What are the types of DNS records?

Posted by Daniel on April 21, 2006

There are 5 types of DNS records:


A records

Address (A) records direct a hostname to a numerical IP address. For example, if you want mycomputer.yourdomain.com to point to your home computer (which is, for example,, you would enter a record that looks like:

mycomputer.yourdomain.com. A

Important: You must put a period after the hostname. Do not put periods after IP addresses.

CNAME records

CNAME allows a machine to be known by one or more hostnames. There must always be an A record first, and this is known as the canonical or official name. For example:

yourdomain.com. A

Using CNAME, you can point other hostnames to the canonical (A record) address. For example:

ftp.yourdoman.com. CNAME yourdomain.com.
mail.yourdomain.com. CNAME yourdomain.com.
ssh.yourdomin.com. CNAME yourdomain.com.

CNAME records make it possible to access your domain through ftp.yourdomain.com, mail.yourdomain.com, etc. Without a proper CNAME record, you will not be able to connect to your server using such addresses.

Entering a CNAME record

If you wanted home.yourdomain.com to point to yourdomain.com, we could enter the record in two ways:

home CNAME yourdomain.com

The first method allows you to simply enter the subdomain. Do not put a period after the subdomain name.

- OR -

home.yourdomain.com. CNAME yourdomain.com

The second method requires you to enter the entire hostname, followed by a period.


NS records specify the authoritative nameservers for the domain.

Important: Changing NS records may cause your site to stop working. There is generally no need to change NS records.

Entering an NS record

The first step is to delete the old NS records from the table above.

Then, enter two new nameservers records. Be sure that the nameserver hostname is followed by a period, as in this example:

yourdomain.com NS ns1.slamdot.com.

Be sure to put a period after the nameserver hostname in an NS record (ns1.slamdot.com. and not ns1.slamdot.com ).

MX records

Free e-mail services such as everyone.net require that MX changes be made in order for their software to work. This change allows mail destined for your domain to be directed to their server. Please note that changing MX records will prevent your current POP3 accounts, forwarders, autoresponders, and mailing lists from functioning.

First, delete the old MX record by clicking the Delete icon under "Actions." There should now be no MX records listed.

Next, click Create DNS Record and enter a name for your MX record. Select MX for the type, and type in the hostname in the value field, followed by a period, given to you by the e-mail provider. Then select the priority level (usually 10) from the dropdown box. The priority level will also be given to you by the e-mail provider. Click Create Record.

Note: Be sure to put a period at the end of the hostname.

To restore the original MX settings, enter yourdomain.com. and priority 0 after deleting the other MX record.

PTR records

Pointer records (PTR) are used for reverse lookups. For example, to make resolve to www.yourdomain.com, the record would look like: PTR www.yourdomain.com.

Note: The IP address is reversed in the first field. Please use a period after your hostname (second field).

The “in-addr-arpa” method is the most frequently used.

Important: PTR records are effective only if your site has its own IP address.

Important: PTR records are only effective if named.conf is manually edited and the proper zone information is added. This can only be done by a root user (the server Admin).