Basic Guide to Google Apps DNS Settings

This guide is a list of common terms you may encounter when managing the DNS settings of your domain. Click a term below to jump to the description of the term and its practical use with Google Apps. See the corresponding Basic Guide to Domain Names for terms related to the domains specifically.


DNS stands for Domain Name System. This system is in place to organize and identify domains. DNS is the phone book of the Web. While a phone book translates a name like “Acme Pizza” into the right phone number to call, the DNS translates a URL or web address (such as “”) into the correct IP address to contact (for example “”) in order to get the information that you want (in this case, the Google homepage).

For some Google Apps functionality, you need to adjust DNS records on your domain. For example, DNS is used to determine where to deliver email for your domain with MX records. To start using Gmail with your Google Apps domain, you need to point your MX records to our mail servers first.

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MX Record

Mail Exchange (MX) records direct email to servers for a domain. Multiple MX records can be defined for a domain, each with a different priority where the lowest number is the highest priority. If mail can’t be delivered using the first priority record, the second priority record is used, and so on.

To set up email with Google Apps, you need to point your MX records to the Google mail servers first.

See Understand MX records for more details about creating and modifying MX records.

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TXT Record

Text or TXT records may contain arbitrary text but can also be used to define machine readable text. TXT records are used primarily with Google Apps for domain ownership verification purposes. Also, you’ll need to use TXT records to implement email abuse prevention methods such as SPFDKIM, and DMARC.

See Understand TXT records for instructions on creating and modifying TXT records.

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CNAME Record

Canonical Name or CNAME records link an alias name to another canonical domain name. For instance, might link to You’ll need to use CNAME records if you want to configure a custom URL for specific Google Apps services or a Google Site (like

See Understand CNAME records for more details about creating and modifying CNAME records and Create a custom web address for an example use of CNAME records.

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A Record

Address or A records (also known as host records) are the central records of DNS. These records link a domain to an IP address.

You need A records in Google Apps to forward your naked domain. See the Understand A records for more details about creating and modifying A records.

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NS Record

Name server (NS) records determine which servers will communicate DNS information for a domain. Generally, you will have primary and secondary name server records for your domain. If using Google Apps, you may configure NS records with your registrar or domain hosting service that point to Google servers for DNS queries.

See Identify your domain host for instructions on determining the holder of your NS records.

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Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

This is the address of a resource on the Internet, the same value included in your browser’s location bar. For example, the URL of the Google Apps Help Center is

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Example DNS configuration

Here’s an example of a possible DNS configuration for a domain using Google Apps.

Note that you don’t fill in the domain name for which you’re configuring the DNS. Instead, the @ symbol is used to indicate the domain name for which you’re configuring the DNS.

Name / Host / Alias Record Type Value / Answer / Destination
Blank or @ A
Blank or @ A
Blank or @ A
Blank or @ A
mail CNAME
Blank or @ TXT google-site-verification=6tTalLzrBXBO4Gy9700TAbpg2QTKzGYEuZ_Ls69jle8
Blank or @ TXT v=spf1 ~all

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