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Extended DNS Records - SVR, DNAME and AAAA records

Extended DNS Records – SVR, DNAME and AAAA records

We continue looking at less commonly used DNS records, but we also look at the soon to be common AAAA record which is merely the IPV6 version of an A record. Before that, we will first examine the SRV and the rare DNAME records.

The SRV extended DNS record

SRV records are DNS entries that define a service ie the hostname and port number of a server for a specific service. Certain protocols such as SIP and XMPP often need SRV records to function properly. A SRV record looks like this: TTL class SRV priority weight port target.

This can be broken down as follows:

  • service: the symbolic name of the desired service.
  • proto: the transport protocol of the desired service; this is usually either TCP or UDP.
  • name: the domain name for which this record is valid, ending in a dot.
  • TTL: standard DNS time to live field.
  • class: standard DNS class field (this is always IN).
  • priority: the priority of the target host, lower value means more preferred.
  • weight: A relative weight for records with the same priority, higher value means more preferred.
  • port: the TCP or UDP port on which the service is to be found.
  • target: the canonical hostname of the machine providing the service, ending in a dot.

An example of a zone file entry for a SIP server may look as follows: 86400 IN SRV 0 5 5060

The TARGET hostname (in this case must resolve via an A or AAAA record and may not be a CNAME. This is the same as an MX record.

The priority field is used to determine which server is used first if there are multiple entries for the same server. The weight is used in case multiple priorities with the same value are used to effect load-balancing.

Query of the SRV can be done by requesting the type SRV – unlike SPF, DKIM or DMARC which are all TXT type records.

The DNAME extended DNS record

Unlike CNAME which is an alias for a single record ie is an alias for, DNAME redirects all records below it to the new domain. This is useful if you want to redirect an entire domain and all the subdomain requests associated with it to another domain as follows:

; zone fragment for
; uses DNAME RR to re-direct to new domain,
$TTL 2d ; zone default = 2 days or 172800 seconds
; zone apex RRs
           IN      DNAME
; www and ftp RRs (or any other) are not required since they are
; BELOW DNAME (which is at the apex)
; any normal zone RRs from this point are IGNORED 
; due to the presence of the DNAME
; they can be left in the zone file 
; or they could be deleted

Any records below the DNAME entry are ignored.

The AAAA Record

The technical explanation of the AAAA record is that it a Resource Record (RR) type 28 which returns a 128-bit IPV6 address, most commonly used to map a hostname to an IPV6 address.  An example:


The AAAA record is thus exactly the same as an A record, only for IPV6.

DNS is not as complicated as it is sometimes made out to be. Here is a list of the currently valid record types, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Resource records

