There are a lot of DNS record types, at least 50 out there! One of them is called DNS TXT record, and it has a variety of purposes. Yes, it is one simple text record, but it is widely used, so let us explain the TXT record.

TXT record explained

TXT record is a DNS record type that has text information designed for external to the domain sources. The text could be written for people, so it would be easy to read, has enough information and logically organized, or made for computers, and has a more technical format.

Usually, you will see, inside the TXT record, a piece of general information about the domain and an additional part for a particular type of validation.

What’s inside a DNS TXT record?

There are just a few fields that you can manage:

  • Host: Hostname/ domain name, for which we are creating the TXT record.
  • Type: TXT – the DNS record type.
  • TTL: Time, that this record is cached on the recursive server.
  • Points to: Here, you can put a different value, depending on the purpose you decide.

Why do you need a TXT record?

The TXT DNS record has multiple purposes and can work with different software, including various email verification methods for incoming and outgoing email servers:

  • SPF – Sender Policy Framework is a method for authentication of emails, checking which of the servers has the right to send emails for a domain and has different mechanisms in case of wrong sender parameters.
  • DKIM – DomainKeys Identified Mail. It is a cryptographic authentication method for signing mails and proving that they are coming from a particular domain.
  • DMARC – Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance is a security mechanism that proves who the sender of an email is and lowers the number of spam messages.
  • Verification for software – Big companies like Microsoft (Office 365), Google and more, need you to add a TXT record in your DNS zone to prove it is yours. It combines the SPF and DKIM authentication and works with them.

How to probe TXT records

We will use Wikipedia.org for checking their TXT records, but you can just replace it with your domain name and see your TXT records.

Check TXT record on Windows

Open the Command Prompt. Press “Windows key + R”, the Run application will start, and there you can type “cmd”, and press the Enter button. Inside the Command Prompt, we will use the nslookup command.

nslookup -type=txt wikipedia.org

Check TXT record on Linux and macOS

On Linux and macOS, there are many ways that you can check the TXT DNS record. All of them will involve using the Terminal application, so please start it. 

Dig command on Linux and macOS

Dig command is one of the most powerful tools for performing dns queries and debug your dns configuration, for example – what are your current TXT records. Here are some examples how to check the TXT record for a domain name:

dig wikipedia.org TXT

or you can use a specific one to check the DMARC record:

dig _dmarc.wikipedia.org TXT

Host command on Linux and macOS

host -t txt wikipedia.org

Conclusion:

After this article, you should know what the TXT DNS record is, why does TXT record exist, how to check the TXT record so we can easily say, TXT record explained!