There are a number of DNS record types that can be added to point your domain at different services. These records can come in a number of different formats and some are easier to add to your DNS than others.
Here's a breakdown of the most common types of DNS records you are likely to encounter and how to add them correctly to the DNS for your domain:
This is the most commonly used record. It's used to map hostnames to an IP address of the hosting server. The destination must be an IPv4 address.
Typically you will need two A records to point a website to a server. One for the non www's and one that includes the www's. Here's how this would look in your DNS:
Note - Both records are pointing to the servers IP which in this example is 126.96.36.199:
These work in exactly the same was an an A record but are for a 128-bit IPv6 addresses. The destination must be an IPv6 address.
These records are only required for servers that have an IPv6 address. It's always best to check with your provider to make sure your server has an IPv6 address. Our servers supports IPv6 out of the box. You can find your servers IPv6 address on the right hand side of your servers dashboard.
These records are used for email. If you are hosting email on your domain your MX records should point hostname of the mail servers for that domain. These have to be a hostname as IP addresses cannot be used. There may also be more than one MX record set up on your domain. These are alternate (fallback) mail servers your domain can use is the primary mail servers are down. The order in which they are used is determined by the "Priority".
In the example below is a standard set of mail records for someone using GSuite for their email:
This is an text based record, typically used for verification records, SPF records and DKIM records. These are probably the simplest of all the DNS records and simply allows you to add a DNS record that contains text.
These records are often confused as being used for forwarding or redirecting a domain. These are in fact an alias of one DNS record to another. Due to this, you cannot CNAME an IP address it has to be a hostname.
A scenario in which CNAME records are really useful would be to bulk update a number of DNS records all at the same time.
In the below example we have subdomains for www/ blog & shop all CNAME'd to the domain "dummy-domain-co-uk". "Dummy-domain-co-uk" has an A record that points to 188.8.131.52. Now if you change this A record to point to a new IP, all the CNAME records will then also go to the new IP as well.
You will mostly likely come across this type of record when setting up Office365 or Exchange. These are a generalized service location record, used for newer protocols instead of creating protocol-specific records such as MX.
These records can be tricky to add to the DNS correctly so lets look at an example of an SRV record for Office 365:
You'll notice that where you would normally have the priority set in the "Priority" field, it's are actually in the "Value" field followed by the port. This is typical of most SRV records so you can use the above as a template for adding this type of record to the DNS should you need to.