a particular IP address. This means that any change in the IP address in the A record of the subdomain or domain will lead to a subsequent change to the CNAME record that points to it.
CNAME records are important for host machines. As the host you can be able to change the IP address of a single server or multiple servers seamlessly without there being any need for the client to change their own servers. These servers can be assigned to the subdomain or domain of choice.
Mail Exchanger records are used for routing emails. They usually specify the servers that should be used when trying to send email from a particular domain. They are different from both A records and CNAME records in that they have a priority value that should be assigned to each record. This priority value is used to indicate the MX server that is to be used first when delivering mail. For example if you assign two subdomains as your email servers one with a priority level 0 and the next with a priority value of 10, then when delivering mail, the one with the lowest priority level (which is 0 in our case) will be the first to be tried.
If unable to handle the request the next lowest priority server will take up the request.
TXT records are used to store any information based in text. There are more commonly used for storing the SPF data for confirming domain ownership. Normally, SPF records are usually supplied by the mail provider that you are using for your domain.
It’s not easy to manage your own DNS server; if you decide to embark on this journey then you will need to learn more about each record and how it can help your environment.
The records are just a tip of the iceberg when it comes to DNS management, you’ll also have to be conversant with other aspects like name servers and registrars among others. Here is some interesting information about DNS servers.