What is DNS?

DNS, which stands for Domain Name System, controls your domain name’s website and email settings. When visitors go to your domain name, its DNS settings control which company’s server it reaches out to. For example, if you use 123-REG’s DNS settings, visitors will reach the 123-REG servers when using your domain name. If you change those settings to user another company’s servers, visitors will reach them instead of us when visiting your domain.

It’s critical that your IT support provider has full administrator access to your company’s DNS platform as it has many different elements that control different aspects of your domain name. Here’s a quick explanation of each one:

DNS ElementDescription
NameserverNameservers “point” your domain name to the company that controls its DNS settings. Usually, this will be the company where you registered the domain name.

However, if your website is hosted by another company, sometimes they will provide nameservers you need to point to instead.

Zone FileZone Files are simply the files that store all of your domain’s DNS settings.

Your domain name’s Zone File is stored on the company’s nameserver.

A RecordA Records point your domain name to an individual server using an IP address. An example IP address is

Every domain name has a primary A Record called “@,” which controls what your domain name does when some visits it directly.

You can also use A Records to point subdomains (for example subdomain.joebloggs.com) to a server’s IP address.

CNAMECNAMEs point your subdomains to another server using a server name, like server1.123-reg.com.

Most domain names have many CNAMEs.

Unlike A Records, CNAMEs cannot use IP addresses.

MX RecordsMX Records point your domain name’s email to its email provider.


About totality services:

totality services was founded in 2008 and provides London’s small & medium businesses with an end-to-end IT service, from purchasing and installing hardware to Mac & Windows support, cloud solutions and data backup. We support our clients using proven, high quality systems and security practices that blue-chip companies take for granted.

We consistently achieve excellent client satisfaction thanks to a process driven approach, concise documentation and our team of friendly and highly trained London based engineers.

totality Tim
IT Support London