We’ve just added support to our control panel and DNS API for “ANAME” records. ANAME records, also known as ALIAS records, aren’t real DNS records, but are a handy way of simulating CNAME records in places where you can’t use a real CNAME.
It works like this:
You’ve got DNS for your domain managed with Mythic Beasts, and you want to host your website with some 3rd party service provider. They’ll tell you to point DNS for your website at their server. You create a CNAME record for
www.yourdomain.com and point it at
server.3rdparty.com. So far so good.
You also want requests for your bare domain, e.g. http://yourdomain.com to be served by your provider, so you try to create a CNAME for
yourdomain.com and get told you can’t. This is because you will already have MX, NS and SOA records for your bare domain, and CNAMEs aren’t allowed to co-exist with other records for the same name.
The usual fall back is to create A or AAAA records that point directly to the IP address of
server.3rdparty.com, but this sucks because their IP is now hard coded into your zone, and if they ever want to change the IP of that server they’ve got to try and get all of their customers to update their DNS.
The nice solution would be SRV records, standardised DNS records that allow you to point different protocols at different servers. Unfortunately, they’re not supported for HTTP or HTTPS.
This is where ANAME records come in. You can create an ANAME just like a CNAME, but without the restrictions on co-existing with other records. We resolve the ANAME and substitute the corresponding IP addresses into records into your zone. We then regularly check for any changes, and update your changes accordingly.
Naturally, our ANAME implementation fully supports IPv6: if the hostname you point the ANAME at returns AAAA records, we’ll include those in addition to any A records returned.