A Records vs. Alias Records

The A record and Alias record are types of DNS records used to ensure optimal functioning of a domain. While Alias records work differently from A records, they can operate as A records at the apex zone. 

In this A record vs. Alias record article, we’ll discuss what sets these two DNS records apart.

What is an A Record?

The “Address” or A record is one of the most vital DNS record types. You need an A record if you want users to load your website. It maps a domain name or hostname to an IP address, specifically, an IPv4 address. AAAA records are used for IPv6 varieties.

These fundamental DNS records make it easy for people to find your website without memorizing the actual IP address. So you can type www.mywebsite.com into yourURL bar, and during DNS lookup, the A record resolves the domain to its corresponding IP address, such as 192.168.10.1.

What is an Alias Record?

Unlike an A record, an Alias record resolves a domain name to another domain name— not an IP address. Alias records work the same way as CNAME records, except they can coexist with other DNS records.

CNAME records are used for subdomains while Alias records are used for root domains.

At the DNS level, Alias records act like A records. They’re used in cases where you want to point a root domain (such as www.yourwebsite.com) to another domain name (like www.example.com). If the destination IP address changes, Alias records update too. 

They’re ideal for when you want to redirect a root domain or if you need other DNS record types for the same domain name.Using A Records vs. Alias Records

A records are standard DNS records while Alias records are custom DNS records.

One of the significant differences between an A record and an Alias record is that the A record points a domain name to an IP address. In contrast, an Alias record is used when you want a domain name to point to another domain name. 

However, on the DNS level, an Alias record can behave like an A record by returning one or more A records matching the Alias record’s target.

Summary

The distinctions between A records vs. Alias records are small but important. Now you know the difference between an A and Alias record. 

Remember to configure an A record to point your domain name to an IP address. If you want your domain name to point to another hostname, use an Alias record.

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