How does DNS work?

DNS records primarily serve as the phonebook that assigns your website to an IP address. Instead of typing the IP address, you can type the website, and the DNS records will ensure you are brought to the correct location.

Domain Address IP Address

For example, whether you type or into your browser, both will direct to Hover's main page. Also referred to as Domain Name System records, these are the necessary elements to have your domain communicating with email, web-hosting, or other services.

Common DNS terminology

A record

An A record maps hostnames to the IP address of the host.  So when prompted, the A record for will be

Authoritative name server

An authoritative nameserver determines where the domain name has been pointed at by the domain registrar.  All Hover domains can manage their nameservers through their account.

CNAME record

CNAME records point one domain name to another, which can also be referred to as an alias.  For example, is a CNAME pointed at


DNS is an acronym for Domain Name System or Domain Name Server.  DNS entries associated domain names to IP addresses so that can also be accessed via

DNS caching

DNS caching is the length of time that a DNS server will retain existing DNS records before checking for updates.  The TTL usually determines the time that records are cached, which is set by the authoritative name server.

DNS propagation

DNS propagation is generally used to describe the time taken for the cache of TLD name servers to be updated after changes are made to a domain name's authoritative name servers.  For example, after changing your domain's name servers in Hover, the TLD name server may still direct queries to the old authoritative name servers until the cache has expired.  

IP address

Internet Protocol (IP) address is the numerical address assigned to computers and servers on the Internet. Computers need to have an IP address to find and communicate with each other over the Internet.  


A hostname is a name or label that has been assigned to a host computer. by itself is just a domain name, but after has been pointed at an IP address by a DNS server, it becomes a hostname.

MX record

An MX record specifies where email should be delivered.  Hover's MX record is  Some mail systems have different MX records for different inbound servers. If the first server is busy, the email gets routed to the next available server.


Nameservers, or DNS servers, are the computer systems that use the DNS entries to translate hostnames into IP addresses that can be used by computers to communicate with each other.  Domain names registered in Hover are pointed at our name servers by default, which are and


TTL (Time to Live) is a time, in seconds, set by an authoritative name server that tells non-authoritative servers how long to cache records.  The Hover DNS server has a minimum TTL of 900 seconds.  

Zone file

The zone file is a text file that contains a set of DNS records for the domain name.  As long as the domain is using Hover's nameservers, you can manage your zone file through your Hover account.


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