What is an ALIAS record?

Have you heard about the ALIAS record? If you haven’t, don’t worry. You are about to find out everything about the ALIAS record. It is one of the less common DNS record types, and it has no problem coexisting with other DNS records in the same DNS zone. 

It is true that not all DNS providers offer it, but if you have chosen one that does, you will be amazed by the practicality of this DNS record. 

What is an ALIAS record?

The ALIAS record is a DNS record type that shows that one hostname is another way to write a particular hostname. It connects one hostname to another, like the CNAME, but it has several benefits. With the ALIAS DNS record, you can add more than one hostnames for the same subdomain or even use ALIAS for the root domain. Something that CNAME cannot do it. It also has no problem with other DNS records except CNAME and Web Redirects. 

How does the ALIAS record look like?

The ALIAS record is a very simple DNS record and has 4 main values:

  • Host: For which host are you creating it?
  • Type: This you should set to ALIAS. 
  • Points to: The other hostname to where you want it to lead. It should be a hostname. It can’t be an IP address. 
  • TTL: A time, usually 1 hour, that indicates for how long it is valid. 

What are the benefits of the ALIAS record?

These are the benefits that should make you consider a DNS provider that offers ALIAS records:

  • Can be added to a DNS zone, where there are other DNS records like A, AAAA, MX, etc. 
  • Can point one hostname to another. 
  • Easy integration with different APIs. 
  • Can work with Round-Robin load balancer. 
  • Can be used for the root domain too. 

ALIAS DNS record vs CNAME DNS record

The ALIAS DNS record outperforms the older CNAME DNS record in different categories. It can co-live with other DNS records, be added to the root domain, and work faster. 

The CNAME will require an additional DNS query, so does the ALIAS record, but the ALIAS returns A or AAAA records. The time for the answer is shorter, and thereby it is faster. 

Also, the A or AAAA records will be stored in the DNS resolver’s cache for later use. 

Why do you need ALIAS records?

The first thing that you should see is that the ALIAS record can be added to the root domain. That significantly beats the functionality of the CNAME record. 

And you can add an ALIAS record to a DNS zone that already has DNS records without a hustle. 

The biggest disadvantage of the ALIAS record

There is a bit of caveat to the use of ALIAS record, the loss of Geo-targeting data. It will act based on the location on the authoritative name server. It will show its location and lose the data of the origin of the query. 

Conclusion

Now you know what ALIAS is and why you should use it. It can facilitate DNS management, and for that reason, it is worth checking it out. 

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