Overview of DNS records

Overview of DNS records

This article lists various types of DNS records and describes their respective functions.


DNS stands for Domain Name System, and it serves as a type of "phone book" for the Internet. DNS converts web addresses, or URLs, into a physical IP address that represents the computer hosting the site. Certain tools and services require users to modify their DNS settings, and these same tools and services often require users to change a certain type of DNS record, all of which are listed below.

Types of records


Standing for “address record,” an A record points a hostname to an IPv4 address. It is the main record responsible for directing a browser’s hostname query to its IP address. The A record should generally not be changed manually because a properly configured InterWorx server will generate a correct one for all new domains.


Similar in function to an A record, but pointing the hostname to an IPv6 address, rather than an IPv4 address. This IPv6 address system is the most recent version and will soon the the preferred IP format for all future domains.


A CNAME record refers to “canonical name” record because they usually map an alias to its canonical name. In short, they allow a domain to respond to multiple hostnames.


An MX record, or mail exchanger record, specifies the domain’s mail server so that all incoming emails are diverted to the correct mail server. For example, an email sent to username@example.com would instead go to the correct mail server for example.com. It is also possible to assign priorities to multiple mail servers, but most modern domains require only one MX record.


NS refers to “name server,” and this record identifies the authoritative name server for the domain. These are most often used for partitioning domains into sub-domains. Domain registrars ask for a domain’s authoritative name servers upon registration; therefore, this record should be assigned when replying to the registrar’s request.


A PTR record, or pointer record, is sometimes referred to as a “reverse DNS record” because it is the opposite of an A record; it maps an IP address back to a hostname. An A record should exist for every PTR record, and these are often used to check if a server name actually corresponds to the IP address initiating the connection.


TXT or text records hold various information about a domain. Common uses include SPFs, DK, and DKIM. TXT records can hold any form of human-readable information


The SOA record, or state of authority record, contains information required for all DNS zones such as contact email, refresh time, expire time, source host, and minimum TTL.

Changing DNS settings

Contact the 24-hour Nexcess Support Team to change your DNS settings.


For 24-hour assistance any day of the year, contact our Support Team by email or through the Client Portal.

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