DNS Records Explained: DNS Record Types and How They Work

DNS records

DNS records are critical in converting human-readable domain names into the numeric language of IP addresses across the broad internet landscape. These digital signposts allow computers to communicate seamlessly, guaranteeing that you get to the right place when you type a website’s name into your browser. 

In this article, we’ll look at the different sorts of DNS records and how to inspect them, giving you a better grasp of the internet’s underlying infrastructure. Let’s go on an adventure into the world of DNS records.

Table Of Contents

  1. Understanding DNS Records
    1. What Are DNS Records?
    2. A Brief History of DNS
  2. Types of DNS Records
    1. Common DNS Record Types
    2. DNS Record Lookup
  3. How DNS Records Work?
    1. The DNS Resolution Process
    2. TTL (Time To Live) In DNS Records
  4. Conclusion: Trust RedSwitches for Bare Metal Hosting
  5. FAQs

Understanding DNS Records

Let’s understand the basic concept of DNS records.

What Are DNS Records?

DNS records (also known as zone files) are instructions stored in authoritative DNS servers that offer information about a domain, such as what IP address is connected with that domain and how to process requests for that domain. These entries comprise a sequence of text files written in DNS syntax. 

DNS syntax is a string of characters that serve as directives to the DNS server. Every DNS record has a ‘TTL,’ which stands for time-to-live and denotes how frequently a DNS server will refresh that record.

A Brief History of DNS

The Domain Name System (DNS) was founded in 1983 and became one of the first Internet Standards in 1986 (after the formation of the Internet Engineering Task Force IETF). As the first Unix name server implementation, BIND (Berkeley Internet Name Domain) was created in 1984 by UC Berkeley students. 

Various developers and organizations, notably the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC), have contributed to the maintenance and development of BIND over the years. RFC 1034 and RFC 1035 restored the original DNS specifications from 1983 to November 1987. They outline the entire protocol’s capabilities and the data kinds it can transport.

Types of DNS Records

After discussing DNS records followed by a brief history of DNS, let’s now learn about the types of DNS records.

Common DNS Record Types

A Records (Address Records)

Types of Dns Records

The most significant DNS record type is the A record. A record’s “A” stands for “address.” An A record displays the IP address associated with a given hostname or domain. 

The current IP address is, as seen in the above figure. IPV4 addresses are the only ones supported by the A record. 

AAAA Records (IPV6 Address Records)

Like A records, AAAA records point to a domain’s IP address.

On the other hand, this DNS record type is distinct in that it links to IPV6 addresses.

IPV6 is superior to IPV4 because it provides more IP addresses. As a result, IPV6 resolves the issue of a lack of unique IP addresses.

CNAME Records (Canonical Name Records)

CName Type of DNS record

A CNAME record, or “canonical name” in full, is a DNS record that links a domain name (an alias) to another domain. The alias in a CNAME record does not point to an IP address. The canonical name is the domain name to which the alias points.

For example, the subdomain mail.vasavtest.com can use CNAME to link to mail.vasavtest.com.

MX Records (Mail Exchange Records)

MX type of DNS record

A mail exchange (MX) record is a type of DNS record specifying where domain emails should be sent. In other words, an MX record allows emails to be routed to a mail server.

A single domain name can have several MX records. This implies that you can have backup email servers.

In the above table, The primary mail server will be the MX record with priority 10. In contrast, the secondary server will only be utilized when the primary server is unavailable (or fails to transmit emails). The higher the actual priority, the lower the priority value.

DNS Record Lookup

A DNS record lookup is critical in confirming and diagnosing domain-related issues on the internet. In this section, we’ll go through DNS record lookup tools and procedures to assist you in successfully checking and obtaining DNS records.

Command-Line Tools

nslookup: A command-line utility that is accessible on most of the operating systems, including Windows and Linux. By entering the domain name, you can utilize it to query DNS records.

Domain Information Groper (dig): A robust command-line tool for doing extensive DNS record lookups on Unix-based systems. It offers detailed information on DNS records, such as TTL (Time to Live) values.

DNS Lookup Services Online

DNS Lookup: Many websites provide online DNS lookup services, allowing you to enter a domain name and receive a complete summary of its DNS records. Mxtoolbox.com and dnsstuff.com are two examples.

Google Public DNS: Google offers a basic internet DNS lookup tool. In a Google search, type “nslookup” followed by the domain name to get DNS information.

