Which Type Of DNS Record Identifies An Email Server? Understanding DNS Record

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Which Type of DNS Record Identifies an Email Server

DNS stands for Domain Name System. To understand the various DNS records, you need to know what DNS is and its functions. All the computers and e=services connected to the internet are named using DNS.

In other words, DNS associates various mail information with the name of the domain that has been given to each of the available entities. 

The Domain Name System has been quite essential since 1985. Since then, the DNS has been expanding. Today it stores many records for different types of data. 

You can look up the record automatically in case you have any queries. It has also helped combat spam emails by enabling the storage of a Real-time Black-hole List (RBL). 

The DNS has several records for specific functions. In this article, we will look at the DNS record that can identify an email server. Let’s go back to the question.

Which Type of DNS Record Identifies an Email Server?

The “Mail Exchange” record, commonly known as the MX record, identifies the mail servers. These are the servers to which the mails of a specific domain are delivered. 

Usually, the MX entries always point to the domain and not directly to the IP address.  The MX record functions in a unique way. 

If the MX record is missing or does not exist on a domain to which the email is sent, the server will try to send the mail that matches the A record. 

The MX record does have priority when it comes to delivery. The MX priority is responsible for determining the order of the mail server to which the mail is to be delivered. 

It starts by delivering to the mail server that has the lowest MX level. For example, if there are three mail servers of levels 30, 20, and 10. 

The MX priority will firstly deliver the mail to MX records with the lowest level, which is 10. It then delivers to the others if the first one fails. 

The MX priority follows the order of lowest to highest. In the instance where delivery to level 10 fails, it’ll deliver to 20, then 30, and so on. 

What Are DNS Records?

In the introductory part, we have already described what DNS is. However, the description of the DNS records can be quite different. 

If you understand the meaning of DNS records, you’ll quickly grasp the different types of DNS records. The DNS is a large-scale system that contains all the information across all websites on the internet. 

The information includes things such as domain names, hosting, IP addresses, and other registrations. The DNS records are the instructions for the DNS server. 

It helps the DNS server to quickly identify the domain names that associate with a particular IP address. 

The DNS records have several text files that act as commands which instruct the DNS server on what to do. The DNS records have the TTL “Time-To-Live” that tells when the server should refresh. 

In simple terms, DNS Records are like business listings. Business listings do offer the business name, location, products, and hours of operation. 

All the domains must have a few DNS records. It allows the users to find the specific site they are looking for using the domain name.

Types Of DNS Records

The DNS record is crucial for a website to function normally. The records do act as a guide. They inform the DNS server of the IP address for each domain and how to go on with access requests. There are many DNS records today; in this section, we have highlighted the most popular ones.

A Record

It’s the most popular of all the DNS records. The A record is simply the address record.  It points the name of the domain to its specific IP address. 

The “google.com” has an IP address which is 74.125.224.147. The A record will directly point you to the IP address of google.com. 

Amazing how computers work. So as you type the words, the computer works with the numbers. 

CNAME Record

CNAME stands for Canonical Name. Understanding the canonical name is quite tricky. 

The primary function of the Canonical Name is to point an individual domain to a particular subdomain and finally the domain name. 

It is always known as the alias records. It allows the server to point several systems to one IP address without giving the A DNS record the hostnames. 

It means that if you intend to make any changes to the IP address, then you will only need to change a single A DNS record. 

TXT Record

The TXT record was initially made to work with human-readable text. With TXT, you can undoubtedly type any text into the DNS record. 

I can say the TXT record is very dynamic, and because of this, it has various functions and purposes. Its primary function is google verification. 

It helps to identify whether an email is from a trusted source or not. However, you should note that TXT does not bring traffic to the site but only provides information about other sources. 

NS Record

The NS record stands for Name Server.  Its primary function is to be the most authoritative DNS server in a particular region. Having many NS records on a specific zone adds redundancy. 

This is one of the benefits of having many NS records. For it to function effectively in adding redundancy, you need to host them on different network segments. 

When the network segment that hosts the NS record goes down, the NS will also go down. So hosting them on different network segments will guarantee you the services of other NS records if one or two fail. 

Caller ID Record

The Caller-ID was made earlier, and it did the functions that SPF does today. The mail servers can verify if the mail claiming to come from your domain is genuinely from your IP addresses with the Caller-ID. 

The Caller-ID can only do this by going through the particular TXT records that you did enter in your DNS records. 

This helps to prevent mail spoofing. If you know about the DNS record well, you can attest that Caller ID is not as popular as SPF. 

However, it does offer a different type of protection than the SPF. It’s this that makes people accept the Caller-ID record and think of it as relevant. 

SPF Record

Like the Caller-ID, the SPF allows your other mail servers to verify if the mail claiming to be from one of your domains is truly from any of your IP addresses. 

The process is similar to that of the Caller-ID and does prevent mail spoofing. 

SOA Record

SOA record is known as the Start of Authority record. It keeps information of a server name that gives data for the particular region. 

It is also responsible for giving seconds that a secondary server name needs to wait for updates. 

PTR Record

The PTR record is quite different from others in the way it works. It is a reverse lookup, and it maps the name to the IP address. 

Specific mail servers will altogether refuse to verify emails coming from your server until they do the reverse lookup. The verification of the mail is different according to the various mail servers. 

Some do not even care if the PTR record is the existence or not. But there are specific mail servers that are very strict. They follow up on your mail name and check whether the IP address is for the name. 

The famous mail servers that do the reverse lookup are AOL and Craigslist. However, they do change the check from time to time. At times they shift to normal, while other times, they come back to PTR. 

Of all the DNS records, the PTR record is the most tricky. You will need a ton of knowledge to deal with it, which means that creating your own PTR record can be a bit tricky. 

Alternatively, you can contact the Internet Service Provider for help. They will undoubtedly create a PTR record for you. 

The only details they will need from you are the IP address and name that you want. You should, however, have some basic knowledge about the PTR. 

It’s because the person who answers the phone might not know what PTR is. You will have to walk them briefly into what you need. 

A little piece of advice, if you want to create a PTR record, do it from your DNS hosting.

Conclusion 

The DNS is quite important when it comes to mailing. It allows the proper sending and receiving of mail. 

Without configuring the DNS records, other mail servers will not find you and send mail to all your users.  Plus, some DNS records offer protection from spam. 

This makes other servers fully trust you by knowing that you are not a spam host. However, in this article, we have talked about the DNS record type that identifies the email server. I hope the information has been helpful. 

About the author

David Huner

Hi, my name is David Huner, a Tech Lover. In my spare time I enjoy writing reviews and informative articles that I hope you find useful. Please enjoy as I have dedicated much time and effort into my work.

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