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Takuya Matsuyama
Takuya Matsuyama

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You should not use Apex domain with ALIAS record

Apex domain, it's also called naked domain, is a kind of domains without sub-domain.
I've been using it for my app, Inkdrop whose domain of the website was but now it's moved to
I deploy it on Netlify which are often mentioned as a fast web hosting service.
I saw many websites performing very fast with Netlify, but my website didn't have such speed. Especially, the TTFB (Time-to-first-byte) was extremely long, usually longer than 200ms and it takes 800ms to transfer only 120KB. Why?

Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 21.19.10.png

ALIAS record disables geo-targeting

If you have your own domain, you have to configure a CNAME record to point it to the Netlify's domain.
But Apex domain is not supported setting a CNAME record by design.

To host a website with an Apex domain on Netlify, one option is to use ALIAS record instead:

I'm using NS1, a DNS hosting service which supports configuring ALIAS record.
I found their documentation mentioning about ALIAS:

Disadvantages of an ALIAS record

  • Geo-targeting information is lost. Since it is the_authoritative_server the queries, then any intelligent routing functionality on thelb.example.netrecord will act upon the location of the authoritative server instead of your location. The EDNS0 edns-client-subnet option_does not_apply here. This means that you may be potentially mis-routed. For example, if you are in New York and the authoritative server forexample.comis in California, thenlb.example.netwill think you are in California, and will return an answer that is distinctly sub-optimal for you in New York.


So, with ALIAS record, Netlify is not able to know where visitors are from or to optimize the traffic route.
I asked Netlify that it is due to ALIAS record:

Unfortunately, that seems to be true.
I decided to move my website to www sub-domain.
Apex domains look beautiful (for developers), but it seems like not a big deal for visitors.
I found that recent browsers strip www from their address bar like Chrome:

and Safari on iOS:

As stated by a Chromium developer, the www and m (for mobile) subdomains are being classified by Google as "trivial" subdomains because they feel most people do not need to be concerned with the information they represent.

I guess I am also not caring about www subdomain when visiting websites because I didn't notice that Netlify's website is actually
So, it would be fine.

TTFB improved from 275ms to 73ms

As you can see, it has been significantly improved after moved it to

The download speed has been also improved. Cool.

Still need Apex domain?

As fool said above, you have two options at present:

  1. Netlify DNS hosting, since they can (and do) use linked A records which do allow geolocation
  2. Cloudflare’s CNAME flattening, since that does not seem to interfere with Netlify's geolocation

Why I didn't choose it is because I've already adopted NS1 and just switching to www was the quickest way to solve my issue.

Hope that helps improve your website!

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