start of authority

An SOA Record is short for Start of Authority. What does that mean? The SOA Record specifies authoritative information about a DNS zone, including the primary name server, the email of the domain administrator, the domain serial number, and several timers relating to refreshing the zone.

Here’s an SOA Record example:

# dig SOA

;; ANSWER SECTION: 86400 IN SOA 2014102407 86400 7200 3600000 86400

The example shows a dig result for The actual SOA Record is the information following “IN SOA”. For this example, the actual SOA Record is: 2014102407 86400 7200 3600000 86400

  1. The primary name server for the domain.
  2. The responsible ‘party’ for the domain. Typically an email address with the ‘@’ character replaced with a period.
  3. A timestap that’s updated whenever the DNS Zone changes. 2014102407
  4. The number of seconds before the zone should be refreshed. 86400
  5. The number of seconds before a failed refresh should be retried. 7200
  6. The upper limit in seconds before a zone is considered no longer authoritative. 3600000
  7. The negative result TTL (for example, how long a resolver should consider a negative result for a subdomain to be valid before retrying). 86400

All of these values are the default values set by cPanel.

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