DNS AAAA records are a type of DNS record that are used to map a domain name to an IPv6 address, which is the latest version of the Internet Protocol (IP). IPv6 addresses are longer and more complex than IPv4 addresses, and they offer exponentially more possible IP addresses. In this article, we will explain what DNS AAAA records are, how they work, and how to configure and use them.
AAAA are becoming increasingly more important as the internet transitions from IPv4 to IPv6. The “AAAA” otherwise known as “quad-A”, is used to specify the IPv6 address associated with a particular domain name. For example, if you pull the DNS records of cloudflare.com, the AAAA record currently returns an IPv6 address of:
2606:4700:4700::1111. AAAA records are similar to A records, which are used to map a domain name to an IPv4 address, but they are designed specifically for IPv6 addresses.
AAAA records are one of the primary types of DNS records, and they are defined by RFC 3596. They are essential for connecting to and loading a website that has an IPv6 address, and they are part of the internet infrastructure and direct internet traffic to the correct server.
DNS AAAA records work by enabling a user’s device to connect with and load a website, without the user memorizing and typing in the actual IPv6 address. The user’s web browser automatically carries this out by sending a query to a DNS resolver, which is a server that knows how to look up DNS records.
The DNS resolver then contacts the authoritative DNS server for the domain name, which is the server that holds the DNS records for that domain. The authoritative DNS server responds with the AAAA record, which contains the IPv6 address of the domain. The DNS resolver then returns the IPv6 address to the web browser, which can then establish a connection with the web server and request the website content.
You can also add multiple AAAA records for the same domain name, which can provide redundancy and fallbacks in case one of the IP addresses fails. This is also known as round robin load balancing, which can distribute request traffic to one of several IP addresses, each hosting identical content.
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