What is a CNAME Lookup Tool?

A CNAME lookup tool is a free tool used to retrieve and verify CNAME (Canonical Name) records associated with a specific domain name. Think of it like a phone book lookup for websites.

To find the CNAME records associated with your domain, simply enter your domain name in Smartlead’s CNAME Lookup tool. 

The CNAME lookup tool is useful for troubleshooting DNS configurations, verifying DNS records, and understanding the redirection paths of domain names on the internet. You also can understand how domains are mapped to other domains through CNAME records.

What is a CNAME Record?

A CNAME record, short for Canonical Name record, acts as an alias within the DNS system.  Imagine having a nickname for your website.  A CNAME (Canonical Name) record is a type of DNS (Domain Name System) record used to alias one domain name to another. It allows multiple domain names to resolve to the same IP address. 

When a user queries the alias domain, the DNS resolver follows the CNAME record and resolves it to the canonical domain, effectively redirecting the user to the target domain. CNAME records are commonly used for creating subdomains, managing website redirections, and simplifying domain management, especially when the canonical domain frequently changes or points to different servers.

Example of a CNAME Record




Time to live (TTL)





Let's say you have a website www.yourcompany.com hosted on a server with the domain name webserver1.yourcompany.com. 

You can create a CNAME record for www.yourcompany.com that points to webserver1.yourcompany.com.  When someone types www.yourcompany.com in their browser, the CNAME record directs them to the actual website location.

  • www is the subdomain and is an identifier of the record.

  • CNAME is the DNS record type.

  • com is the value of the record. That means www will resolve to the IP address of the domain abc.com.

  • 3600 is TTL (time to live) is the expiry time of the CNAME record. It's expressed in seconds. Here 3600 means that the records will be updated after each hour.

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What's the difference between a CNAME record and an A record?

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CNAME Record: Points a domain name (alias) to another domain name (the actual website).
A Record: Points a domain name to an IP address (the location of the website's server).

Can I chain CNAME records together?

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It is technically possible but generally not recommended. Chaining CNAME records can introduce additional DNS lookups, potentially slowing down website loading times.

How do CNAME records impact SEO?

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While not a direct ranking factor, CNAME records can influence SEO in some ways:

  • Subdomain Authority: Search engines may consider the authority of the canonical domain to which the CNAME record points.

  • Content Relevance: Using the CNAME record, ensure the content on the canonical domain aligns with the subdomain for optimal SEO results.

Are there any security risks associated with CNAME records?

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If a CNAME record inadvertently points to a malicious website, it could expose users to malware or phishing attacks. It's crucial to verify the legitimacy of the domain a CNAME record points to.

How do I perform a CNAME lookup?

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Several free online CNAME lookup tools are available, like the one provided by Smartlead. These tools typically require you to enter the domain name you want to investigate and then retrieve and display the corresponding CNAME record (if it exists).