Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am a developer who doesn't understand how to effectively manage Internet domain names.

Say I registered a name with namecheap and host a website on linode. Now what is an a-record? What is a name server and do I host it with namecheap of linode? Why would I pay amazon when others are free? Does any of this matter in terms of website latency or reliability?

I feel like a script kiddy, copying and pasting others' and hoping it works. Is there a book or other resource that explains all this? I know amazon is full of books about DNS, but afaik they are about setting up DNA servers for local networks, not the Internet.

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by Zoredache, Magellan, Tom O'Connor, EEAA, Ward Nov 17 '12 at 16:17

Questions on Server Fault are expected to relate to server, networking, or related infrastructure administration within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 1 down vote accepted

There's 4 types of records that are used commonly but there's a load of other types which you may never run into

An A record is also known as an address record is for IPV4 addresses only and its IPV6 equivalent is an AAAA record. It always points at an IP address.

A Cname, or canonical name record is an alias - it is a record that points at another record.

A mx address is for mailservers and used where the mailserver for a domain has a different ip address than its name.

A txt record is supposed to be for arbitrary text data, but is used for a lot of different things.

Name servers are something that well, tend to work, and unless you had special requirements or choose to run your own, most people don't really notice.

A name server works like a phone directory. When asked for a domain name, it gives the ip address associated with it. Name servers are hierachical - the 'root' name servers know which name servers handle a TLD, which know which servers handle a second level domain and so on. There's two types of name server - authoritative and recursive, but for the purposes of the question, they don't matter.

As for whether to pay for seperate nameserver hosting - your regular host may not have a SLA or have geographically distributed servers. In the case of amazon, you're paying for integration with their services, management tools, and having multiple DNS servers all over the world.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.