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DNS also know as Domain Name System is a database that contains information about a website. Anything that is connected to the internet has an IP address, not just mobile and laptops, even a website has its own IP address. Imagine domain name system (DNS) like a telephone directory of the internet. Every websites has their own contact number that is an IP address which is not easy to keep in mind. However it is easy to recognize them using domain names (ex: mixtart.com). To reach a website we humans use domain names that are memorable but computers uses DNS to get the domains IP. Without DNS information you'll not be able to reach a website using its name, you can only reach using its IP address. DNS job is similar to a phone book; connecting domain name with IP address. This plays a main role in functionality of a website.
DNS records may seem technical, however it is not difficult to understand. Here is the simple explanation for how DNS (Domain Name System) works. Zone files or DNS records is just a mapping file that tells DNS server which IP address is associated to a domain and how the domain request should be handled. The information in these records basically connect your website to the outside world.
Let's say you input the query in your web browser seeking for yourdomain.com.
1. Your computer first looks in your local DNS cache incase if your computer already has retrieved yourdomain.com.
2. If not your browser then sends this information over the internet to find yourdomain.com. First it interacts with recursive DNS servers, this recursive resolver knows other DNS servers and also has its own caches. It knows where to look for the domain information which you requested.
3. If they can't find it in their cache then it asks root nameservers which knows DNS information of the Top Level Domains (TLD) such as .com, .org, .info, .us etc. Each TLD's have their own name server that acts like a receptionist.
4. They then direct your query to the authoritative name servers that consist the information and is responsible for the domain name you requested. Authoritative name servers knows information about a domain that is stored in DNS records.
The information contained in the DNS record commands the DNS server and there are many different types of records stored (such as: A, CNAME, MX, NS, TXT, SRV, PTR and SOA). Each records has their own usage and we have explained about them below.
5. Since here you are seeking for yourdomain.com authoritative nameservers returns the A record (Address Record) of the domain which recursive DNS server retrieves and stores in its local DNS cache.
Incase if someone else looks for yourdomain.com recursive resolver don't have to go through all these process again. It can fetch from its local cache.
6. Finally recursive resolver passes the information to your computer, your computer reads the IP address of the domain and passes it to your web browser. Web browser connects with domains web server and displays the website.
All this whole process happens in the blink of an eye.
For detailed explanation on how DNS works just go through this article: http://dyn.com/blog/dns-why-its-important-how-it-works/
For your website to function first you must properly assign various parameters in your DNS records. Here are some of the common DNS record entries with explanation.
1. A records and AAAA records: A record also known as address record is the most common DNS record that indicates IP address of a domain or a subdomain. AAAA record is IPV6 address that maps hostname to 128 bit.
2. CNAME records: Also known as canonical name record used to point a domain to another domain. Commonly used to link sub domains with existing domain's DNS records.
3. MX record: Also known as Mail Exchange record used to set email preferences (to send and receive emails) for a particular domain.
4. TXT Record: Usually used to store text information that are used to verify domain ownership.
For detailed information on DNS records syntax with examples go through this article: http://www.debianhelp.co.uk/dnsrecords.htm
Find DNS records is a free tool to lookup domain name server host records for any domain. To find DNS record of a domain just enter the website and click on submit. It returns information such as Nameserver details, Domain IP Address, TLD server, Host, TTL, Type, TXT, and Entries. If you are looking to get information about a domain or if you are looking to check your own website's DNS records or if you are looking to verify the changes you made in your DNS records you can make use of this find DNS records tool.