When it comes to hosting websites, there’s a lot of tech jargon and terminology. It can be difficult to remember what everything means, because there’s so much information out there. You might have registered a domain name for your site and your site is already on the server, ready to amaze your visitors. Turns out you need to connect those two and there’s a mention of some ‘A records’ and ‘DNS settings’. These terms might be somewhat or completely unfamiliar to you, which makes changing settings all the more scary. That’s why we’ve put together this article to show you how to add or edit an A record in your GoDaddy account.
1. What is an A record?
To understand an A record, we must first observe the concept of DNS.
The DNS is like a contact list (or a phone book if you will) of all registered domains on Internet. The machines interact using IP addresses, therefore, domain names mean nothing to them because they can’t understand them.
The DNS servers associate a certain domain name with a certain IP address. When you type a domain name in your browser’s address bar, like fixrunner.com, your Internet Service Provider pulls the IP address from the DNS associated with the domain name (in this case 126.96.36.199).
Where does the A record come into play? Well, the A record is one of the records in your DNS settings that contains the information about the IP address of your server. The DNS settings are updated at your domain registrar. If you registered your domain with GoDaddy, keep on reading to find out how to add or update your A record.
2. Adding or editing an A record at GoDaddy
The first thing you will need to do is log in to your GoDaddy account. Click on the user icon and you will see a full-width drop-down, just like the image above.
Click on ‘Manage Domains’ and you will be taken to the ‘My Domains’ interface. There will be 4 interface styles to choose from:
- Card view
- Simple list view
- Advanced list view
- Advanced list view (beta)
You can switch between them by clicking the 4 icons that are on the top right at the same height as the title ‘My Domains’.
The Advanced list view and its beta counterpart are the same, with the beta version being the new interface that will soon replace the old version.
We will show all the views and how to get to the DNS settings with each one and you can choose whichever suits you the best.
The ‘Card view’ will display all of your domains in a form of cards. This is the default view that should be displayed first when you enter ‘My domains’ interface. In the unlikely event you landed in another view, click on the 4 squares at the top right that represent the ‘Card view’.
Next, there will be a Gear icon in the top right corner of the card. Click on it and you will see the drop-down with two items. One of them is ‘Manage DNS’ which is the one you should click.
Simple list view
The Simple List View will list all of your available domains. Next to every domain name there will be 3 dots that expand into a drop-down. Select the ‘Manage DNS’ and you will be taken to the DNS settings page.
Advanced list view (old)
Similar to the previous view, there will be an arrow pointed down next to the domain name. Click it to reveal a drop-down menu and click on ‘Manage DNS’.
Advanced list view (beta)
The Advanced list view is a bit different in design. It looks modern and has some different functionalities, but they are not relevant to this tutorial, therefore, they will not be discussed.
The procedure is basically the same with this list view – click on the three dots next to the domain name and you will see a drop-down. Then, click on the ‘Manage DNS’.
The DNS settings
Regardless of the view you chose, you will see the same page after clicking the ‘Manage DNS’ button.
Adding an A record
If you need to add an A record, click the blue word ‘ADD’ in the bottom right corner. This will add a new row to the list of DNS records which will allow you to choose which type of record you want to add.
Choose ‘A’ from the drop-down.
After you choose ‘A’, three more fields will appear – Host, Points to and TTL. The ‘Host’ field should only contain the ‘@’ symbol, while the ‘Points to’ field is where you add your Hosting Server IP. You can find the IP of your hosting server at your Hosting Provider’s dashboard. If in doubt, reach out to your Hosting Provider’s support team.
The TTL is the abbreviation of Time-To-Live. In this case the TTL is 1 hour which means that this A record gets re-validated every hour. You should leave this at 1 Hour.
Regardless of the TTL value, it might take some time for the changes to take effect. This can last up to 36 hours and this is something we call the ‘propagation time’. It was named like that because it takes some time for the DNS change to propagate through the network and get updated in all registrars.
Editing an existing A record
It is possible that you will need to edit your DNS setings in certain situations.For example, you might’ve changed hosts or migrated to a different hosting account with the same Hosting Provider, which means – new IP address. If that is the case, you will need to locate the existing A record and update its ‘Value’ field.
All the way to the right, you will see a pencil icon. Click on it to edit the A record.
The field you will have to edit is the ‘Points to’. It is a bit confusing because the previous view showed the IP address under ‘value’, but it is the same thing. Enter the desired IP address and click save. Again, the propagation time can be up to 36 hours, but it is usually less.
3. Adding an A record for a subdomain at GoDaddy
Some hosting accounts do not require adding an A record for a subdomain because they have an internal redirection system. For instance, the cPanel has the ‘Add-on Domains’ and ‘Subdomains’ settings that allow you to do so.
In case you need to host a subdomain on a separate server for some reason, you will need to add an A record for it because it will not have the same IP address as the main domain.
If that’s the case, open the DNS settings in a manner described in previous sections. After that, click on the blue word ‘ADD’, but this time, the ‘Host’ value should be the name of the subdomain.
For example, if your site name is mysite.com and you want to host a subdomain with URL mysubdomain.mysite.com, you will need to enter ‘mysubdomain’ in the field ‘Host’. Click save and wait for the changes to take effect.
4. Other record types
Apart from the A records, the DNS settings can have CNAME, MX, NS, TXT and other records. These are intended for various uses.
- The CNAME record can point a domain/subdomain to another hostname
- The MX records definse mail exchange routing
- NS are the records that indicate the nameservers
- TXT records can verify ownership and contain SPF data
Depending on your domain registrar and their policies, you may or may not need to set them up yourself. You can always reach out to their support because some of these settings can be confusing and the problem gets more complicated because, often, the domain registrar and hosting provider you use are not the same company.