Top 6 DNS record types – list

There are plenty of types of DNS records. More than 50 types of DNS records (for example CNAME, ALIAS, AAAA, etc.) are still in use, and at least the same number is already absolute. You don’t need all of them all the time. Let’s talk about the essentials. The top 6 DNS record types that you can’t manage your DNS without. 

A Record

We can’t skip the A DNS record from any DNS list. It is probably the best-known record type. The purpose of the A record is to direct, to point a hostname to its IP address. When we talk about A record, the address is IPv4 (32-bit). There is a newer AAAA record type that uses IPv6 addresses (128-bit). 

So, the A record, of your site will contain the host (YOURSITE.COM), and the host’s location (IPv4 address), type (A), and TTL (time to live). It is the most used DNS record.   

Domain Name System explained

NS Record

Another very essential DNS record, the NS record. NS means nameserver. It is like an ID card for the nameserver. It says which NS server is responsible for the DNS zone. With it, the zone simply won’t function.

Just like in the A record, you will need to put the host in the NS record. The difference here is that you will point it to the nameserver.

MX Record

The mail exchanger record, or MX record for short, shows which mail server is responsible for accepting emails for a particular domain. 

Inside the record, you will find the name of the domain, the mail accepting server, type (MX), TTL, and priority of the mails. 

You need to have a MX record, or you could have problems with spam. Also, you need to direct it properly, or you won’t receive any messages in your inbox.  

PTR Record

Again, as a part of your mail server, you will need to have a PTR record. It is a pointer DNS record that does the opposite to the A record job – links an IP address to a hostname. 

Why do you need it? Its main purpose is to create trust. If somebody checks an email that looks like it came from your domain, they want to see the PTR record that verifies it. Without it, your emails will probably disappear into somebody’s spam folder. 

To create a PTR record, first you need a Reverse DNS zone, and the second requirement is that you will need an A record, for each of the PTR records. 

SOA Record

SOA record is a must-have. It will clearly mark the Start of Authority for an authority DNS zone. It will also show the parameters of the zone like the primary nameserver and contacts of the admin. You can’t have a working zone without this vital DNS record. 

TXT record 

We can’t skip the TXT (text) DNS record, either. It is very versatile. It provides information, in a text format, to sources outside of the domain. A type of TXT record is the SPF record. Mail servers are using it to decide if the source of a mail is trustworthy and comes from the right domain. 

The TXT records could be used for different verification and authentication methods. Increasing the level of trust in your domain and emails is vital for your internet reputation. 

So now you know. Those are the essential top 6 DNS record types that you must know. CNAME, ALIAS, AAAA, SRV are also worth checking, but maybe for another time. 

There are many, but don’t despair. You will be able to learn then and successfully use them in your work.  

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