039 – Understanding Your DNS Servers
Today’s episode features Sean and Randy from beAutomated.com. These guys always have great topics to discuss on the show and today is no exception.
Today’s topic is understanding Domain Name System (DNS)
* Probably the biggest cause for confusion has been the routine push by web hosting companies to get their customers to move their name servers along with their website files and database.
- One can use their registrars built-in DNS hosting to simplify the process and make it faster and easier to switch hosting companies when necessary as well as to divert other services such as email to separate hosting providers.
Levels of DNS:
* Registrar: Who you pay for reserving the domain
* DNS hosting name servers: Usually included for free by both the registrar (#1) and the
website hosting service providers (#4)
* Settings: Authoritative IP (A) and canonical name (CNAME) pointers are settings for the
domain name within the name servers in (#2) above
* Various hosting services for website and email: Provides given IP addresses or host names
from which your service is served that get set in (#3) above
- So it is possible to have a variety of different hosting services (#4) for different applications you use with your domain name. The service that hosts your DNS (#2) is where you go to change the various A, CNAME, and MX records for these services (#3).
There is no need to switch the DNS hosting (#2) to your website host (#4). Hosting companies
strongly prefer to host your DNS because it puts more control within their system and makes it easier for them to close out support tickets. However, this is not better for users who desire flexibility, ease and speed of migration jobs.
Heres the different types of DNS record settings you should be aware of:
* A records point the root of the domain or subdomains that you may add to numerical IP
addresses. These generally points to your web host server IP not their name servers.
* CNAME records point aliases like www. to the root of the domain, or point subdomains
that you may add to other name based addresses.
* MX records work more like CNAME records except there are different priority numbers
and you usually need more than one entry as provided by your email host.
* TXT records are used for SPAM prevention rules (see SPF).
* TTL is the timing setting in seconds for each of the above records. You want to set this low (say 1 hour or 3600 seconds) a good day or so before launching a migration.