We have some great developers here at Website Design Ltd, however, if you’re not up to speed with “developer lingo” sometimes the things they say can go straight over your head (well they do for me at least!). One of the most common questions we get asked is around DNS. What is it? How does it work? Is my IP Address important?
Don’t worry – this blog will cover all the basics of DNS, what it is, and where it’s kept.
What is DNS?
DNS (Domain Name System) is the system that is used to map domain names. This includes easy to remember things like website.com, as well as less easy to remember things such as IP addresses (192.168.0.1 for example).
In short, DNS is like the DNA of your website, it’s the information that can identify you and your device across the world wide web.
Where is my DNS kept?
All DNS records live in a “DNS zone”, which is something every domain has. A DNS zone file is a simple text file which hosts all of the DNS records for your domain, which allows other computers across the internet to know where your domain should go.
The DNS zone is hosted on a special type of server, called a name server. This name server is held in a special, other record (stored higher up) known as Nameserver (NS) records.
Key types of DNS records
A (Address) – This maps a domain to an IP address
MX (Mail Exchange) – This tells the world which email server is responsible for managing the email delivery for the given domain.
CNAME (Canonical Name) – This is an “also known as” record format. For example, www.website.com may be a CNAME of website.com, so that www.website.com is mapped to the same A record as website.com
TXT (Text) – These are most often used to host extra information about a domain, such as their authorised email senders (in the form of an SPF (Sender Policy Framework) record), or used to verify ownership of a domain with a third party, like Google or Microsoft.
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