Anatomy of a Domain Name

Anatomy of a Domain Name

Domain Names are your little corner of  the internet and allow users to find your website easily while giving the internet servers of this world a way of translating human speak into computer speak.

For example www.google.com today translates into an Internet Protocol (IP) address of 74.125.24.99 This isn’t quite as memorable to us so we’ll stick with the plain English (or at least it’s in the dictionary these days) and DNS servers will handle the translation.

DNS though has many different elements and depending on what you’re trying to accomplish there’s an area for each.

Record Element Description
Nameserver Who stores the remainder of your records and controls your domain. Examples include GoDaddy, 123-reg, Blacknight
‘A’ Translation of specific string to a IP Address. Examples would be www.google.com to 74.125.24.99 or mail.google.com to 74.125.24.18
‘CNAME’ An alias to point at another name. Example autodiscover.itforsme.info will point at a Microsoft Office 365 Outlook ‘A’ record so my phone knows what to do when I setup email.
‘MX’ Mail Server address. Where your emails are to be sent. Examples could be your public IP or a mail filtering service.
‘TXT’ Miscellaneous data not used for IP resolution but can be used to prove authentication or ownership of a domain. To use the likes of Google Analytics or sign up a domain to Office 365 you are required to enter a unique ID to show you have access to the DNS controls.
‘AAAA’ For IPv6 – not one to go too in depth into however as we run out of IPv4 addresses these are going to become relevant

Never change these records unless you know what you’re doing, pointed the wrong direction (or no direction) your website, email, everything will come to a halt.

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