With regard to nameservers, what does the term "authoritative" mean?
In the context of DNS (Domain Name System), the term "authoritative" refers to a specific type of DNS server that holds the official and up-to-date information about a particular domain name.
An authoritative nameserver, also known as an authoritative DNS server, is responsible for storing and providing the authoritative DNS records for a domain. These records include information such as the IP addresses associated with the domain name, mail server settings (MX records), subdomains, and other DNS resource records.
When a resolving nameserver receives a DNS query for a specific domain, it follows a hierarchical process to find the authoritative nameserver for that domain. Once it identifies the authoritative nameserver, it sends a query to that server to obtain the accurate and current information for the requested domain.
The authoritative nameserver is considered the source of truth for the DNS information related to a domain. It maintains and manages the DNS records for the domain and is responsible for responding to queries regarding that domain.
Each domain has its own set of authoritative nameservers, typically managed by the domain owner or their DNS provider. The authoritative nameservers for a domain are specified in the domain's DNS settings, often referred to as the domain's DNS delegation.
In summary, authoritative nameservers are the DNS servers that hold and provide the definitive and current DNS information for a specific domain. They play a critical role in the DNS infrastructure by responding to queries from resolving nameservers and supplying the necessary DNS records for domain name resolution.