Inverse queries reverse the mappings performed by standard query operations; while a standard query maps a domain name to a resource, an inverse query maps a resource to a domain name. For example, a standard query might bind a domain name to a host address; the corresponding inverse query binds the host address to a domain name.
Inverse queries take the form of a single RR in the answer section of the message, with an empty question section. The owner name of the query RR and its TTL are not significant. The response carries questions in the question section which identify all names possessing the query RR WHICH THE NAME SERVER KNOWS. Since no name server knows about all of the domain name space, the response can never be assumed to be complete. Thus inverse queries are primarily useful for database management and debugging activities. Inverse queries are NOT an acceptable method of mapping host addresses to host names; use the IN- ADDR.ARPA domain instead.
Where possible, name servers should provide case-insensitive comparisons for inverse queries. Thus an inverse query asking for an MX RR of "Venera.isi.edu" should get the same response as a query for "VENERA.ISI.EDU"; an inverse query for HINFO RR "IBM-PC UNIX" should produce the same result as an inverse query for "IBM-pc unix". However, this cannot be guaranteed because name servers may possess RRs that contain character strings but the name server does not know that the data is character.
When a name server processes an inverse query, it either returns:
When the response to an inverse query contains one or more QNAMEs, the owner name and TTL of the RR in the answer section which defines the inverse query is modified to exactly match an RR found at the first QNAME.
RRs returned in the inverse queries cannot be cached using the same mechanism as is used for the replies to standard queries. One reason for this is that a name might have multiple RRs of the same type, and only one would appear. For example, an inverse query for a single address of a multiply homed host might create the impression that only one address existed.