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There are millions of websites live and operational on the internet. They are hosted and managed by web servers that are located all over the world. To find a website and where it's being hosted from requires a directory, without which it would be virtually impossible to find websites. DNS stands for Domain Name System which is the largest digital database for the internet in the world. This database contains information about every website in the world. Every website and every machine that comes on the internet has an IP address which is a digital address. The domain name of a website is stored along with its IP address in this database. The data files that tell a web server how to respond to a request by a search browser are known as DNS records.
In computer jargon, DNS records are called 'mapping files.' When a web server sends a request by a user to visit a particular website, the request is sent to the DNS database. This database looks up its records, finds the website's IP address and forwards it to the requesting server. After getting this information, the requesting server uses the IP address to find the website and display it to the user who initiated the request.
There are letters associated with the DNS records which are known as DNS syntax. Some of the commonly used syntax with all DNS records are; A, AAAA, CNAME, MX, PTR, NS, SOA, SRV, TXT and NAPTR.
The 'A' syntax in a DNS record is the most basic type of syntax. It stands for 'address' and indicates the IP address of the website.
The 'AAAA' record is an IPV6 address which maps the hostname to a 128-bit IPV6 address.
The 'CNAME' stands for 'conical name' and is used to associate sub domains with existing DNS records.
The 'MX' stands for mail exchange and is used for mail exchange servers.
The 'PTR' record as the name indicates a pointer record and maps an IPV4 address to the CNAME.
The "NS' record stands for 'name server' and indicates the server on which the domain resides.
The 'SOA' record stores important information about the domain, like when was it last updated, etc.
The "SRV' record indicates which TCP service the domain operates.
The 'TXT' record permits the website's administrator to insert any text in the record.
Why do you need to look at DNS records
The DNS records of any website contain vital information for webmasters and SEO. These records give you details regarding any website that you might be interested in viewing. If you want to know the IP address of a domain, you can get this information by looking at the DNS records of that domain. An IP address will tell you from which address domain is being hosted, and if you know the structure of IP addresses you will also know in which country the domain is being hosted from. IP addresses are assigned like telephone numbers. We know that each country has been assigned a particular number followed by a city code and then the actual telephone number. To make an international call, you have to dial the international code, area code and the actual number to make the call. Similarly, IP addresses are also assigned following a particular structure.
The other important information that you get when you view DNS records is the addresses of any sub domains that are associated with the domain. Also when the domain was last updated, what is its refresh rate, etc.?
You might want to check a competitor's DNS records and see where it is being hosted from and other information about the website. DNS records are helpful for webmasters and SEOs when setting up or managing a website.