Types of DNS Queries

DNS records are classified into several categories, including A (IPv4 address), AAAA (IPv6 address), MX (Mail Exchange), CNAME (Canonical Name), TXT (Text), and others. Understanding the type of record you need to query is critical for accurate results.

How DNS Records Work

In this section, we will explore the working procedure of DNS records.

The DNS Resolution Process

DNS resolution entails turning a hostname (for instance, www.instance.com) into a computer-friendly IP address ( Each device on the Internet is designated with an IP address, which is required to locate the relevant Internet device, much as a street address is used to locate a particular residence.

Whenever a user requests a webpage, a translation must happen between what the user types into their web browser (instance.com) and the machine-friendly address required to access the instance.com webpage.

To understand the process of DNS resolution, it is necessary to first learn about the many hardware components a DNS query must transit through.

TTL (Time To Live) In DNS Records

TTL is a DNS record field that governs how long each record is sustainable and how long it takes for updated records to reach the end users.

Longer TTLs speed up DNS lookups by increasing the likelihood of cached results, but they also mean that changes to your records take longer to take effect.

Longer TTLs minimize the burden on DNS servers and accelerate web page loading because cached entries are valid for longer. 

TTL values must be balanced; too low TTLs might strain DNS infrastructure, while too high TTLs can cause delays in updating records during changes such as IP address updates or domain migrations. TTL configuration guarantees effective DNS caching and timely updates throughout the internet. 

Conclusion: Trust RedSwitches for Bare Metal Hosting

DNS records are the internet’s backbone, allowing for seamless browsing and communication between web addresses and IP addresses. We’ve examined how many DNS records work, bridging the gap between human-friendly domain names and computer-readable IP addresses. 

We provide dependable and strong Bare Metal Hosting solutions to ensure your online presence remains secure and responsive. You’ll be well-equipped to navigate the digital terrain confidently and efficiently if you thoroughly understand DNS records and the correct hosting partner.


Q. What are DNS records?

DNS records are essentially a database of information that specifies how domain names should be translated into IP addresses. They contain various information about a domain or subdomain, such as the IP address it points to or the mail server it uses.

Q. What is a DNS lookup?

A DNS lookup is querying a DNS server to find the IP address associated with a domain name. It translates a human-readable domain name into a numerical IP address that computers can understand.

Q. How do I modify my domain’s DNS records?

To make DNS record changes for your domain, go to your domain registrar’s control panel or DNS management interface and make the appropriate changes.

Q. Are there any tools for examining DNS records?

Yes, you may query and validate DNS records for a domain using internet tools and commands such as nslookup and dig.

Q. What role do DNS records play in email delivery?

DNS records, specifically MX (Mail Exchanger) entries, are critical in directing email traffic to the correct mail servers, ensuring consistent email delivery.

Q. What is the purpose of a TXT record?

A TXT record is a type of DNS record that allows you to add additional information to a domain’s DNS entry. It is commonly used for verifying domain ownership, implementing email authentication (such as SPF or DKIM), and providing other types of text-based data.

Q. How does an MX record work?

An MX (Mail Exchanger) record is used to specify the mail server responsible for accepting email messages for a given domain. It points to the domain’s mail server(s) and helps properly route email.

Q. What is an AAAA record?

An AAAA record is a type of DNS record that points a domain or subdomain to an IPv6 address. It enables the connection between the domain and its corresponding IPv6 address.

Q. What is an SRV record?

An SRV (Service) record is a type of DNS record that specifies the location of services for a domain. It is used for service discovery and helps identify the hostname and port number associated with a specific service.

Q. What is reverse DNS lookup?

Reverse DNS lookup finds the domain name associated with a given IP address. It is useful in verifying an IP address’s ownership and can help identify potential spam sources or malicious activities.

Q. How can I check all DNS records for a domain?

You can check all DNS records for a domain by using various online tools or command-line utilities. These tools perform a DNS lookup and provide a comprehensive list of all the DNS records associated with the domain.

Q. What is DNS configuration?

DNS configuration refers to setting up and managing DNS records for a domain or subdomain. It involves specifying the appropriate DNS record types and values to ensure the proper functioning of the domain’s DNS system.

Q. What are some commonly used DNS record types?

Some commonly used DNS record types include A (Address), CNAME (Canonical Name), NS (Name Server), MX (Mail Exchanger), TXT (Text), AAAA (IPv6 Address), and SRV (Service) records. Each record type serves a specific purpose in the DNS system.