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Benefits of using your site's DNS CNAME Target

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June 20, 2023

According to, "DNS lets users connect to websites using domain names instead of IP addresses."

"The Domain Name System (DNS) is the phonebook of the Internet. Humans access information online through domain names, like or Web browsers interact through Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. DNS translates domain names to IP addresses so browsers can load Internet resources."

About the Nexcess Global Domain Name System (DNS)

Keep your DNS records fast, safe, and stable with 100% uptime, multiple redundancies, and advanced security features when you use the Nexcess Global DNS.

How DNS works

Whenever you visit a website, DNS returns an IP address, allowing your browser to connect to a website’s server. You can learn more about managing DNS and DNS Zones in the Nexcess Knowledge Base.

Why is DNS lookup important?

If you’ve recently switched hosting providers or started a new website, the first few days are a critical time for DNS propagation. If your DNS isn’t working, your website will not load. Global DNS is the critical glue that keeps websites online and connected.

Nexcess and our DNS service

A good DNS service is an integral part of your hosting infrastructure. It provides a reliable way for visitors to find your website. So you get the most out of your hosting solution, Nexcess provides a DNS service and manages both the cost and implementation.

Why use Nexcess DNS servers?

We offer a network of 15 DNS servers distributed around the world. Each of these is strategically positioned to provide a local DNS server option for your site’s visitors. This can significantly reduce first-visit load times.

We provide Nexcess DNS as a free service to all of our clients and moving is as simple as pointing your domain. Contact support or follow the guide below to do so.

Our DNS servers are currently located in:

  • Amsterdam
  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Frankfurt
  • London
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York
  • Paris
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Singapore
  • Sydney
  • Tokyo

About the benefits of using the Nexcess Global Domain Name System (DNS)

We strongly recommend using Nexcess Global DNS, as the best practice for your site’s DNS.

If you are unable to configure custom name servers, or are looking to set up an A record, we recommend a DNS CNAME record that points to the DNS CNAME Target listed in your Nexcess Client Portal instead.

What is a DNS "canonical name" CNAME record?

According to, "A "canonical name" (CNAME) record points from an alias domain to a "canonical" domain.

"A DNS CNAME record is used in lieu of an A record, when a domain or subdomain is an alias of another domain. All DNS CNAME records must point to a domain, never to an IP address. Imagine a scavenger hunt where each clue points to another clue, and the final clue points to the treasure. A domain with a DNS CNAME record is like a clue that can point you to another clue (another domain with a DNS CNAME record) or to the treasure (a domain with an A record)."

About the benefits of using the Nexcess DNS service or your site's DNS CNAME Target

Using Nexcess Global DNS or your site’s DNS CNAME Target provides your site with several advantages.

Specifically, it allows our support team to seamlessly modify what IP address your site is pointing towards. The end result is a quicker IP change that take less time to go into effect where our team can make the change on your behalf.

Note that if you are already using Nexcess Global DNS due to pointing your domain name to Nexcess DNS services, you inherently gain these benefits and will not need to make use of the DNS CNAME Target with your site:

Note that if you are already using Nexcess Global DNS due to pointing your domain name to Nexcess DNS services, you inherently gain these benefits and will not need to make use of the DNS CNAME Target with your site.

Below are a few examples of real world situations where the flexibility and speed of using Nexcess Global DNS or the DNS CNAME Target would be beneficial.

1. Quicker migrations

If you ever decide to move your site to another hosting plan within our platform, sites already using Nexcess Global DNS or the DNS CNAME Target can be migrated seamlessly without requiring your direct action.

The migration would start with our migration team as normal. However, no action would be required on your part to point your site’s domain to its new host. Our team would internally update the necessary records, and your site would seamlessly switch to its new location.

2. Quicker attack mitigation

In the unlikely event that your site is targeted by high volumes of malicious traffic, use of Nexcess Global DNS or the DNS CNAME Target host affords our support team with additional options to relocate your site with no changes required from yourself.

While not always part of the solution to an attack, a site configured this way allows our support team to migrate the site to another host quickly and without long DNS propagation times.

3. An IP address is still required

Still looking for your IP? While the DNS CNAME Target should be usable in virtually every situation where you might otherwise use an IP, you can still find your current site IP address within the portal located on the Environment page of the Site Dashboard.

Watch it all come together

Nexcess is your all-in-one platform for getting your site off the ground. We manage your website’s critical needs, so you can build a profitable business.

For 24-hour assistance any day of the year, contact our support team by email or through your Nexcess Client Portal.

Note about the original publication date

This article was originally published in August 2021. It has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Brian Oates
Brian Oates

Brian Oates is the Technical Project Manager for Nexcess. He brings 18 years of experience in the technology sector. He began work as an Assistant Technical Manager for Acenet. He became a Perl Developer at CPanel before being promoted to Product Owner. At Nexcess, he leads the product design of and delivered completed products that have enhanced the user experience of Nexcess customers.

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