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Should Webhosts worry about IPv6?(III/III)

Ok, now that we know what IPv6 IP address are all about in part I and II, lets take a look at what it would be like using them for sites hosted on your server.

Once you’ve ensured that your OS and your DC are setup to support IPv6, the next step would be to start configuring your services to understand and handle IPv6 addresses.

One of the services that you will need to ensure is IPv6 ready, is your DNS service. Bind ver 9.x and the DNS Server service of Windows Server 2003/2008 both currently support IPv6. IPv6 support in Bind is not enabled by default, so if you are using a plain server with no control panel, you will have to recompile Bind to enable IPv6 support.

If you are using a control panel, you will have to check your control panel documentation for more details. As of writting this post, only DirectAdmin has announced its partial support for IPv6.

Other two popular control panels Plesk and cPanel have not yet announced support for IPv6, but it seems work on it is currently in progress. cPanel has mentioned it in their FAQ here.

Adding IPv6 IP Addresses

Even though most control panels do not support adding IPv6 addresses now, you can still test by manually adding IPv6 address to the DNS zone file of your domains.

The DNS servers currently in use with most popular control panels, on both Linux and Windows servers, already support IPv6 host records. There are currently two resouce record types in contention for this post, they are A6 and AAAA.

Just like how the A record defines an IPv4 record, the A6 and AAAA records can be used to define IPv6 records. Both are currently supported by DNS servers, and you can read a comparison of them here.

Now that you know what resource record to use, adding the record to the DNS zone of your domain is just like adding any other record. e.g. If the IPv6 IP address of my domain was 5852:d721:6b39f:e32:99e6:34bb2:7134:43ff, the DNS record that would point my domain to that IP address would be:

my.domain. IN AAAA 5852:d721:6b39f:e32:99e6:34bb2:7134:43ff

Once that is setup a quick lookup using dig or nslookup would report this as the IP address of my domain. Thats it! Well, mostly. Assuming that this IPv6 IP address points to a server that is fully IPv6 ready. i.e. It has Apache listening on this address and a VirtualHost setup on that IP.

Not to mention other services like Mail, MySQL etc also understanding the IPv6 address. But don’t worry, by the time IPv6 addresses hit the hosting industry, all control panels will already support IPv6 so you wont have to worry about configuring these services! Hope these articles helped give you a better idea about IPv6 and its use in the webhosting industry.



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