While setting up your website, you may have had to modify DNS records. Maybe you looked at your domain’s DNS Zone and felt intimidated: what does it all mean? What might break my website if I change or delete it? With this blog post, we’re going to go over some of the basics of the DNS Zone so you can feel more confident when creating, editing or deleting records.
Accessing Your DNS Zone
You can access your DNS Zone via cPanel under Domains > Advance DNS Zone Editor. Here you will be able to select which domain’s DNS zone you would like to edit, create new records, and edit or delete any existing records. When you first look at your DNS zone, you will see that your domain already has some created. These are the records that cPanel automatically creates when you add a domain to your web hosting account.
Types of Records
You can create three types of Records via your cPanel account. If you find that you need to create a record type that is not listed here, such as a SRV record, you will need to open a support ticket and ask for it to be set up.
- A: this is an “Address” record; when setting up an A record, you will be pointing a domain or subdomain to an IP address. By default, cPanel creates one for your domain.com pointing to your shared or dedicated IP address.
- CNAME: an “Alias” record; when using a CNAME record, you will be pointing an address to a domain. You will need to make sure the domain you are pointing it to has an A record created. By default, cPanel will create a few of these for “www.domain.com” and “mail.domain.com”. CNAME records need to be unique – this means you cannot create an A record with the same “name” as any existing CNAME records.
- TXT: this is a “text” record, which contains machine-readable data; you may need to create a TXT record when attempting to sell domains or when you’re setting up external mail clients.
When to Use a Record
Here is a helpful table of when to use a certain type of record, and an example of the usage. You can refer back to this when you need to create a record but aren’t sure which type to use.
|Record Type||When to use||Example|
|A||Whenever you are looking to point your domain to an external IP Address||Security Website such as Incapsula, a server you’re hosting|
|CNAME||Creating Alias, to point a domain or subdomain to an existing address||Setting up CloudFlare, creating subdomains|
|TXT||To provide information to outside sources||Setting up Outlook 2013, setting up SPF, Selling a domain|
Creating a Record
Once you know what type of record you want to create, you will be able to create a new record via cPanel in the Advance DNS Zone Editor. When creating a record you will need the following information:
- Name: the name of the record; in the example I used a subdomain as the name of the record, essentially creating a new subdomain.
- TTL: “Time to Live”; this is the amount of time a record is cached by a DNS Server. The default TTL is 14400, which is also the lowest accepted time. If you’re not sure what to use for TTL, it is best to use the default 14400.
- Type: This is the type of record: A record, CNAME, and the TXT record
- Address/CNAME/TXT Data: the last form changes depending on the type of record; this is the information of the record itself: the IP address for an A record, the domain for CNAME, and the data for a TXT record.
After you have successfully filled out each form, you may click on “Add Record” to create the new record. You will see that the new DNS Record is added to the bottom of your Zone File Records. If you find that you’ve made an error when setting the record up, you’ll be able to edit it there by selecting the Edit link and updating any of the fields as necessary.
Now you know the basics of the DNS Zone editor, and will be able to create, edit, or delete any records for your domain! Be sure you are following our Facebook and Twitter pages to stay up to date with the latest in webmaster tips, updates for web software, and more.