For most beginners, the concept behind DNS could seem complex—especially for those without a technical background. However, here are some essential DNS record types that will help you manage your DNS easily.

A record

Probably the A (address) record is the most popular of all DNS record types. The reason for that is simply because its purpose is very specific and also very fundamental. The A record links the hostname to the corresponding IP address (IPv4). That way, people remember just domain names and don’t bother with IP addresses.

DNS A record fully explained

NS Record

The NS record is also a very fundamental DNS record, where NS stands for nameserver. Imagine it like an ID card for the nameserver. It shows the responsible NS server for the DNS zone. If such a record is not present, the zone simply won’t function.

Similar to the A record, you have to set the host in the NS record. However, the difference is that you will point it to the nameserver.

SOA Record

SOA record is another must-have DNS record. With it, you can identify the Start of Authority for an authority DNS zone. It also holds the essential parameters of the zone, such as the primary nameserver and contact information about the admin. You are not able to have a properly operating zone without this important DNS record. 

CNAME record

The CNAME record basically shows the actual domain name (canonical) for a domain or a subdomain that you are searching for. This DNS record type is also essential because you can perfectly apply it to all your subdomains. By adding a CNAME record for each of them, they point to your domain name. Additionally, you don’t have to add any other DNS records to your subdomains.

Once you decide to update the DNS records for your domain, it won’t be necessary to make any further changes and modifications for each of your subdomains. That way, the management of your DNS becomes much easier.

MX record

The Mail Exchanger record, or for short the MX record, is used to point the email server responsible for receiving emails for that domain name. It is important to note that the MX record has to point to the hostname of the incoming mail server. Please don’t mistake it with the IP address. If you want, you can establish several MX records with separate priorities. As a result, you have a backup if there are some kind of difficulties.

The Mail Exchanger record is fundamental because if you don’t hold one, you will not receive emails. That is crucial if you are running a business online.

PTR record

The PTR record is another must-have DNS record. It is required if you desire to send emails to anyone without difficulties. The PTR record is also called pointer record, and its main purpose is actually opposite to the A record. It points an IP address to a domain name. Additionally, it also serves for Reverse DNS. When you send an email, your recipient wants to validate that the email is actually sent on behalf of your domain name. So, for that, the PTR record comes in hand. If you make a mistake in the configuration of the A record and the PTR record, your emails will probably land in the spam folder of your recipients. 

You can apply the pointer record with IPv4 addresses and A records or with IPv6 addresses and AAAA records.