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DNS Simplified: CNAME Records

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DNS Simplified: CNAME Records

What is a CNAME Record?

Canonical Name records, commonly called CNAME records, can be used to alias one name to another. They're often used to avoid maintaining two different records.

Let's say you have a server where you keep all of your documents online. It might normally be accessed through, but you might also want to access it using

One way to do this is to add a CNAME record that points to When someone visits they'll see the exact same content as

How do CNAME records work?

Great question. Let's look at an example:

You have and pointing to the same application and hosted by the same server. To avoid maintaining two different records, you can create an A record for pointing to the server IP address, and a CNAME record for pointing to

As a result, points to the server IP address, and points to the same address via

If the IP address changes, you only need to update the record in one place. Just edit the A record for, and automatically changes, too.

For a more detailed description, including restrictions, we wrote this handy support article.

Alias domains through URL redirects

In DNSimple, URL redirects provide greater flexibility for websites, because you point a domain to a URL. URL redirects only work with the HTTP protocol.

Let's look at an example:

If you use a URL redirect to point to, visitors to will automatically be redirected to The address in their browser will change to

You can also redirect to a subdirectory on your web site. For example: could redirect to

The redirection will even keep subdirectories intact. If we use the previous example: would redirect to

Between CNAME records and URL redirect records, DNSimple provides a powerful way to ensure visitors to your domain see the domain name you want them to see.

Want to learn more about managing your CNAME records with DNSimple? Take a look at this support article. Have more questions? We'd love to talk. Get in touch

Ready to get started with simple, automated DNS? Try DNSimple free for 30 days.

Posted updated May 2020

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Anthony Eden

I break things so Simone continues to have plenty to do. I occasionally have useful ideas, like building a domain and DNS provider that doesn't suck.

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