What are A records?

A records, or Address records, are one of the most fundamental types of DNS (Domain Name System) records used to translate domain names into IP addresses. An A record maps a domain name to an IPv4 address, allowing users to access websites, servers, and other network resources using human-readable domain names.

Here's how A records work:

  1. Domain Name Resolution: When a user enters a domain name (such as example.com) into a web browser or other network application, the DNS resolver on the user's device queries the DNS servers to obtain the corresponding IP address.
  2. A Record Lookup: If the DNS resolver does not have the IP address cached locally, it sends a DNS query to the authoritative DNS servers responsible for the domain. The authoritative DNS servers contain the DNS records, including A records, for the domain.
  3. IP Address Retrieval: The authoritative DNS servers respond to the DNS query by providing the IP address associated with the domain name requested. If an A record exists for the domain, the response includes the IPv4 address mapped to the domain name.
  4. Connection Establishment: Once the DNS resolver receives the IP address from the authoritative DNS servers, it establishes a connection to the corresponding server or resource using the obtained IP address. This allows the user to access the desired website or service.

Example of an A record:

example.com.    IN    A

In this example:

  • "example.com." is the domain name.
  • "IN" specifies the DNS record class (Internet).
  • "A" indicates the type of DNS record (Address record).
  • "" is the IPv4 address mapped to the domain name.

A records are essential for the proper functioning of the Internet and are commonly used to direct web traffic to web servers, FTP servers, email servers, and other network resources using domain names. They are managed by domain registrars or DNS hosting providers and can be updated by domain owners to point their domain to different IP addresses as needed.

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