Windows Server

What are the different types of DNS Records

A DNS record is used to point a domain or subdomain to an IP address. Assigning a value to an A record is as simple as providing your DNS management panel with an IP address to where the domain or subdomain should point and a TTL. DNS record contains two important fields, “Name” and “Data”. Both fields are being used for lookup and this record format applies to all DNS records in all zones. However, despite using the same format, there are actually different types of DNS records based on their purpose. Kindly refer to the following similar guides. What are the different types of DNS Records, and how to add a custom domain name to Azure Active Directory,

In order to fully understand DNS and how it works, an understanding of the following DNS record is important. A, CNAME, ALIAS, and URL records are all possible solutions to point a hostname to your site. However, they have small differences that affect how the client reaches your site. A and CNAME records are standard DNS records. Both of them are translated internally into A records to ensure compatibility with the DNS protocol.

Kindly refer to these related guides: A-Z of Domain Name System: All you need to know about DNS, Domain Name System: How to create a DNS record, How to setup SPF and TXT Records in AWS, and How to add and verify a custom domain name to Azure Active Directory.

– Host (A and AAAA): Contains IP Addresses for IPv4 and IPv6 hosts i.e, maps a name to one or more IP addresses when the IP is known and stable.
– CNAME (Canonical Name): This record maps a name to another name. It should only be used when there are no other records on that name. This works just like a shortcut for files but for URLs). A CNAME record is not redirecting anything but only points your domain or subdomain to the IP address of the destination hostname. Oftentimes, this is referred to as an Alias: An Alias record maps a name to another name but can coexist with other records on that name.
– Mail Exchange (MX): Holds the address of mail servers for that domain.
– Service Record (SRV): Holds the address of services on the network. E.g. Active Directory DCs.
– Start of Authority (SOA): Contains information and configuration for a zone file.
– Name Server (NS): Contain the address of other DNS servers for that zone.
– Pointer (PTR): Reverse look-up record allowing a hostname for an IP Address to be lookup.
A TXT record (short for text record) is a type of resource record in the Domain Name System (DNS) used to provide the ability to associate arbitrary text with a host of other names, such as human-readable information about a server, network, data center, or other accounting information.

Host (A and AAAA)

The host record is one of the different types of DNS records used to store the address of a hostname. “A” is used for IPv4 and AAAA (Quad A) for IPv6. These can be created manually in DNS or if dynamic DNS is enabled and the client can register its hostname and thus its IP Address with the DNS server.

CName (canonical name)

A canonical name or CName record provides an alias service in DNS. A CName effectively points to another A or Quad A record. When the client requests the hostname that is contained in the CName, they are given the IP Address that is contained in the A record or Quad A record. The advantage of a CName is that it can provide a simple name to the user rather than a more complex server name.

For example, instead of having to remember FS27 for the local file server, a CName of FS could be used to point towards the server FS27. CName’s can also be used to transparently redirect network traffic. For example, if you changed your mind and wanted to redirect the user to FS28 you would only need to change the CName record to point to FS28 rather than FS27. It should be remembered that the old record may exist in the client’s cache and may take some time to expire.

Mail Exchange (MX)

The mail exchange record contains a mail server that is able to process mail for that domain name. When a mail server wants to deliver mail, it will perform a DNS lookup asking the DNS server for an MX record for that DNS Domain name. The mail server will then attempt to deliver mail to that server. The mail server does not need to have the same DNS name as the mail that is being delivered, it simply needs to understand how to process mail for that DNS domain name.

The MX record also has a priority value that can be configured. If two or more MX Exchange records exist for the same DNS Doman name, the MX record with the lowest priority will be tried first. If this fails, the MX record with the next lowest value will be tried until the mail is delivered. Often large companies will have multiple mails severs for incoming mail. In some cases, these additional mail servers may be located on different sides of the globe in case there is a long network outage.

Service Record (SRV)

Service records allow clients on the network to find resources on the network. Active Directory creates a number of service records in DNS to allow clients to find resources like Domain Controllers. This is why Active Directory cannot operate without DNS. A single service record has a number of data fields associated with it. These include service, target, port, and priority. Service records are normally created automatically by applications assuming that your DNS server allows dynamic updates.

URL Record:

The URL record is also one of the different types of DNS records that redirects the name to the target name using the HTTP 301 status code). This record, sometimes known as Permanent Redirect, should be used when you wish to permanently redirect your domain to a specific URL/domain name. See for more information.

Use the URL record if you want the name to redirect (change address) instead of resolving to a destination.

Start of Authority (SOA)

There is one start of authority record (SOA) for each zone. Even though the SOA is technically a DNS record, essentially a modification of the SOA record is performed through the properties of the DNS zone.

Looking at the data in the SOA record, you can configure options for the zone like the primary name server for that zone (DNS servers that hold the master records for the zone), the e-mail address of an administrator, serial number (Incremented each time a change is made in the DNS zone) and the refresh time for the zone (How often a secondary zone should query a master for changes).

You may also be interested in this piece: A-Z of Domain Name System: All you need to know about DNS. I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment session.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x