NS record explained

Domain name system (DNS) is a fascinating world where different processes take place all the time. Meeting every DNS component involved and understanding how to get the best out of its functionality, how to combine it with others, etc., is a complex and interesting challenge. 

There is no pointless element. Actually, missing a small piece of data can produce failures on your DNS. 

Today is the NS record’s turn to be explained. 

What is the DNS NS record?

Name Server record or NS record is the one in charge of identifying a specific DNS zone’s authoritative name servers.

NS records must be saved in DNS zone files. They work pointing out authoritative name servers for a determined domain. In other words, the type of servers that contain the domain’s DNS records. If you consider that finding a server holding the necessary data for answering users’ queries -for a specific domain – is part of the DNS resolution process, now you can understand better the NS record’s contribution to this purpose.

Here it’s important to state clearly that NS record participation in the DNS resolution process has a short scope. It’s absolutely not related to key elements like IP addresses. It focuses totally on recognizing the authoritative name servers that have the DNS data of a domain in a determined zone.

A domain can have many NS records because usually, there are different authoritative servers backing up the domain’s data. Besides, there must be an NS record for every DNS zone. If an authoritative server fails, the resolution query can be answered by another DNS server. 

NS records must be correctly configured to accomplish their mission.

NS record structure

Take a look at the elements that give shape to NS records.

Domain name: domainexample.com

Record type: NS

Points to: dns1.domainexample.com

TTL value: 7200 secs. 

Why do you need NS records?

NS records functionality is strongly required all across networks (in the different DNS zones). They are one the most known and used DNS records.

While maintaining your domain or a network for running smoothly, adding, modifying, or deleting NS records will be a common task for you or your IT team. 

  • Each DNS zone needs NS records to locate authoritative name servers. Without these NS records, it would be harder to process queries. Just think about the amount of servers networks have. It could be like looking for a needle in a haystack. 
  • For changing DNS hosting provider. Every hosting provider uses unique NS records. Therefore, if you switch your current hosting provider to migrate to another properly, new NS records will be required for pointing the name servers of the new hosting company. After that, you only will wait the necessary time for full data propagation. Such update takes from 24 to 48 hours.
  • For pointing new name servers. If your provider includes more than one name server, NS records will be needed to point to them.
  • For adding new presence’s points. If your business expands and you want extra presence points for your domain, that means more (one, two, or more) name servers to point to through NS records. 
  • For deleting presence’s points. You or your hosting provider can cancel certain points of presence due to different reasons. NS records must be removed not to point to those servers anymore.
  • For subdomains to use only specific or different name servers. Setting NS records up is not so difficult, but it is a sensitive task. You might want your mail.domainexample.com host to have a different name server like dns2.domainexmaple.com

Conclusion

NS records are a must to have. Their functionality is very important for the correct performance of domains, yours included. 

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