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Managing DNS

Domain Name System (DNS) records describe the different characteristics of a domain, such as where email addresses, the domain and any of its subdomains are hosted. DNS is like a phonebook for the internet. Every domain or website address is translated into an IP address through DNS.

Without DNS performing these translations, you would be forced to memorize the IP addresses of all of the sites you like to visit.


Be careful! DNS records are vital to ensuring that your store is accessible by your customers. For this reason, only experienced users should make DNS changes.


Mail Servers

The Email & DNS Records section is where you will manage your domain, subdomain and email records. To get started, go to Server SettingsEmail & DNS Records.

The Mail Servers tab is where you will edit your Mail Exchange (MX) records. MX records control email hosting by pointing to the mail server(s) responsible for accepting and sending email messages.

Mail Server tab contents

Use I want to forward my shoppers' emails to a set of email addresses to set up a forwarding email address. Note that you can create multiple forwarding addresses and they can all forward to the same email. See Email in BigCommerce to learn more.

Use I'm setting up an external email hosting solution to use an existing third-party email host like GoDaddy or Zoho. See Third-Party Email Hosting to learn more.

Use I want to use Google G Suite for emails sent to my store's domain if you are using G Suite as your email host. See Using G Suite for Email to learn more.


Web Hosts

The Web Hosts tab is where you will edit your DNS records. The three most commonly used record types are A Records, CNAME, and TXT Record.

Web Hosts tab contents

The most basic type of DNS record is the A Record, and it is used to point a domain name to a specific IP address. Domains purchased through BigCommerce will have this record automatically created for you. If you purchased a domain from a third-party, it can be pointed to BigCommerce via an A Record, but it is not recommended.

See Pointing an A Record to BigCommerce to learn more.

Another commonly used type of DNS entry are CNAME (canonical name) records. CNAMEs are typically used to point a subdomain or domain to another root domain. If your domain was purchased from a third-party, and you prefer to keep it hosted there, but would like your store to be connected, you can point a subdomain to BigCommerce via a CNAME record.

This would allow you to keep your root domain ( with your current host and have your store be a subdomain, such as or See Pointing a CNAME to BigCommerce to learn more.

Text (TXT) records are used to store free form text-based information about a domain such as who is hosting it and contact information. Most commonly they are used as a Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record. SPF records help reduce email spam and allows BigCommerce to send mail on your behalf.

These will commonly be supplied to you by your third-party mail provider. See Third-Party Email Hosting to learn more.


Editing DNS Records

Existing records can be edited by changing the record type from the Type drop-down menu and by changing the contents of the Fully Qualified Host, Value and Time to live fields. To delete a record, click the X to the right of that record. When you are finished making changes, click Save.

Sample DNS Record


Adding DNS Records

Begin creating the DNS record by clicking Add another located at the bottom of the list. Then select the record type from the Type drop-down menu and fill the DNS record fields accordingly. When you are finished, click Save.

Add another DNS Record link


Zone Details

The Zone Details tab is where you can edit the Start of Authority (SOA) record which controls the various timing elements of the DNS zone file. Note that you will only be able to edit some aspects of the zone file and in most cases will not need to change the default settings.

Zone Details tab contents

The Refresh interval is how often (in seconds) secondary DNS servers check with the primary server to see if any changes have been made to the domain's zone file. The default value is three hours (10800 seconds).

The Retry interval is the time (in seconds) a secondary DNS server waits before checking the primary server again after a failed attempt to check for a zone file update. This time is typically less than the refresh interval and values vary from 180 (three minutes) to 900 (15 minutes) seconds. The default value is one hour (3600 seconds).

The Expire interval indicates when the zone data is no longer valid when the primary nameserver cannot be contacted. Applies to secondary servers only. The default value is one week (604800 seconds).

The Minimum (negative caching time to live) is the time (in seconds) during which a secondary server should cache a negative response. The maximum value allowed by BIND 9 for this parameter is 3 hours (10800 seconds). The default value is three hours (10800 seconds).

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