Reading Time: 2 minutes

One of the many challenges that we may face while attempting to make modifications to a zone file, is knowing what the different records are used for.  This article highlight several of the commonly used records in an attempt to help demystify them.

First lets start with a look at a typical zone file:

;Panel 11.24.4-CURRENT_33868
; Zone file for
$TTL 14400
@      86400    IN      SOA (
2009022402      ; serial, todays date+todays
86400           ; refresh, seconds
7200            ; retry, seconds
3600000         ; expire, seconds
86400 )         ; minimum, seconds 86400 IN NS 86400 IN NS  IN A
localhost  IN A  IN MX 0
mail  IN CNAME
ftp  IN A
cpanel  IN A
webmail  IN A  IN    TXT    "v=spf1 ~all"


Time to Live — The time to live value sets how long this information will be good for when a recursive DNS server queries for information on your domain name.  The value is typically set in seconds.


State of Authority — The state of authority record specifies the DNS server providing authoritative information about an Internet domain, the email of the domain administrator, the domain serial number, and several timers relating to refreshing the zone.


Nameserver — The servers listed in the NS record are the authoritative nameservers for the domain.


Mail Exchange record  — The MX record states the location that mail directed at  the domain will be sent.  MX records should always be fully qualified domain names, never just an IP address.


Address record — The address record assigns an IP address to a domain or subdomain name.  An A record will always be an IP address.


Canonical name — The CNAME record makes one domain name an alias of another. The aliased domain gets all the subdomains and DNS records of the original. To put this in simple terms, a CNAME redirects requests to another record.  A CNAME record will always be a fully qualified domain name.


Text Record — A TXT record allows an administrator to insert arbitrary text into a DNS record.  The most common implementation of TXT records are for adding SPF records to a domain.


Liquid Web’s Heroic Support is always available to assist customers with this or any other issue. If you need our assistance please contact us:
Toll Free 1.800.580.4985
International 517.322.0434

About the Author: J. Mays

Have Some Questions?

Our Sales and Support teams are available 24 hours by phone or e-mail to assist.


Latest Articles

Liquid Web’s Incident Management Process

Read Article

How Does Containerization Work?

Read Article

Microsoft Exchange Server Security Update

Read Article

How to Monitor Your Server in WHM

Read Article

How to Monitor Your Server in WHM

Read Article