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What the hell is a DNS record?

I know how it is. Sometimes trying to understand your tech support person is like listening to a new language. While this is something that as a business owner you probably won’t have to deal with – sometimes curiosity gets the better of you. Not to worry, I am going to break down what a DNS record is for you in plain layman’s English.

Every website has a specific IP address. Domain Name System (DNS) is used to point a domain towards an IP address of a server. If you have migrated from one website host to another, your website’s DNS records would have been updated. This allows you to change website hosts without having to change your domain name every time you move.

There are different types of DNS records

DNS records hold useful information about your website. For example, an A Record stores a hostname and it’s IP address, a CERT Record stores encryption certificates and an MX Record specifies an email server for the domain. There are a bunch of these types of records that fall under DNS and they can be used in many different ways. SimpleDNS provides a comprehensive list of these different types. Your hosting provider relies greatly on these records for debugging if you are having a problem with your hosting.

What is a Nameserver?

Now that you know what a DNS Record is, let’s do a brief look-over of Nameservers. A Nameserver is a server in a hosting providers’ data center with DNS software installed on it. It manages all of the domains hosted by the hosting provider. Simple enough right?

Your website’s DNS Records and Nameserver work together to get your website available on the internet. Your web host will specify which Nameserver your domain should point too. For example if you host with Xneelo, your Nameservers will look like this:

If you want to know what your Nameservers are you can do a check through the powerful MxToolbox. Simply follow the link, paste your domain name into the search bar and click enter.

Do I need to know this information?

Unless you are a hosting provider or a web developer, you won’t need to remember this information. Hosting is complex and your hosting provider should handle your DNS for you. I hope this post was able to answer the questions you had about what DNS is.

If you have any further questions about your hosting or would like a recommendation for a hosting provider, don’t hesitate to ask me. 

© Christie Eveleigh Marx 2020

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