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Zone file

Zone file

Zone file definition

A zone file is a text file on a Domain Name System (DNS) server that contains information that connects the website’s name to the IP address of its server. DNS servers use this file to guide internet traffic, helping it know where to go when someone tries to visit a particular website or send an email, for example.

See also: DNS record, DNS A record, DNS AAAA record, DNS NS record, DNS MX record, DNS PTR record, DNS SOA record, DNS SPF record, DNS SRV record, DNS TXT record

Zone file usage

Each zone file typically corresponds to a single domain and can contain several different types of records, including:

  • A records, which map a domain name to an IPv4 address.
  • AAAA records, which map a domain name to an IPv6 address.
  • CNAME records, which map a domain name to another domain name.
  • MX records, which specify the mail servers used by the domain.
  • NS records, which specify the DNS servers for the domain.
  • SOA record, which is the Start of Authority record. It provides information about the domain’s primary DNS server, the domain administrator’s email, the domain serial number, and several timers related to refreshing the domain.
  • TXT records, which hold text information for various purposes, such as verifying domain ownership or configuring email spam filters.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security