What Are Pointer Records and Why You Should Set Them Up for Your Website

The internet lets anyone be whoever they want to be. This fact gets exploited by hackers and spammers, which causes problems. That’s why there are obstacles put in place to ensure identification. 

When your company sends out an email blast, some servers might reject the message if it can’t verify the website or IP address that sent it. If your information doesn’t point back to your company, then email servers can’t be sure that you’re not a spammer. 

But there is a solution: pointer records.

Pointer records (PTR records) are one of the records used by the domain name system (DNS), which acts as a directory for the internet. While DNS typically uses domain names to locate IP addresses, reverse DNS does the opposite with the help of PTR records.

There are multiple uses for PTR records, but they are mainly used for security. The majority of email servers use them during their anti-spam check. But reverse DNS can also be used for marketing purposes to look up the IP addresses of visitors who use your website. 

Learning what PTR records are can improve your web development skills and help put preventative measures in for your email marketing

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • How PTR records fit into DNS 
  • What a PTR record is
  • What a PTR record is used for
  • If your website needs a PTR record 

PTR Records Are Part of the Domain Name System

DNS is the process of linking website addresses (URLs) to IP addresses. When someone searches for a URL, that query is pinged to multiple name servers until the IP address is found and delivered back to the computer. This can be called a forward DNS lookup. 

There are multiple DNS records that name servers store, like a Mail Exchange Entry that sends emails to the right mail server. The foundational DNS record is the A record, or Address Record, that connects a domain to an IP address. 

Reverse DNS (rDNS) goes backward, which means it uses an IP address to find a domain name. This process involves pointer records. 

What Is a PTR Record? 

Put simply, a PTR record is the reverse of an A record. PTR records serve as an identification factor and confirm that an IP address points back to the host. 

PTR records are straightforward and contain your hostname, IP address, and time to live (TLL), which is how long the information stays before being discarded.

What Is PTR Used For?

PTR records are mostly used for security and verification. Most standard email servers like Gmail and Yahoo Mail use anti-spam filters that use reverse DNS. This ensures the domain names in the email addresses are connected to those IP addresses. 

It’s necessary for email marketers to set up PTR records. 

If you experience other email issues, like bounce back or blocked email, it could be due to missing or misconfigured PTR records. 

Reverse DNS can also be helpful in other ways. B2B companies can use the IP addresses of those who visit their website to gain useful information about their audience. 

Do I Need PTR Records?

The short answer is yes. PTR records can save time and prevent problems. Email is an integral part of business, and it’s crucial to prevent any issues before they arise. Google recommends PTR records as part of its best practices.

Not only do PTR records help make the email process smoother by providing that verification, but it also provides credibility to users. 

You never want your emails to bounce back or get sent to spam. It harms your trustworthiness, and your customers will wonder why your emails didn’t reach their inboxes. 

The good news is PTR records are simple to configure. 

Hosting platforms give you control of your DNS records. Bluehost provides easy to manage DNS records on the cPanel of select hosting plans. 

You can also make sure that everything is set up correctly with tools like MX Toolbox.

Pointer records are used during reverse DNS lookup, and they connect IP addresses to hostnames. 

PTR records are used for verification. Mail servers use them to make sure emails come from the locations they claim to come from. And the majority of email servers search PTR records in their anti-spam check. 

DNS is a vital part of making sure your website and traffic run without issue. Set your website up for success by configuring all the essential DNS records. 

Do you want to make changes to your website? Check out Bluehost’s hosting packages to get started. 

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Desiree Johnson
Desiree Johnson | Content Specialist
Desiree Johnson is a Content Specialist at Bluehost where she writes helpful guides and articles, teaches webinars and assists with other marketing and WordPress community work.

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