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I am new to network topic.

What is the difference between DNS alias name and the primary DNS suffix?

By primary DNS suffix I mean, My computer >> properties >> Computer Name >> Change >> More >> Primary DNS suffix of this computer (in Windows 2003 server).


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It's unclear what you mean by "DNS alias name".

The "Primary DNS suffix" is used by the computer to resolve unqualified names. If, for example, you issue the command "ping bob" and your primary DNS suffix is set to "", the DNS resolver will search your HOSTS file for an entry for "bob", then an entry for "", and finally will issue a recursive resolution request to your primary DNS server for the name "".

Basically, the primary DNS suffix is appended to unqualified names by the resolver during recursive resolution requests.

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+1, I think he means a C-NAME record by alias name. – Chris S Jul 16 '10 at 12:44
@Chris: Ohhh... that didn't click in my mind. – Evan Anderson Jul 16 '10 at 13:12

An alias is a "synonym" for the host. It is defined in the DNS server so the host can be reached using its "normal" name (record type A on the DNS server) and using the alias name (record type CNAME on the DNS server). If you change the host's IP, the alias (or all the aliases) will stay correct without doing anything, you only need to change the A record of the host. For example you can have a host like with an Alias and you'll be able to reach it both ways.

The primary DNS suffix is is defined on the DNS client machines and it is the name of a domain added to unqualified names when they can't resolve alone like explained by Evan Anderson.

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