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What Is DNS And DNS Management

DNS stands for domain name system. It’s a database whose function is to translate domain names into IP addresses. In order to achieve this, the DNS sets up ordered records which contain information about specific services.



What is DNS management?

DNS management is the service that allows domain name owners to manage the way their DNS records are stored. This means they can choose which servers are hosting specific parts of their website, transferring services from one server to another in order to get the best possible set up for their site.

As most sites are hosted by several servers, having this kind of DNS control is essential for best function. UK DNS hosting companies usually have a control panel which lets users manage their DNS UK server in a clear and straightforward way.

What are subdomains?

As the name suggests, subdomains are smaller parts of a larger domain. The DNS works in a hierarchy, starting with a top level domain (TLD – including .org, .net, .com etc). The next level down is the domain names which signify the main address of the site (facebook.com, bbc.com). Beneath this is the level of subdomain names, which indicate specific parts of individual sites, for example sports.bbc.com or messages.facebook.com.

What are nameservers?

A nameserver is a computer that’s continuously connected to the net, translating domain names into IP addresses. This means you can enter web addresses like facebook.com, rather than long and complex IP addresses like 195.54.456.45.

How to check nameservers

Sometimes a misconfiguration of names means that your name server is not pointing to your website address. There are a number of online tools you can use to check your nameserver as well as the status of your website, service and network.

Go to the test site and click on the DNS tab. Then enter your domain name and click to perform test. This will retrieve information about your site, including whether the nameserver is working correctly.

How to change nameservers

You can do this using the control panel of your web hosting platform. Click on the manage DNS tab and find where the nameserver is listed. There should be an option here to change the nameserver. They will usually be set to use the default server in most cases.

How to set up an A record

Log in to the control panel and click through to the manage DNS tab. To set up an A record you will probably need to select the advanced DNS settings tab where your host records will be listed. Here you can add a new record. Select an A record and point it to the IP address you would like it to. Once happy, click to save changes.

How to set up a CNAME record

The same process as above for A record, only click to add new CNAME record and point it to the address you would like it to.

How to set up a TXT record

As above but you will be required to insert a string into the value field. This is usually obtained from your service provider. Save the changes – these will sometimes take a while to take affect.

How to set up an SPF record

An SPF (sender policy framework) is a way of fighting spam mail. To set one up, click though to the manage DNS, then advanced settings section, of your host hosting control panel and click to edit the zone files. You’ll need to add a new row. Set the type to TXT and add a new string in the column, making sure you include your IP address where required. Click to save the changes.

How to set up an MX record

If your domain name is pointing elsewhere but you want to have your mail handled by your web hoster you need to point your MX (mail exchange) record to your host. Click through to the manage DNS section of your control panel, and click on MX manage. Select the domain to which you want to point your MX record and click to save. You should also be able to revert to default settings easily.

How to point a domain to your own mail server

Click through to the manage DNS tab of your control panel and advanced DNS settings and delete any existing MX records. Enter the new MX record for your domain name and click to save. It should now be pointing to your domain.