What are DNS Records?

DNS records are like an address book for the internet. They translate human-readable domain names (e.g. www.lightningsite.io) into IP addresses (e.g. 62.100.204.187) that computers use to find each other on the network. In short, they tell your web browser where to get the website data from a web address.

Besides helping your browser find websites, DNS records also provide information about email servers (MX records), create aliases for domain names (CNAME records), and store important text data (TXT records). Each type of DNS record has a specific role in making sure internet communication runs smoothly.

Here is a full summary of DNS record types:

  • A Record: Maps a domain name to an IPv4 address.
  • AAAA Record: Maps a domain name to an IPv6 address.
  • CNAME Record: Aliases one domain name to another.
  • MX Record: Specifies the mail server for a domain.
  • TXT Record: Holds arbitrary text data, often for verification purposes.
  • NS Record: Specifies the authoritative name servers for a domain.
  • PTR Record: Maps an IP address to a domain name for reverse DNS lookups.
  • SRV Record: Specifies the location of servers for specific services.
  • SOA Record: Provides information about the DNS zone, including the primary name server and administrator details.

Commonly Edited DNS Records

Each type of DNS record has a specific role, but the most common records that users need to edit are A records and MX records.

A Records: A records, or Address records, are used to map a domain name (your website address) to an IPv4 address (the server where your website data is stored). For example, for our website, our A records map www.lightningsite.io to our server IP 62.100.204.187. These are essential for website hosting.

MX Records: MX records specify the mail servers responsible for receiving email on behalf of a domain. They ensure that emails sent to your domain are properly routed to your email server.

How to Update Your DNS settings

Changing DNS settings typically involves accessing your domain name registrar’s control panel and updating the DNS records. Here are the steps for five common domain name registrars:

1. GoDaddy

  1. Log in to your GoDaddy account.
  2. Navigate to “My Products”:
    • From the top menu, click on your username.
    • Select “My Products” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Find your domain:
    • Under “Domains”, find the domain you want to manage and click on “DNS” next to it.
  4. Manage DNS:
    • On the DNS Management page, you can edit existing records or add new ones.
    • To edit, click the pencil icon next to the record you want to change.
    • To add a new record, click on “Add” and select the record type.
  5. Save Changes:
    • After making the changes, click “Save” to update the DNS settings.

2. Namecheap

  1. Log in to your Namecheap account.
  2. Navigate to “Domain List”:
    • On the left sidebar, click on “Domain List”.
  3. Manage your domain:
    • Find your domain in the list and click on the “Manage” button next to it.
  4. DNS Settings:
    • Click on the “Advanced DNS” tab.
    • You can edit existing records by clicking on the pencil icon next to the record.
    • To add a new record, click on “Add New Record”, select the record type, and enter the details.
  5. Save Changes:
    • Once you’ve made your changes, click the green checkmark to save.

3. 123 Reg

  1. Log in to your 123 Reg account.
  2. Navigate to “Control Panel”:
    • Click on “Control Panel” from the top menu.
  3. Manage your domain:
    • Find the domain you want to manage and click on “Manage” next to it.
  4. Manage DNS:
    • Click on “Manage DNS” under the “Advanced domain settings” section.
    • To edit existing records, click the “Edit” button next to the record.
    • To add a new record, click on “Add new entry” and select the record type.
  5. Save Changes:
    • After making the changes, click “Save”.

4. Google Domains

  1. Log in to your Google Domains account.
  2. Navigate to “My domains”:
    • Click on “My domains” from the left sidebar.
  3. Manage your domain:
    • Find the domain you want to manage and click on it.
  4. DNS Settings:
    • Click on the “DNS” tab.
    • You can edit existing records by clicking on the pencil icon next to the record.
    • To add a new record, click on “Add record” and select the record type.
  5. Save Changes:
    • Once you’ve made your changes, click “Save”.

5. BlueHost

  1. Log in to your BlueHost account.
  2. Navigate to “Domains”:
    • Click on “Domains” from the top menu.
  3. Manage your domain:
    • Find the domain you want to manage and click on the “Manage” button next to it.
  4. DNS Settings:
    • Click on the “DNS” tab.
    • You can edit existing records by clicking the pencil icon next to the record.
    • To add a new record, click on “Add Record” and select the record type.
  5. Save Changes:
    • After making the changes, click “Save”.

For other domain name registrars, if you search their help section for the keyword “DNS”, you will usually find guidelines on how to change your DNS settings.

Author Photo

By Eliot Webb