What is an ALIAS Record?

ALIAS record (ANAME record) is a type of DNS record build in the ClouDNS, which works in a similar way as the CNAME record. ALIAS record is used in resolving a CNAME record at the apex (root) of a domain. This process is also known as CNAME flattening.

The ALIAS record allows you to add multiple hostnames for the same subdomain and can be used for the root domain too. This new build in our system type of DNS record gives you a chance to make a Round-Robin DNS between multiple ALIAS and A/AAAA records. All added ALIAS records are updated by our system in a short period of time and when you make a DNS request at the hostname with such record, you will receive an answer with a pure A or/and AAAA records. This type of DNS record can be added and managed from our control panel or via the HTTP API.

The ALIAS record has the following look in your ClouDNS Control Panel:

Host: Type: Points to: TTL
example.net ALIAS example.com 1 Hour

Please bear in mind, it's not recommended to point an ALIAS record to a GeoDNS record/CDN service, as it may not function as intended.

Why do you need an ALIAS record?

The most significant benefit of the ALIAS record is that you can add it to the root domain. As you'll recall, CNAME records can't be added for the root domain. And here is where the ALIAS comes in. It is an analog of the CNAME record so to say. It works in a similar way, but you can use it for the root domain as well.

Another con of the CNAME is its impossibility to coexist with any other data for the same host. But there isn't such obstacle for the ALIAS. You can combine the ALIAS records with all the types of DNS records except CNAME and Web Redirect. For that reason, you could use the ALIAS record to achieve a Round-Robin setup without a problem.

How to create a DNS ALIAS record?

Log in your ClouDNS account, enter your DNS zone management page, and click on the Add new record button. For Type choose ALIAS and type as follow:

TTL:  1 Hour
Points to: example.com

How to add an ALIAS Record - Step by Step video:

How to check my ALIAS record?

You can check the ALIAS record manually for a precise hostname by using one of the following commands:

In case you are a Windows user, you can simply open the Command Prompt and use the Nslookup command. Here is an example:

$ nslookup domain.net

If you are a Linux/macOS user, you can simply open the Terminal application and use the DIG command. Here is an illustration:

$ dig domain.net

These commands will show you the corresponding A or/and AAAA records for the hostname.

If you prefer to use an online tool, you can perform the lookup with the ClouDNS Free DNS tool.

How to start managing ALIAS records for your domain name?

  • Open free account from here - free forever
  • Verify your e-mail address
  • Log into your control panel
  • Create new Master DNS from the [add new] button - read more here
  • Add the ALIAS records you need as it is described in this article

ALIAS Record Limitations

While ALIAS records offer several advantages, it's important to understand their limitations to ensure they are used effectively. Here are some key limitations to consider:

  • Incompatibility with GeoDNS and CDN Services - ALIAS records do not work correctly with GeoDNS or CDN services. This is because these services depend on specific DNS resolution methods like geographical IP distribution and edge server mapping, which ALIAS records cannot reliably support.
  • Cannot Point to URLs - Unlike some other DNS records, ALIAS records cannot be used to point to URLs. They are designed to map hostnames to other hostnames and cannot be used for specific web addresses like http://www.example.com/contact/.
  • Not Suitable for Email Addresses - ALIAS records cannot be used to direct email traffic. They do not support the MX record functionality required for email delivery. Instead, MX records must be used to route emails to designated mail servers.
  • Potential Delays in DNS Propagation - Although ALIAS records are designed to be updated frequently, there might be slight delays in DNS propagation compared to direct A or AAAA records. This can lead to temporary discrepancies in DNS resolution.
  • Limited Coexistence with Other Records - While ALIAS records can coexist with many types of DNS records, they cannot coexist with CNAME or Web Redirect records within the same DNS zone. This limitation restricts the flexibility of DNS configurations in complex setups where CNAME or Web Redirect records are essential.

Combination of ALIAS record and other records

The ALIAS record can be combined with all the types of DNS records except CNAME and Web Redirect.

Here is an example configuration for your web site and domain name in the combination with other records:

Host: Type: Points to: TTL
example.net NS dns1.cloudns.net 1 Hour
example.net NS dns2.cloudns.net 1 Hour
example.net NS dns3.cloudns.net 1 Hour
example.net NS dns4.cloudns.net 1 Hour
example.net ALIAS cdn.example.com 1 Hour
example.net A 1 Hour
example.net AAAA fe80::736b:828f:f290:d424 1 Hour
example.net MX mail.example.net 1 Hour
www.example.net ALIAS example.net 1 Hour
mail.example.net A 1 Hour

 As you can see from the example:

  • The root domain name example.net has properly configured NS records
  • The root domain name will have A and AAAA record pointed to the servers , fe80::736b:828f:f290:d424, and also the A and AAAA records which will come from the ALIAS to cdn.example.com
  • The root domain name has correctly configured MX record for the mails send to @example.net to mail.example.net
  • The www.example.net sub-domain name will have the all A and AAAA records of example.net which includes , fe80::736b:828f:f290:d424, and also the A and AAAA records which will come from the ALIAS to cdn.example.com
  • The mail.example.net will be pointed to and all mails send to @example.net will arrive to this server

ALIAS record VS CNAME record

Both the ALIAS record and CNAME record allow you to point one hostname to another. However, they are not the same, and there are several important dissimilarities that you should be aware of.

  • ALIAS record can be added to the root domain while the CNAME can't. 
  • ALIAS records can coexist with other DNS records, except CNAME records or Web Redirects. On the other hand, CNAME can't coexist with other DNS records for the same host.
  • ALIAS record doesn't operate properly with GeoDNS or CDN service. In such cases, it is preferred to use a CNAME record.

Support of ALIAS records

ClouDNS provides full support for ALIAS records for all our DNS services, including the listed below. Just write to our technical support, if you need any assistance with your ALIAS records configuration. Our Technical Support team is online for you 24/7 via live chat and tickets.


Question: Can I use the ALIAS record for the root of my domain?

Answer: Yes, you can. There is no question about it.

Question: Can ALIAS records work in Round-Robin?

Answer: Yes, ALIAS records can work in Round-Robin.

Question: Can I use ALIAS to point my domain to an URL link, like http://www.mydomain.com/contacts/ for example?

Answer: No, ALIAS records can only point hostnames to other hostnames.

Question: Can an ALIAS record be used for an email address? 

Answer: No, ALIAS records cannot be used for email addresses. You can use an MX record to associate an email address with a hostname.

Last modified: 2024-07-09
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