A Canonical Name (CNAME) record points a domain or subdomain to another domain name. An example would be:

blog.company.com CNAME company.wordpress.com

In this example, your corporate blog’s subdomain (blog[.]company[.]com) points to your blog platform (wordpress[.]com). It tells website visitors’ browsers to go to another webpage if they want to view your blog. CNAME records are helpful for sites that use different external providers (WordPress in this case) for their various pages (the corporate blog in this case).

Think of a CNAME as an alias or nickname, if you want. In the example above, we can say that blog[.]company[.]com is also known as “company[.]wordpress[.]com.”

Other interesting terms…

Read More about a “CNAME Record

A CNAME record is just one of five typical kinds of Domain Name System (DNS) records. It makes it easier for website owners to take visitors to the correct pages under their corporate site to find the content they’re looking for.

The Other Types of DNS Records

Here’s a rundown of the various DNS records that can help you organize your website.

A Record

An Address (A) record points a domain or subdomain to an IP address. Using the same example above, your A record can look like this:

      "type": 1,
      "dnsType": "A",
      "name": "company.com.",
      "ttl": 299,
      "rRsetType": 1,
      "rawText": "company.com.\t\t299\tIN\tA\t1.2.3.4",
      "address": ""

The A record above tells website visitors’ browsers to go to 1[.]2[.]3[.]4 when they key in company[.]com into their browsers’ input field.

Note that an A record is only applicable for IPv4 addresses. If your organization uses IPv6 addresses, you use an AAAA record instead of an A record.

MX Record

A mail exchanger (MX) record points emails meant for your inbox to your mail server. Unlike an A record, an MX record doesn’t point to an IP address. In this sense, an MX record is more like a CNAME record. It can look like this:

      "type": 15,
      "dnsType": "MX",
      "name": "company.com.",
      "additionalName": "aspmx.l.company.com.",
      "ttl": 232,
      "rRsetType": 15,
      "rawText": "company.com.\t\t232\tIN\tMX\t10 aspmx.l.company.com.",
      "priority": 10,
      "target": "aspmx.l.company.com."

In this example, all emails meant for employees of company[.]com should go to the MX server with the address alt1[.]aspmx[.]l[.]google[.]com.

TXT Record

A Text (TXT) record is very versatile. Unlike the other types of DNS records, it’s not meant to point to a specific IP address or domain. Instead, they’re used to provide necessary information about the domain or subdomain they were created for. It’s generally used for Google Verification, ensuring your site is indexed and appears as a Google search result. Here’s an example:

      "type": 16,
      "dnsType": "TXT",
      "name": "company.com.",
      "ttl": 3599,
      "rRsetType": 16,
      "rawText": "company.com.\t\t3599\tIN\tTXT\t\"google-site-verification=wD8N7i1JTNTkezJ49swvWW48f8_9xveREV4oB-0Hf5o\"",
      "strings": ["google-site-verification=wD8N7i1JTNTkezJ49swvWW48f8_9xveREV4oB-0Hf5o"]

It can also be used for verification by other major sites like Facebook, Apple, and DocuSign. A TXT record basically tells users that your site is legitimate and safe to access because you allow the companies mentioned above to crawl it.

SOA Record

A Start of Authority (SOA) record stores important information about a domain or DNS zone. A DNS zone is that section of the DNS space that your company manages. The data in an SOA record includes the domain administrator’s email address, when the domain was last updated, and how long the server should wait between refreshes. It looks like this:

      "type": 6,
      "dnsType": "SOA",
      "name": "company.com.",
      "ttl": 41,
      "rRsetType": 6,
      "rawText": "company.com.\t\t41\tIN\tSOA\tns1.company.com. dns-admin.company.com. 387545449 900 900 1800 60",
      "admin": "dns-admin.company.com.",
      "host": "ns1.company.com.",
      "expire": 1800,
      "minimum": 60,
      "refresh": 900,
      "retry": 900,
      "serial": 387545449

To recap, when asked what is a CNAME record? You can simply answer that it’s a DNS record that tells browsers to go to another website address when they want to access a specific subdomain of yours.