About CNAME records

A Canonical Name or CNAME record is a type of DNS record that maps an alias name to a true or canonical domain name. CNAME records are typically used to map a subdomain such as www or mail to the domain hosting that subdomain’s content. For example, a CNAME record can map the web address www.example.com to the actual web site for the domain example.com.

When using Google enterprise services, you might need to add a CNAME record to your domain's DNS settings to customize a web address, verify domain ownership, or reset your administrator password. See below to learn more and add CNAME records now.

When should I add a CNAME record?

If you purchased your domain from a Google partner while signing up for your account, you don't need to add a CNAME record to verify domain ownership as we already know that you own the domain. Also, you might not have to add a CNAME record to customize a web or service address (follow the appropriate link above for details).

How CNAME records work

A CNAME record is stored in your domain’s DNS settings as a pair of values. One value identifies the alias you're creating the record for, which is typically a subdomain like www or mail. The other value identifies the domain the alias should point to.

With Google Apps, a CNAME record can direct the web address www.example.com to a web site built in Google Sites for the domain example.com. Another CNAME record can direct mail.example.com to the Gmail sign-in page for example.com. And CNAME records can be created for the domain's other services, as well.

In this way, CNAME records make it easy to run multiple services from one IP address. Each CNAME record associates a service with a domain name, not a physical IP address. The physical IP address is instead identified by your domain's A record. If your IP address changes, you only have to change the A record, not each CNAME record.

Like all DNS records, CNAME records are stored by your domain host and therefore must be changed with the host, not in your Google Admin console.

If you're unfamiliar with the Domain Name System (DNS) or want to brush up on related terms, see DNS basics and Domain name basics.

Set up CNAME records now