Troubleshoot CNAME records

After you add a CNAME record to your domain's DNS settings, you can check the status of your change by looking up which CNAME records are currently in effect for your domain. Do this by either using a third-party web service, or running DNS queries from your computer. For example, if you added a CNAME record to customize a web address but the new address doesn't yet work, use one of these tools to see if your change has gone live, and if so, to verify you made the change correctly.

Before troubleshooting CNAME records:

Remember that it can take up to 72 hours for DNS changes to go into effect, depending on the record's TTL value when you made the change. What is the TTL?

If you purchased a domain from a Google partner while signing up for your Google enterprise account, you don't need to add a CNAME record to verify domain ownership (since we already know you own the domain).

Look up CNAME records using a free web service
  1. Enter your domain name in the free CNAME record lookup tool provided by the following website:
    www.mxtoolbox.com

    To query for CNAME records only, precede you domain name with "cname:" as in
    cname: example.com

    To see results for a domain already configured to use Google Apps, enter: spottedfig.org

  2. Submit the form.
  3. Verify the results. Depending on their purpose, the values returned should match those on the CNAME record values page, for example:
    Domain Type Class TTL Answer
    mail.spottedfig.org. CNAME IN 3600 ghs.googlehosted.com.
Run nslookup on your computer

The application nslookup comes with most operating systems and can be used to look up name server details from your Windows, Mac, or Linux command line.

  1. To start the command line in Windows, Click Start > Run, enter "cmd" and press enter.

    On Mac or Linux, start the terminal.

  2. Enter the following command:

    nslookup -q=cname mail.yourdomain.com

  3. Interpret the output as we do in our example, spottedfig.org:
    nslookup -q=cname mail.spottedfig.org

    Will return:

    Server:    8.8.8.8 
    Address:    8.8.8.8#53
     Non-authoritative answer:
    mail.spottedfig.org    canonical name = ghs.googlehosted.com.
    The relevant part of this output comes after the first two lines. Specifically, this tells us that mail.spottedfig.org is pointing to the canonical name ghs.googlehosted.com.
  4. Optionally, examine the first two lines of the nslookup output and ensure the IP address shown (in this case, 8.8.8.8) represents your desired name server. You may have configured a different nameserver depending on your ISP or custom configuration. You can also choose to append 8.8.8.8 to the nslookup command to use the Google Public DNS resolution service:
    nslookup -q=cname mail.spottedfig.org 8.8.8.8

Still need help? Contact your domain host directly for more assistance. If you're trying to verify domain ownership and need help telling your host exactly what you need, see What should I tell my domain host?