It is worth noting here that example.com can be called the apex, root, or naked domain name. One option would be to set up another A record, pointing to the same IP address as for example.com. This is completely valid, and is what the real example.com does, but it does not scale well. What happens if you need to update the IP address that example.com points to? You would also need to update it for the www subdomain, and any others you may use.
It’s important to note that the CNAME is that piece to the right hand side. The left hand side is the alias name, or label. Another common use is for the www subdomain. Having purchased example.com you likely also want users who type in www.example.com to see the same content.
If a CNAME record was used to alias www.example.com to point to example.com then only the root domain would have to be updated, as all other nodes point to it.
When your device sends a query that reaches a name server, the server looks in the domain’s record node for an A record, and the associated stored IP address (example.com: 18.104.22.168). This is then returned to the device, to be used to send a request to the correct web server to retrieve the requested webpage or resource.
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