Using ALIAS records

The ALIAS record provides a way to have CNAME-like behaviour on the zone apex.

In order to correctly serve ALIAS records in PowerDNS Authoritative Server 4.1.0 or higher, set the resolver setting to an existing resolver and enable expand-alias:



If resolver is unset, ALIAS expansion is disabled!

Then add the ALIAS record to your zone apex. e.g.:

$TTL 1800

@ IN SOA 2015121101 1H 15 1W 2H



When the authoritative server receives a query for the A-record for, it will resolve the A record for and serve an answer for with that A record.

When a zone containing ALIAS records is transferred over AXFR, the outgoing-axfr-expand-alias setting controls the behaviour of ALIAS records. When set to ‘no’ (the default), ALIAS records are sent as-is (RRType 65401 and a DNSName in the RDATA) in the AXFR. When set to ‘yes’, PowerDNS will lookup the A and AAAA records of the name in the ALIAS-record and send the results in the AXFR.

Set outgoing-axfr-expand-alias to ‘yes’ if your slaves don’t understand ALIAS or should not look up the addresses themselves. Note that slaves will not automatically follow changes in those A/AAAA records unless you AXFR regularly.


The expand-alias setting does not exist in PowerDNS Authoritative Server 4.0.x. Hence, ALIAS records are always expanded on a direct A or AAAA query.


Starting with the PowerDNS Authoritative Server 4.0.0, DNSSEC ‘washing’ of ALIAS records is supported on AXFR (not on live-signing). Set outgoing-axfr-expand-alias to ‘yes’ and enable DNSSEC for the zone on the master. PowerDNS will sign the A/AAAA records during the AXFR.