A record vs AAAA record: What is the difference?

A and AAAA records are among the most important in the DNS system. The process of resolving a domain name to find the IP address is managed by these two types of DNS records. This is what makes them valuable and essential to access the internet easily and quickly.  

What does A record mean? 

A record is the most popular and simple type used in DNS servers, where “A” stands for Address. The A record uses a domain name to find the device’s IP address connected to the Internet. 

Consider the following example – You are a web user and want to access www.abc123.com. This request is sent to the DNS resolver. It identifies the IP, and then the page automatically loads. 

In other words, the A record uses the domain name to find the IP address (IPv4 address). 

AAAA record – definition

AAAA record, also known as quad A Record, corresponds to a domain name with an IPv6 address.This type acts in the same way as the A record. The only difference is that it’s IPv6 addresses are four times larger than IPv4. That means AAAA includes a hostname and its corresponding IPv6 address. We may also say that IPv6 has a larger address space. As the Type-A record begins to exhaust and the use of AAAA is growing. 

The difference between A record and AAAA record

The A and AAAA records are equally important to the DNS system. They are based on the same operating principle. However, the difference is that A records are used to resolve a hostname that corresponds to an IPv4 address, while AAAA records are used to resolve a domain name that corresponds to an IPv6 address.

Earlier, we looked at the example for www.abc123.com. Suppose we imagine that you want to host this website on a Microsoft (Windows) server. If this server has an IPv4 address, then, in this case, you need to add an A record to your domain name. Similarly, if the server has an IPv6 address, then you need to add an AAAA record. 

In simple cases, you might have a single A or AAAA record as the primary record pointing to a single IP address. 

To summarize what has been said up until now, the main and only difference between the two record types is that one has an IPv4 address, and the other has an IPv6 address.

  • IPv4 – the address space is 32 bits. The length of heather is 20 bytes. 4 bytes for each address is the heather.
  • IPv6 – the address space is 128 bits. The length of heather is 40 bytes. 16 bytes for each address is the heather.

We will give an example of an address format of both types:

IPv4 – example      IPv6 – example 2031:ef3::17


By way of conclusion, A and AAAA records perform the fundamental task for which DNS was created – to connect the user to a website via the domain name, not the IP address. This is what makes them an integral and very important part of the whole DNS process.

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