What is a DNS record?

DNS records are instructions that live in authoritative DNS Servers and provide information about a domain including what IP address is associated with that domain and how to handle requests for that domain. These records consist of a series of text files written in what is known as DNS syntax. DNS syntax is just a string of characters used as commands that tell the DNS server what to do. All DNS records also have a ‘TTL’, which stands for time-to-live, and indicates how often a DNS server will refresh that record.

All domains are required to have at least a few essential DNS records for a user to be able to access their website using a domain name, and there are several optional records that serve additional purposes.


Most common types of DNS records.

  • A record – The record that holds the IP address of a domain.
  • AAAA record – The record that contains the IPv6 address for a domain (as opposed to A records, which list the IPv4 address).
  • CNAME record – Forwards one domain or subdomain to another domain, does NOT provide an IP address.
  • MX record – Directs mail to an email server.
  • TXT record – Lets an admin store text notes in the record. These records are often used for email security.
  • NS record – Stores the name server for a DNS entry.
  • SOA record – Stores admin information about a domain.
  • SRV record – Specifies a port for specific services.
  • PTR record – Provides a domain name in reverse lookups.