Back to DNS and Nameservers

How Does DNS Work

Using or 'domain' as the example, we'll review how DNS works.

At the top of the DNS chain is the Domain Registrar. Registrars provide registrations for custom Internet domain names like or At the registrar level, you can configure Domain Name Servers which will communicate the necessary resolution information for a domain name. Usually, there will be at least two domain name server addresses for this purpose, which will be provided by your Web Host.

If you are with WestHost there are different domain name servers depending on your account, and you can always contact Tech Support with further questions about how to configure those for your domain.

DNS changes can take time to propagate throughout the Internet to work correctly. This can take 3-24 hours to complete. Allow up to 72 hours for complete worldwide propagation.

Once the DNS is set to a web host, then they will resolve to servers with that company, where the Domain Host information is stored. This points traffic through to the correct DNS Record for your domain. A DNS record includes all the parts that point your domain to the correct IP address of your server(s) which host the site content and e-mail for your domain.

A breakdown of record types is below.

The A Record [or Host Record] is the central record for DNS. This record links a domain or sub-domain to an IP address.

MX Records [Mail Exchanger] direct e-mail to the server for a domain name, and are listed in order of priority with 0 being the highest. MX records point to a host/domain name for a mailserver.

CNAME Records [Canonical Name] are aliases for A Records. For each CNAME record, you can choose an alias and an A record or host/domain name.

Related Articles

What Is DNS
How To Configure DNS
How To Manage DNS
How To Make DNS Changes To A - MX - CNAME Records And More
How To Update Name Server Records

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