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How a domain name works (DNS, DNS Zone, A Record, MX Record)
This guide explains how a domain name works.
3 bases to understand
- When you surf our website https://www.infomaniak.ch, infomaniak.ch is our domain name
- Each domain has DNS (Domain Name System), which indicate where the DNS zone of the domain name is
- The DNS zone is then used to entrust the management of various services related to the domain name to different providers. For a single domain name, it is possible, for example, to entrust web hosting to provider X (via the A Record) and Email hosting to provider Y (via the MX record)
Example: the infomaniak.ch DNS are ns1.infomaniak.ch and ns2.infomaniak.ch, which indicates that the DNS zone of the domain name infomaniak.ch is managed by Infomaniak.
In administrative terms,
- Each domain name is reserved and managed by a registrar. Infomaniak is, for example, one of the cheapest registrars in Switzerland: https://www.infomaniak.com/fr/domaines/tarifs
- The DNS for a domain are configured with the registrar that manages the domain
- The DNS zone can be supported by the registrar or another service provider
- Web Hosting and Email Hosting can be supported by any host
In the most complex case, it is possible to have 1 different provider for the following services: reservation of the domain name and DNS management, management of the DNS zone, Web hosting, Email hosting.
As a registrar and web host, Infomaniak can manage all these services. This is the simplest solution.
The following diagram summarizes these possibilities, with X, Y, A and B being different providers.
For more information:
- An MX record is used to point a domain name (ex .: your-site.com) to an email server
- An A record is used to point a domain name (ex .: your-site.com) or a subdomain (ex .: example.your-site.com) to a Web server that has a static IP address
4 common situations
- You have ordered a domain name with Infomaniak.
In this case, follow this guide: https://www.infomaniak.com/en/support/faq/2001
- Your domain name is not managed by Infomaniak and you can configure its DNS zone.
In this case, follow this guide: https://www.infomaniak.com/en/support/faq/2025
- Your domain name is not managed by Infomaniak and you cannot configure its DNS zone.
In this case, follow this guide: https://www.infomaniak.com/en/support/faq/1979
- You do not have a domain name yet.
In this case, follow this guide: https://www.infomaniak.com/en/support/faq/1987