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A Guide to DNS and Email Delivery Terminology

Though Bill Shakespeare believed a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, when it comes to internet infrastructure words and names matter. This statement may seem odd to the tech neophyte because talking with a network architect or reading a Gartner report can quickly sound like acronym soup: DNS, CDN, WAF, DDoS. Are these important terms or the chart for an eye exam?

They are important terms. And, as more and more CIOs are increasingly business orientated, ensuring everyone is speaking the same language is critical.

Additionally, with Deloitte predicting that this holiday season, for the first time, online spending will exceed in-store spending, the performance of a company’s website and applications has never been more important.

That is why we have dusted off our popular terminology guides for the Domain Name System (DNS) and Email Delivery. Use these as a cheat sheet to understanding internet infrastructure short-hand.

Here are a few examples to pique your curiosity:

GSLB: Global Server Load Balancing responds to DNS requests by directing traffic using the best performing server in a geographic region. The value of GSLB has increased with the rise in distributed online applications and services. It has also evolved to embrace predictive, intelligent routing based on real-time internet conditions. 

ISP: internet service providers are those providing their customers access to the internet. ISPs provide the onramp to the internet for both users and service providers.

SoA Record: Start of Authority record indicates the DNS server with the best source of information in a zone along with some basic zone configuration settings. It has the most authority to make changes in the domain or answer questions.

TLD: Top Level Domain – .com, .net, .org, etc.

DKIM: DomainKeys Identified Mail is an email authentication framework system that allows mailbox providers to validate mail from your domain against a public (DNS) and private (embedded within the email) key, thus validating mail from your domain, protecting your brand and customers.

DMARC: Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance is a standard using SPF & DKIM to authenticate email sends in order to help eliminate phishing emails.

For more insider knowledge download The Authoritative Guide to DNS Terminology and The Master List of Email Delivery Terminology.


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Whois: Adam Coughlin

Adam Coughlin is a Senior Manager, Corporate Communications at Oracle Dyn Global Business Unit, a pioneer in managed DNS and a leader in cloud-based infrastructure that connects users with digital content and experiences across a global internet.