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There are 8 most common types of DNS records, and this blog focuses on knowing about DNS AAAA records. It’s a type of DNS record that helps browsers to take surfers to the right webpage on the internet. AAAA records are almost similar to A records; the former is based on IPv6 and the latter on IPv4.

Read till the end to know why AAAA records are important for converting domain names to IP addresses and how to add one.

What is a DNS AAAA Record?

DNS AAAA record or quad A record is a type of DNS record that maps a domain or subdomain to IPv6 (IP address version 6). This directs the browser to land on the right website when someone enters a domain or subdomain in the address bar. 

AAAA record is similar to the A record, except that it lets you specify the IPv6 address of a server instead of IPv4. At present, DNS AAAA records aren’t as popular as A records; however, their usage is soaring rapidly as the adoption of IPv6 is expanding. 

Whereas, with A records, you can use several DNS AAAA records for the same domain for redundancy. Several names can translate to the same address on the internet. In such scenarios, each would demand its own AAAA record directing to the same IP address.

What do IPv6 and IPv4 mean?

IP or Internet Protocols is a set of rules designed for routing and addressing data packets to direct them to land on the right location on the internet. IPv6 is the latest and more advanced version of the IP and has better features than IPv4. 

When are DNS AAAA Records Used?

What is a DNS AAAA record’s function? A DNS AAAA record lets client devices know the IP address for a domain to reach a specific website. It’s only used if a domain is based on an IPv6 address in addition to an IPv4 address.

Although most domains are based on IPv4 addresses and A records, not all domains are aligned to IPv6 addresses. Moreover, not all your visitors’ devices are configured to use IPv6.

Domain owners choose to add it due to various reasons. It’s required when you create or purchase a new domain and have to direct it to your website’s IP address. 

It’s also needed to shift your website from one hosting company to another. This is because DNS settings have to be updated as per that. 

Another purpose of adding AAAA records is email security. SPF, an email authentication protocol, adds a list of IP addresses permitted to send emails using a specific domain on DNS only. If your domain uses SPF protocol, you must use an SPF checker for regular surveillance.

However, the process of adding AAAA records is easy and quick. Read till the end to know how it’s done.

Benefits of Using DNS AAAA Records

DNS AAAA records can store 128-bit IPv6 addresses, which is better than A records as they store only 32-bit IPv4 addresses. The internet has a shortage of IP4 addresses as there are more than 4 billion devices with active internet connections across the globe. But IPv6 addresses allow exponential permutations, which means more of these addresses are possible. 

What is DNS AAAA Record Format?

A usual DNS AAAA record looks like the following in standard BIND format. The BIND format is the zone file format adopted by DNS server software. It’s defined in RFC 1035.

$ORIGIN domain.com.

@ 3600 IN AAAA 2701:fe9a:ed9e:1ee6

* 3600 IN AAAA 1337:226c:9bee:16f3

ftp 86400 IN AAAA c343:87ab:1661:638b

Here’s the anatomy of a typical AAAA record.

HOST LABEL TTL RECORD CLASS RECORD TYPE RECORD DATA
domain.com 3600 IN AAAA 2701:fe9a:ed9e:1ee6

Host Label

It tells the hostname of a record and if it’ll be appended to the label. Fully-qualified hostnames are unable to append the origin. 

TTL

TTL stands for Time-to-Live in seconds, the time for which a record survives.

Record Class

There are 3 primary classes of DNS records:

  • IN (Internet)- This is default and is generally what the internet uses.
  • CH (Chaosnet)- This is used for querying DNS server versions.
  • HS (Hesiod)- This record class type uses DNS functionality to access information databases completely. 

Record Type

All record format consists of this field for generalization.

Record Data

It’s the data within a DNS answer that contains the IPv6 address. 

Querying DNS AAAA Records

Querying DNS AAAA records refers to messages sent by surfers to DNS servers. They’ve a list of “Questions” and DNS servers “Answers” them. A DNS query can have several questions the server will reply to, but a server might also respond with additional information.

You can use the ‘dig’ command to query the AAAA record linked to a particular domain or subdomain. You can find results in the ‘Answer’ section. Here, you can find the fully-qualified domain name (FQDN), the remaining time-to-live (TTL), and the IP address.

How to Add or Update DNS AAAA Records?

The specific steps to add or update DNS AAAA records can vary as per the platform. However, we’ve shared the basic steps that can be performed via your Account Manager: 

  • Log In to your Account Manager.
  • Go to Domains on the Menu Bar.
  • Select the Domain Name that you’ve to add or update. If you’ve just one domain, the platform will automatically redirect you. 
  • Find the DNS Settings section and choose the Hamburger Menu to select Add Record.
  • If you wish to update an existing record, hover your cursor over the AAAA Record and click on Modify.
  • Select AAAA Record followed by clicking Add button.
  • Enter the Sub Domain if necessary, followed by the AAAA Record (IPv6 Address) in the corresponding fields.
  • Click Update.

How to Check DNS AAAA Records?

You can verify your AAAA record using our AAAA record lookup tool when you sign up on the PowerDMARC platform. The process is instantaneous and accurate, with results that highlight errors in your record, helping you troubleshoot issues faster! 

Final Thoughts

DNS AAAA records are a type of DNS records that direct domains or subdomains so that the browser can take surfers to the right websites. Multiple AAAA records can be used with A records for a particular domain.

This type of DNS record is needed when you buy a new domain or change your website’s hosting company.