TypeType id. (decimal)Defining RFCDescriptionFunction
1RFC 1035Address recordReturns a 32-bit IPv4 address, most commonly used to map hostnames to an IP address of the host, but it is also used for DNSBLs, storing subnet masks in RFC 1101, etc.
28RFC 3596IPv6 address recordReturns a 128-bit IPv6 address, most commonly used to map hostnames to an IP address of the host.
18RFC 1183AFS database recordLocation of database servers of an AFS cell. This record is commonly used by AFS clients to contact AFS cells outside their local domain. A subtype of this record is used by the obsolete DCE/DFS file system.
42RFC 3123Address Prefix ListSpecify lists of address ranges, e.g. in CIDR format, for various address families. Experimental.
257RFC 6844Certification Authority AuthorizationDNS Certification Authority Authorization, constraining acceptable CAs for a host/domain
60RFC 7344 Child copy of DNSKEY record, for transfer to the parent
59RFC 7344Child DSChild copy of DS record, for transfer to the parent
37RFC 4398Certificate recordStores PKIX, SPKI, PGP, etc.
CNAME5RFC 1035Canonical name recordAlias of one name to another: the DNS lookup will continue by retrying the lookup with the new name.
49RFC 4701DHCP identifierUsed in conjunction with the FQDN option to DHCP
32769RFC 4431DNSSEC Lookaside Validation recordFor publishing DNSSEC trust anchors outside of the DNS delegation chain. Uses the same format as the DS record. RFC 5074 describes a way of using these records.
39RFC 6672 Alias for a name and all its sub names, unlike CNAME, which is an alias for only the exact name. Like a CNAME record, the DNS lookup will continue by retrying the lookup with the new name.
48RFC 4034DNS Key recordThe key record used in DNSSEC. Uses the same format as the KEY record.
43RFC 4034Delegation signerThe record used to identify the DNSSEC signing key of a delegated zone
55RFC 8005Host Identity ProtocolMethod of separating the end-point identifier and locator roles of IP addresses.
45RFC 4025IPsec KeyKey record that can be used with IPsec
25RFC 2535 and RFC 2930Key recordUsed only for SIG(0) (RFC 2931) and TKEY (RFC 2930). RFC 3445 eliminated their use for application keys and limited their use to DNSSEC. RFC 3755 designates DNSKEY as the replacement within DNSSEC. RFC 4025 designates IPSECKEY as the replacement for use with IPsec.
36RFC 2230Key Exchanger recordUsed with some cryptographic systems (not including DNSSEC) to identify a key management agent for the associated domain-name. Note that this has nothing to do with DNS Security. It is Informational status, rather than being on the IETF standards-track. It has always had limited deployment but is still in use.
LOC29RFC 1876Location recordSpecifies a geographical location associated with a domain name
MX15RFC 1035 and RFC 7505Mail exchange recordMaps a domain name to a list of message transfer agents for that domain
NAPTR35RFC 3403Naming Authority PointerAllows regular-expression-based rewriting of domain names which can then be used as URIs, further domain names to lookups, etc.
2RFC 1035Nameserver recordDelegates a DNS zone to use the given authoritative name servers
47RFC 4034Next Secure recordPart of DNSSEC—used to prove a name does not exist. Uses the same format as the (obsolete) NXT record.
50RFC 5155Next Secure record version 3An extension to DNSSEC that allows proof of nonexistence for a name without permitting zonewalking
51RFC 5155NSEC3 parametersParameter record for use with NSEC3
OPENPGPKEY61RFC 7929OpenPGP public key recordA DNS-based Authentication of Named Entities (DANE) method for publishing and locating OpenPGP public keys in DNS for a specific email address using an OPENPGPKEY DNS resource record.
12RFC 1035[1]Pointer recordPointer to a canonical name. Unlike a CNAME, DNS processing stops and just the name is returned. The most common use is for implementing reverse DNS lookups, but other uses include such things as DNS-SD.
46RFC 4034DNSSEC signatureSignature for a DNSSEC-secured recordset. Uses the same format as the SIG record.
17RFC 1183Responsible PersonInformation about the responsible person(s) for the domain. Usually an email address with the @ replaced by a .
24RFC 2535SignatureSignature record used in SIG(0) (RFC 2931) and TKEY (RFC 2930). RFC 3755 designated RRSIG as the replacement for SIG for use within DNSSEC.
SOA6RFC 1035 and RFC 2308Start of [a zone of] authority recordSpecifies authoritative information about a DNS zone, including the primary name server, the email of the domain administrator, the domain serial number, and several timers relating to refreshing the zone.
SRV33RFC 2782Service locatorGeneralized service location record, used for newer protocols instead of creating protocol-specific records such as MX.
44RFC 4255SSH Public Key FingerprintResource record for publishing SSH public host key fingerprints in the DNS System, in order to aid in verifying the authenticity of the host. RFC 6594 defines ECC SSH keys and SHA-256 hashes. See the IANA SSHFP RR parameters registry for details.
32768N/ADNSSEC Trust AuthoritiesPart of a deployment proposal for DNSSEC without a signed DNS root. See the IANA database and Weiler Spec for details. Uses the same format as the DS record.
249RFC 2930Transaction Key recordA method of providing keying material to be used with TSIG that is encrypted under the public key in an accompanying KEY RR.
52RFC 6698TLSA certificate associationA record for DANE. RFC 6698 defines “The TLSA DNS resource record is used to associate a TLS server certificate or public key with the domain name where the record is found, thus forming a ‘TLSA certificate association'”.
TSIG 250RFC 2845Transaction SignatureCan be used to authenticate dynamic updates as coming from an approved client, or to authenticate responses as coming from an approved recursive name server similar to DNSSEC.
16RFC 1035Text recordOriginally for arbitrary human-readable text in a DNS record. Since the early 1990s, however, this record more often carries machine-readable data, such as specified by RFC 1464, opportunistic encryption, Sender Policy Framework, DKIM, DMARC, DNS-SD, etc.
256RFC 7553Uniform Resource IdentifierCan be used for publishing mappings from hostnames to URIs.

Happy Hosting!

The Author

Michael O.

Michael is the founder, managing director, and CEO of HOSTAFRICA. He studied at Friedrich Schiller University Jena and was inspired by Cape Town's beauty to bring his German expertise to Africa. Before HOSTAFRICA, Michael was the Managing Director of Deutsche Börse Cloud Exchange AG, one of Germany's largest virtual server providers.

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