Domains Help

What is DNS?

DNS, which stands for domain name system, controls your domain name's website and email settings. When visitors go to your domain name, its DNS settings control which company's server it reaches out to.

For example, if you use GoDaddy's DNS settings, visitors will reach GoDaddy's servers when using your domain name. If you change those settings to another company, visitors will reach that company when they use your domain name.

What I'm seeing is more complicated than that...

DNS can be confusing. It's made up of many different elements which control different aspects of your domain name. Here's a quick explanation of each one:

DNS ElementDescription
NameserverNameservers "point" your domain name to the company that controls its DNS settings. Usually, this will be the company where you registered the domain name.

However, if your website is hosted by another company, sometimes you'll need to use their nameservers.
Zone FileZone Files are simply the files that store all of your domain's DNS settings. Your domain name's Zone File is stored on the company's nameserver.
A RecordA Records point your domain name to an individual server using an IP address. An example IP address is 123.4.67.5.

You can also use A Records to point subdomains (for example subdomain.coolexample.com) to a server's IP address.

Every domain name has a primary A Record called "@," which controls what your domain name does when some visits it directly.
CNAMECNAMEs point your subdomains to another server using a server name. Unlike A Records, CNAMEs cannot use IP addresses.

Most domain names have many CNAMEs.
MX RecordsMX Records point your domain name's email to its email provider.

If your domain name uses our nameservers, you can view or change your domain name's DNS through us.

NEXT STEP: Manage DNS for Your Domain Names


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