What Is An A Record

In this guide we will help you to understand what exactly an "A Record" is.

For more information on how to manage your DNS settings, please see our article on "How To Change DNS Settings."

What's An A Record?

An A record is one of the simplest DNS records for website servers. Essentially, when you visit a website through your browser, an A record is created, linking the domain name of that website to the IP address of the computer that's hosting it. 

For example, when you type in www.google.com, the A record points towards an IP address that will look something like: When your browser makes a request to the domain of "www.google.com", it is directed towards the server with the appropriate IP address. 

As you might have guessed, the "A" in "A record" stands for "address". 

They are a simple and versatile tool, allowing you to create multiple A records for the same domain name, providing redundancies and fallbacks. You can also have multiple domain names, each with its own A record, all directed to the same IP address.  

A Record Format

All A records follow the same top-level format, which looks like this:

Name - the name of the node to which the particular A record pertains.

Type - a pair of octets showing the resource record (RR) type codes.

Class - a pair of octets showing the resource record (RR) class codes.

TTL - a signed integer at 32 bits which determines the time interval between when the resource record is cached and when the source information should be consulted again, with "TTL" standing for "time-to-live", represented in seconds. A value of zero means the RR information can only be used when the transaction is happening and shouldn't be cached. SOA records are an example of a TTL that is distributed with a zero value preventing it from continuous caching. Zero values are also very useful if the data you are recording is particularly volatile. 

RDATA - is composed of a single element containing a 32-bit internet address which in turn represents an IPv4 address. This can vary depending on the RR type and RR class.

Manage A Records

Most A records are curated by whoever is hosting the domain name for your website. Given that they are a relatively simple tool, managing and customising them is straightforward.

You can add an A record for multiple domain names if you have multiple websites and remove them for domains you aren't using any longer.

Your hosting provider can also update your A records where necessary. Naturally, the more domain names you link to the same IP address, the more complex your A record will be to manage. 


Need help?

If you have any problems following this guide or modifying your DNS settings, please contact our team here.