The role of AAAA records is increasing in importance when it comes to converting domain names to IP addresses. In this article we discuss why AAAA is so important, and why it will likely gradually replace the A records that we all known so well as the most important DNS record. Here’s a hint: it’s all about IPv6.
A quick look at A and AAAA records
You can only really understand domain names by when you appreciate just how important the domain name system (DNS) is for the behaviour and accessibility of domain names. Domain name technologies enable users to exercise close control over their domains by using specific domain name records.
Part of this process is something called DNS resolution, the process of taking a domain name and finding the IP address that corresponds to it. This conversion process is driven by two DNS record types – the A record, and the AAAA record.
Understanding AAAA records
A and AAAA records are equally important when it comes to resolving DNS. The difference lies in that A records is used to resolve a hostname which corresponds to an IPv4 address, while AAAA records are used to resolve a domain name which corresponds to an IPv6 address.
Clearly, because IPv4 is currently the most commonly used IP address, A records are also the most commonly used in comparison to AAAA records. Yet the potential for AAAA is growing because chances are that IPv6 will be the most commonly used internet protocol address system in the future.
Advantages of using a custom AAAA record
AAAA records hold a big advantage over A records because a AAAA record can store a 128-bit IPv6 address, whereas the old A records can only store 32-bit IPv4 addresses. The internet has expanded so quickly that we are running out of IPv4 addresses, which is why IPv6 is so important. This is also why IPv4 will be replaced with IPv6 over time, and why A records will be replaced by AAAA records over time.
IPv6 addresses are stored in an AAAA record by means of hexadecimal numbers, where each four-digit segment is separated by a colon (:).
An example of an AAAA record
You can leave out a series of zeros when you specify an AAAA record, that also means that you can use the symbol “::” when there is a segment that has zeros as values. Any leading zeros are also typically omitted when specifying an IPv6 address.
Managing customer AAAA records
Plesk lets you easily manage AAAA records using the Custom DNS Records area on our hosting control panel. It is included in all our website plans and has a user-friendly interface. Creating a new record is no hassle at all, just select the applicable domain, tap in the relevant value and click on the action button. Editing is just as simple, and you can easily set any number of AAAA records or change any AAAA records, all on one easy to access page.