What is the Primary DNS zone?

DNS is the magic that allows the Internet to function. It helps people and computers to communicate, even though they speak very different languages. The people speak with names and the computers with IP addresses and codes. Now we will examine one element of that “magic” – the Primary DNS zone!

What is the Primary DNS zone?

The Primary DNS zone is an administrative unit of the DNS that permits control on the part (zone) that the upper level in the DNS hierarchy allowed it. A higher-level administrator delegates zones to lower levels. The Root servers to TLD servers, the TLD servers to Primary Authoritative name servers (secondary domain name), etc.

That specific zone is the primary source of information about the domain name. 

So, now that that an administrator has received authority for a zone, what can it do with it?

You, as a user of a DNS service, get the authority to manage your domain. You can create a Primary DNS zone and add or remove DNS records inside. The DNS records have instructions that DNS clients and servers understand. Typical DNS records that you will find inside it are:

A record – a link between a domian name and the IPv4 address where it can be found.

AAAA record – the connection between domain name and its IPv6 address.

CNAME record – connects a hostname and its canonical name.

MX record – a link between a hostname and the name of the email servers that should receive emails for it.

NS record – shows the authoritative name servers for the domain name.

SOA – show the start of authority. To which server should the rest update and how often.

TXT – multiple purposes, including authentication and verification purposes like DKIM, SPF, and DMARC.

So, we already defined that all the modifications related to a domain are performed in its Primary DNS zone. If it is that important, how do we take care of it?

The Primary DNS zone and the Secondary DNS zones

We can combine its use with multiple Secondary DNS zones. The Secondary zones are just copies of the Primary zone. They have a mechanism to get updates (the latest DNS records) directly from the Primary name server and respond to DNS queries from clients. That way, you will have not only a single Primary DNS zone that can answer but multiple servers. That will redistribute the traffic and make it a lot easier for the main one.

You can imagine, if there are more servers with the answers for a domain, that will boost the speed.

Also, if the Primary Authoritative DNS server where the Primary DNS zone is located is down for any reason, you will have other Secondary DNS servers still answering DNS queries. They can keep answering as long as the TTL values of the DNS records are still valid. After that, they will delete the expired DNS records and look for the new ones from the Primary.

Where is located?

The Primary DNS zone is located on a Primary Authoritative name server. It can be your own DNS server on-premise, a single remote server, or you could use the network of a DNS provider and have multiple DNS servers which can host your Primary DNS zones.

Conclusion.

The Primary DNS zone is one of the components of the DNS. It has authority on a part of the DNS namespace. Inside it, you can host DNS records and manage the domain name with them.

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