A simple note on Reverse DNS Record

Why this topic important? What are the uses of rDNS record?

Yeah, we all know about forward DNS lookup and its working. It’s a topic directly focusing on “What is reverse DNS?”

A domain name system (DNS) is simply points a domain name or hostname to an IP address. Simply, it’s resolve human readable hostname or domain like www.crybit.com to machine readable IP address like The concept of rDNS is just opposite to DNS, which means, it convert IP to hostname.

Forward DNS --> Domain or Host name to IP address
Reverse DNS --> IP address to Host name

It has some other names. The reverse DNS record is also known as the PTR record, pointer record or IP resolver. It plays some important role in email functionality. Without a proper reverse DNS entry the email from a sender server may consider as Spam email at the recipient end.


How to check the forward and reverse DNS for a domain?

It’s simple to check the reverse and forward DNS entry. We can use different command line (CLI) tools to check this, like dig, nslookup, host commands. I prefer HOST command for reverse DNS lookup, which displays the simple output. Here is the example:

This is Google’s IP

Reverse DNS lookup

[[email protected] ~]$ host domain name pointer ord08s11-in-f14.1e100.net.

Try a lookup on this rDNS result which you have. See the snippet below:

[[email protected] ~]$ host ord08s11-in-f14.1e100.net
ord08s11-in-f14.1e100.net has address

See this topic >> Different ways/commands to check the RDNS entry for your IP Address <<

Why reverse DNS lookup is important in email functionality?

When the sending server, consider a VPS or a dedicated server, vps.crybit.com sends an email to Gmail or somewhere else, from the address [email protected]
It will connect to the Gmail server and tell it, “Hello, I’m vps.crybit.com.”

Then, Gmail will pull an rDNS record on the IP that vps.crybit.com is connecting from. If the rDNS record comes up as vps.crybit.com, then Gmail will be happy. If there is a mismatch on reverse and forward lookup, probably the recipient server consider that email as a Spam.

I’ve a domain with dedicated IP address!!

In this case, if your domain is assigned with a dedicated IP address and the reverse lookup is perfectly matching to its froward DNS, some email servers will accept that because the mail server IP is able to map back to itself even if its hostname claim does not match. In a cPanel server this can be seen by checking the /etc/mailips file. The domain without a dedicated IP address will use the main share IP address to send emails by default.

Cool..! Let me know if you have any questions!!

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Arunlal Ashok

Engineer at Endurance International Group. Linux lover.

Always happy for an open discussion! Write to arun (@) crybit (dot) com.

2 thoughts on “A simple note on Reverse DNS Record

  1. I love the content here and I wanted to share my personal experience while loosing and Must try this value add a supplement.

  2. nice one. The domain name system (DNS) simply points a domain name or hostname to an IP address. The steps you sharing to check the forward and reverse DNS for a domain is really helpful to all.

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