If I own a domain name, do I need to set up a website or email service?

In short, no. You don't need to set up any records under the domain name, but you should set up SPF, DKIM and DMARC records even if you don't intend to use email. This is because spammers and scammers will attempt to forge emails pretending to be from your domain name regardless, while having the aforementioned three can recommend receivers that check up these records to reject such spoofed messages. Basically, SPF (Sender Policy Framework) lists which IP addresses can send emails under your domain, DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) provides a public encryption key that can be used to verify a message with a checksum-like "signature" that's generated with the corresponding private key (to prove it's from an authentic sender), while DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (bonus points if you can remember all that!)) adds a policy whether to accept, reject or quarantine emails that fail any of the other two.

If you don't set any DNS records, some domain registrars by default will add their own to www subdomains or IP addresses to point to placeholder websites that refer to them. Many hosting companies, that manage the DNS for you, will also do similar until you set up a website. So bare this in mind if you buy a domain to safeguard it for future use or for later redirection or aliasing.

Last update on 2023-03-07 by DNC admin.

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