DNS And How It Relates To Your Domain

Jul 22nd, 2011

In our continual effort to improve the user experience at Omnis Network, we’ve made dramatic improvements to our DNS Manager. These updates will allow you to have greater hands-on control over your domain names. We realize that some of our customers have not ever used their DNS Manager, so we would like to take this opportunity to explain what it is and its uses.

DNS stands for Domain Name System, and put simply the system translates your domain name into a numerical IP address for our web hosting servers to read. For example, the DNS would translate the domain www.example.com into the IP address 192.0.43.10. Your DNS is also involved with how your domains interact with many other types of systems in what are called DNS Records.

The most common DNS Records are the A Record and MX Record. The A Record, or Address Record, basically lists what IP address is associated with a specific domain. All of the required A Records associated with your website hosting account can be found in the Account Manager under the Hosted Domains tool by clicking the 'View/Edit' link next to your domain name. The MX Record, or Mail Exchange Record, is also commonly used to identify the service that your email is being served through. Some customers choose to host their website with us, but use an external email service.

When you purchase a hosting services work on our servers. Some people may find that they want to change some of those records to point to another server or service. This is where using the DNS Manager comes into play, and you can use one or more of our new tools to accomplish this.

In the Account Manager under the Domain Name System Manager (DNS) section, you can use the Domains tool to view all of the domains on your account. When you click the Info link next to a domain name, you will see more information about that domain.

The new Records Wizard is a simple tool that allows you to add common DNS records such as Google MX, set up a URL Forward, or add a subdomain to one of your domains. Some customers choose to host their website with us, but use an external email service. You can use this Records Wizard to quickly and easily change your mail records to use Google Apps, postini records, or any of the other commonly used mail services. You will find that simply answering the questions as they are presented to you through the Records Wizard will guide you through the process of changing your DNS Records efficiently.

Customers who are familiar with the technical aspects of DNS, and are comfortable making individual changes to DNS Records, can use the Records tool to manually edit, add, or remove DNS Records as they see fit. When you enter the Records tool and click the 'Next' link next to a domain, you will be presented with a list of all DNS Records associated with your domain that you can edit manually. You can also delete a record if you no longer need it, or click the 'Add New Record' link to add a completely new record that does not currently exist.

For instance, if you only wanted to change the A Records associated with your website, but nothing else, you would first acquire the IP address of the location where you want the domain to point to. You would then edit the @ and the www records to reflect that new IP address and click the Save Changes link at the top of the page. This would now cause people who type in your website name in the URL bar to go to the new IP address location instead of our servers. Likewise, if you wanted to host your email through another service, but keep your website and all other services through us, you would want to edit the A Records associated with email as well as the MX Record to reflect the information for the other service you are using for email.

The final tool is the Import Export tool which allows you to either import an existing Zone File for a domain to be used with your domain, or export the Zone File that is currently established for your domain. A DNS Zone File is a text file that describes a DNS zone, which is a subset of the hierarchical domain name structure of the DNS. The Zone File contains mappings between domain names and IP addresses and other resources, organized in the form of text representations of resource records.

Put simply, a Zone File is a text document used by the Domain Name System (DNS) to map computers, domain names, and various resources to the appropriate IP addresses. This mapping allows people to access resources and computers on the Internet using human-readable addresses.

Our new DNS Manager tool is a powerful tool that will allow you to have a deeper understanding of your domain and the records associated with your domain, as well as give you much more control over where your different domain services are pointing.


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