Broadly speaking, the Domain Name System (DNS) associates domain names (such as example.com) with their IP addresses (such as 220.127.116.11). Within DNS, there are several types of records, such as A, CNAME, MX, PTR, and TXT.
But what is a TXT record, and what is it used for? Fundamentally, all that a TXT record does is associate arbitrary text with a domain or host name. The text can be intended for humans to read, or for remote systems to process. Here are some examples of common uses for TXT records:
To view the TXT records for a domain, you can use an online tool such as https://mxtoolbox.com/TXTLookup.aspx. Alternatively, you can use a command line program like dig. For example:
user@host:~$ dig TXT example.com ;; QUESTION SECTION: ;example.com. IN TXT ;; ANSWER SECTION: example.com. 3198 IN TXT "v=spf1 -all" example.com. 3198 IN TXT "wgyf8z8cgvm2qmxpnbnldrcltvk4xqfn"
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