What is the DNS CNAME record?

We could not skip one of the essentials – the DNS CNAME record- to expand the information about Domain Name System records. So let’s dive in and explain a little bit more about it.

DNS CNAME record explained

Another way that the DNS CNAME record is also known as the canonical name record. It has a very specific role. Which is to define one domain name is just a different way to receive the primary hostname. This host name is also known as the canonical domain. Through you are able to benefit from the CNAME record. You can use it for different results and many purposes, but the appropriate way of applying it is for subdomains.

Simply directing your subdomains to your primary domain is the perfect case of using the CNAME record. 

There is one thing that you should remember for the DNS CNAME record. If you have such a record already created for one hostname, it will not give you the chance to import any other DNS records for that specific hostname. If you desire to have an action similar to this, directing one hostname to another but also adding more records, such as MX records, you can use the ALIAS record. And that will help you achieve this goal.

How to create a DNS CNAME record?


The DNS CNAME record is a simple text file with several elements inside it:

  • Host – The current hostname. Here it can be a subdomain or service that you want to direct to the actual host. 
  • Type – CNAME. Here is the type of DNS record that you want to apply.
  • Points to – Here, set the actual canonical name. You are capable of importing several CNAME records, which are from several subdomains to the accurate one. 
  • TTL – This is the time period that displays how long will be cached the cache data on the recursive DNS server

Example of the DNS CNAME record 

  • Host: www.example.com
  • Type: CNAME
  • Points to: example.com
  • TTL: 1 Hour.

You can use DNS CNAME for:

  • To guide usual subdomains and such ones that are for services like FTP or email to the primary host. 
  • Content Delivery Networks (CDN) can benefit from DNS CNAME records to better coordinate the traffic. A query, which is for the original server, can be guided to a CNAME record. Which is a component of the CDN, and it will provide back a result, which will fit the user best.
  • When one company owns many websites, the DNS CNAME record can be beneficial to point all of them to just a single one. 

DNS – best practices

CNAME record VS ALIAS record

The DNS CNAME record can point one name to another hostname. It is important only to be applied when there are no other records for that hostname. On the other hand, the ALIAS record also leads a name to another hostname. The difference is that the ALIAS record is able to coexist with other records on that hostname. The ALIAS record is also possible to be added for the root domain. 


The DNS CNAME record is really beneficial. Just make sure you use it the right way.

Author: isabella

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