DNS AAAA record explained

The DNS AAAA record is one of the essential Domain Name System records. It works with the IPv6 address. Let’s explain a little bit more about it.

What is the DNS AAAA record?

The DNS AAAA record is a DNS resource record. It has the main purpose of linking a domain name with the IP address, which it corresponds to. This is a process that happens every time a domain name is requested for the site to be accessible. The browser will be incapable of finding the IP addresses successfully for the requested domain names. For users will be impossible to reach your website without help from the AAAA record.

The AAAA operates only for IP addresses version 6 (IPv6). It is the most recent IP version.

It translates the domain name into 128 bits. It is a serial number of eight segments, and every one represents 16 bits. They are separated with colons. Each segment contains four hexadecimal digits. For example, 2012:0bd1:49c2:0000:0000:7c2a:0305:4321.

You can use multiple AAAA records. Every one of them is going to point to a different server. Like that, you are implementing a load balancing method called Round-Robin for the same host.

Why do you need the DNS AAAA record?

The DNS AAAA record is an essential part when it comes to your website. For example, if you have your site, which is hosted on a server that handles IPv6. You also have made a purchase of a domain name for your website. The goal here is to link them together. The DNS AAAA record is what you need, and it is serving exactly for that. It makes it possible to map your domain to your server’s IPv6 address.

Structure 

You will recognize this DNS record very easily. Its format is very simple: AAAA <address>. 

The IPv6 address you are going to find in the <address> space. Let’s view the following example:

AAAA <2012:0bd1:49c2:0000:0000:7c2a:0305:4321> 

Each AAAA record contains the following elements:

Type. AAAA

Name. Here you set your hostname/domain name.

Address. Here is the IPv6 (128 bit Internet address) that the AAAA record is going lead to. Another way to explain it is the target (server) where the traffic is going to be sent.

TTL (Time to live). This amount is referring how long this record will be cached. Commonly, the time is in seconds. A standard value given by default is 14400 seconds, but it is possible to modify it if you need to.

DNS A record vs. DNS AAAA record

Both DNS records resolve domain names to IP addresses. The difference is about the version of the IP address. 

When we are talking about the DNS AAAA record, we mentioned that it directs to an IPv6 address. The DNS A record points to an IPv4 address.

It is possible for the A and the AAAA record to exist together in the same host. There is no problem with that.

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