Canonical Name (CNAME)

What is Canonical Name (CNAME)?

A CNAME (Canonical Name) record is a fundamental component of the Domain Name System (DNS) that allows domain names to be aliased or mapped to other domains. Unlike other DNS records that directly point to an IP address, a CNAME record points to another domain.

Think of a CNAME record as a series of clues leading to a final destination. When a domain has a CNAME record, it serves as a clue that leads to another domain with a CNAME record, and this chain continues until it reaches the ultimate destination, which is a domain with an A record—an IP address.

A CNAME (Canonical Name) is a DNS record that allows a domain name to be aliased or mapped to another domain name.

To illustrate, let’s consider the example of a blog with the domain “” that has a CNAME record pointing to “” (without the “blog” subdomain). When a DNS server encounters the DNS records for “,” it initiates another DNS lookup, this time for “” The lookup returns the IP address of “” through its A record. Therefore, in this scenario, “” can be considered the true or canonical name of “”

CNAME records offer flexibility and simplify domain management, especially in cases where multiple subdomains need to point to the same destination IP address. CNAME records can make changes at the target domain level, affecting all associated aliases or subdomains simultaneously.

How to set a CNAME

To set a CNAME (Canonical Name) record, you typically need access to the DNS management settings of your domain registrar or DNS hosting provider. Here’s a general step-by-step guide:

1. Log in to your domain registrar or DNS hosting provider’s website.
2. Locate the DNS management or DNS settings section for the domain you want to modify.
3. Look for an option to add a new record and select CNAME from the available record types.
4. Enter the desired alias or subdomain in the “Name” or “Alias” field. For example, if you want to create a CNAME for “,” enter “subdomain” in this field.
5. In the “Value” or “Points to” field, enter the target domain or canonical name that you want the CNAME to point to. This should be the domain name that you want the alias or subdomain to resolve to.
6. Save or apply the changes. The interface may use terms like “Save,” “Update,” or “Apply Changes.”

Note: The specific steps may vary depending on your domain registrar or DNS hosting provider. If you’re unsure, it’s recommended to consult their documentation or contact their support for assistance in setting up a CNAME record for your domain.


1. How does a CNAME record differ from other DNS records?
A CNAME record differs from other DNS records in pointing to another domain rather than directly to an IP address.

2. Can a CNAME record coexist with other records for the same domain?
No, a CNAME record cannot coexist with other records (such as MX, TXT, or NS records) for the same domain. It is recommended to remove conflicting records before adding a CNAME record.

3. Can a CNAME record point to a different domain name entirely?
Yes, a CNAME record can point to any valid domain name, even if it is a different domain from the one where the record is defined.

4. Can a CNAME record point to an IP address directly?
No, a CNAME record cannot point directly to an IP address. Its purpose is to map a domain name to another domain.

5. Can I create a CNAME record for the root domain (e.g.,
No, creating a CNAME record for the root domain is impossible. CNAME records can only be created for subdomains or aliases.

6. Are there any limitations or considerations when using CNAME records?
When using CNAME records, it’s important to note that there can be performance implications due to the additional DNS lookups required. Additionally, some services, like the root domain and certain email services, may require specific record types and cannot be aliased using CNAME records.

7. How long does it take to propagate changes to CNAME records?
Changes to DNS records, including CNAME records, typically take some time to propagate across DNS servers worldwide. This propagation process can range from a few minutes to several hours, although it can occasionally take longer.

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