I have www.mydomain.com pointed at an Azure Website.

www.mydomain.com --- CNAME --- mydomain.azurewebsites.net

When I visit www.mydomain.com, everything works fine. This is good.

Problem is, mydomain.com doesn't work. Azure only allows the www subdomain.

In some nameservers, I use a FWD Record to forward the root to the www, and this works fine. My current name server (zoneedit.com) does not have this FWD Record.

Is there a DNS Record that we can use to forward the root domain to the www subdomain?

  • 2
    ZoneEdit has a "WebForward" which will do this. Nov 1, 2014 at 0:06
  • @MichaelHampton Perfect. We used @ | StealthForward | http://www.example.com Nov 1, 2014 at 0:16
  • That's great. It essentially does what I described (points to a real IP, that is a web server that just redirects with an HTTP 300-series to www.domain.com).
    – DTK
    Nov 1, 2014 at 0:37

5 Answers 5


Unfortunately, this is a well-known shortcoming of the DNS protocol. There is no record type defined within the DNS standards that will allow you to alias the apex of a domain. Many people assume that CNAME records can be used to accomplish this but there are technical reasons why they cannot.

Many DNS providers implement custom (read: fake) DNS record types to try and address this shortcoming. Behind the scenes, these fake records implement custom behavior in that company's software using a combination of synthesized A records and webserver redirection to accomplish your desired goal. FWD is one of these, much like the WebForward that Michael directed you to in the comments.


Summary: In short, you can't have the record you want, and your DNS host is doing things The Right Way.

Explanation: It is a violation of the DNS standadards to have a CNAME (alias record / forward record) at zone apex (the empty name at the front of the zone).

The reason for this is a CNAME record cannot have the name portion conflict with any record except a DNSSec record. In a typical zone, a CNAME record at zone apex would collide with at least the SOA and NS records (and likely several others). While some DNS servers will allow this, it is a Bad Thing, and can cause hard to diagnose failures (not to mention will not work if you move hosting of the zone to a standards-compliant DNS server, such as anything BIND-based).

Either have A records at zone apex (they can be a simple web server that just throws an HTTP 302 to www). If you can get static IP numbers for your Azure server instances, put an A record for each at the apex of your zone, and create a single CNAME record called "www" that points to the apex record.

As an example :


$ORIGIN example.com.

@    IN  SOA   ns1.example.com.  [email protected]. (
                                 101 ;
                                 172800 ;
                                 900 ;
                                 1209600 ;
                                 3600 ; )
@    IN  NS    ns1.example.com.
@    IN  NS    ns2.example.com.
@    IN  A
@    IN  A
@    IN  A
ns1  IN  A
ns2  IN  A
www  IN  CNAME example.com.
  • 9
    IMO: It's not worth it to endlessly reiterate why CNAME apexes don't work. If the user asks why they don't work, we have a canonical answer for that with RFC references. (full disclosure: I wrote it) If they don't ask about it, it's best to stick with answering the question as phrased.
    – Andrew B
    Nov 1, 2014 at 1:32
  • Thank you. I should have looked for a canonical answer. I'll keep in mind that for next time.
    – DTK
    Nov 1, 2014 at 2:10

Some protocols have standards for DNS record types, other than A records, for finding the service. SMTP with it's associated MX records is a good example of this. There are no defined DNS record types for HTTP. It's likely that your prior DNS/registrar provider had either an HTTP redirect or reverse proxy service.

In order to accomplish your goal you'll need to setup a webserver (virtual host) to do an HTTP 301 or 302 redirect from one hostname to the other, setup a reverse HTTP proxy, setup independent virtual hosts, or use virtual host aliases so the same webserver instance will respond to both A names.


If you want an answer specific to Azure you need to create another CNAME record pointing to awverify.mydomain.azurewebsites.net like this

www.mydomain.com --- CNAME --- awverify.mydomain.azurewebsites.net

Depending on your DNS provider, there is an option to do CNAME flattening (https://developers.cloudflare.com/dns/cname-flattening/)

However, note that this feature is not available (yet) in all DNS providers.


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