Skip to main content


Domain Name Terminology Explained

Sarah Georges on October 2, 2012
WHOIS privacy protection

Mail servers, root servers… what’s the difference? With all the domain name jargon to keep up with, sometimes it can be difficult to separate Glue records from A records. Impress your friends with your breadth of internet knowledge with our handy domain name terminology guide:

A Record: Maps hostnames to the IP address of the host. For example, the A record for points the domain at

ccTLD: Country code Top-Level Domains. These domains are used or reserved for a country, sovereign state or dependent territory.

DNS: DNS is an acronym for Domain Name System or Domain Name Server. The Domain Name System assigns domain names to IP addresses. It allows humans to use simple domain names to load websites instead of having to remember cryptic IP addresses.

Domain hacks: A domain hack is an unconventional domain name which creatively uses domain extensions to spell out names that would otherwise be already registered if by .COM and other popular TLDs. Examples include and

Domain hijacking: The act of acquiring a second-level Internet domain name identical to a famous name or trademark for the purpose of obtaining a financial settlement from the owner for the name

Email client: Through interaction with mail servers, email clients are used to send/receive/read and create email messages. An example is Outlook.

Glue Record: A glue record is an A record created when you specify name servers for your domain.

IP Address: stands for Internet Protocol address. This is a numeric address assigned to computers and servers on the Internet. It’s like a civic address for a computer. Computers need to have an IP address in order to find and communicate with each other over the Internet.

Mail servers: a server that handles email traffic being sent and received across a network run by ISPs (internet service providers) and Webmail providers such as Hover :).

MX Record: A MX record specifies where email should be delivered. Hover’s MX record is An MX record also contains a numeric priority. The lower the priority number, the higher the priority (yes, it sounds a little backwards). Some mail systems have different MX records for different inbound servers. If the first server is busy, the email gets routed to the next available server.

Name Servers: provide mapping of domain names to IP addresses.

POP3 Mailbox: Meaning ‘Post Office Protocol 3’, this is the method by which emails are sent and received. POP3 allows you to send/receive emails via Webmail or an email client such as Outlook.

Root Servers: One of several domain name system (DNS) servers on the Internet that contain the IP addresses of the top level domain (TLD) registry organizations that maintain gTLDs (.com, .net, .gov, etc.) and ccTLDs (.uk, .ca, .fr, etc.).

Webmail: email that is accessed in a web browser. Hover customers can use Hover Webmail or download their email to the email client of their choice.

Zone File: The zone file is a text file that contains a set of DNS records for the domain name. Each domain name that is registered in Hover is pointed at and These are the Hover name servers. These name servers contain a zone file for every domain name registered in Hover. You can edit your zone file using the Manage DNS section under the Account tab when logged into your Hover account.