Custom DNS

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Need to change your DNS information on DreamHost to point your domain (or sub domain) elsewhere? Want to just move the web hosting service from your domain away and keep everything else the same? If so, you've found the right article. This is by no means a comprehensive article for DNS modification but instead addresses the most common modifications made at DreamHost.

Note that it is possible to use the DNS Only hosting service in our system without an active hosting plan, however this only works for domains that are registered in our system.

Changes to your hosting on DreamHost

This is required only for when setting up a custom A record or custom CNAME record for your domain name. This is the most important part. If you do not do this, it will not work as expected. Please do this.

To make the necessary DNS changes to host your domain somewhere else, you'll need to first edit your hosting plan for the domain. Just do this:

  1. Visit the Domains > Manage Domains page of the control panel.
  2. Click the [ Edit ] button located next to the domain under the 'Web Hosting' column.
    • Caution: do not press the [ Delete ] button under the 'Actions' column; make sure to press [ Edit ] under the 'Web Hosting' column only!
    • Note: this will not delete your hosted files. You can later click [ Edit ] to go back to "Fully-Hosted", but you must remember to re-create the settings to match the previous configuration.
  3. Scroll to the bottom and click the button [ Host DNS only! ].

If you're wanting to do this for a sub domain you can either follow the same directions above, making sure to select the options next to the sub domain itself, or you can remove the sub domain entirely by clicking the [ Delete ] button located next to it under the Actions column on that same control panel page above. If you choose the latter, you'll then need to follow the directions below to set up your custom A record for the sub domain.

Keep in mind that this only affects your web hosting service and will leave other things like email intact.

You'll then need to make the actual changes to your domain's DNS as described below. Failure to remove your web hosting service will result in you setting up a round robin DNS that will almost definitely cause unexpected results.

Custom A Record

It's definitely possible to set this up, but it's not obvious at first.

  1. Click the DNS link located under your domain here.
  2. Leave the Name: field blank. (Unless you're trying to point a sub domain, like www or mail, etc...)
  3. Change the Type: to A.
  4. Enter in the IP address of where you'd like to point the domain in the Value: field. Eg. 127.0.0.1.
  5. Click the Add Record Now! button to add the record.

You'll be good to go after DNS updates across the Internet (see DNS propagation and DNS servers are updated).

Custom CNAME Record

Please keep in mind that the root A record (eg. yourdomain.com) can NOT be a CNAME record and must instead be something like an A record. See above for instructions on changing the root A record.

  1. Click the DNS link located under your domain here.
  2. Enter www or another desired sub domain in the Name: field.
  3. Change the Type: to CNAME.
  4. Enter in the domain of where you'd like to point the domain in the Value: field. Eg. newserver.newhost.com.
  5. Click the Add Record Now! button to add the record.

You'll be good to go after DNS updates across the Internet (see DNS propagation and DNS servers are updated).

Custom SRV record

Sample Service (SRV) record format:
_service._protocol.name. TTL class SRV priority weight port target.
Here is an example:
_sipfederationtls._tcp.exampledomain.com. 86400 IN SRV 100 1 5061 sip.exampledomain.com.

For details on an SRV record see wikipedia entry. Here are two SRV references for setting up Office 365 with Lync Online [1] and [2].

To add a custom SRV record in Dreamhost Panel follow these steps:

  1. In the DreamHost panel, go to the Manage Domains section, then click on the DNS link under the domain you want to edit. In this example the domain is exampledomain.com
  2. Enter _sipfederationtls._tcp in the Name field. Should have .exampledomain.com to right of Name field.
  3. Change the Type: to SRV.
  4. Enter in the {priority}{weight}{port}{target} information for SRV record in the Value field. For this example the {priority}= 100, {weight}= 1, {port}= 5061 and {target}= sip.exampledomain.com, so we would enter the following: 100 1 5061 sip.exampledomain.com. Note the trailing period after this entry
  5. Click the Add Record Now! button to add the record.

You'll be good to go after DNS updates across the Internet (see DNS propagation and DNS servers are updated).

Custom SPF Records

  1. Go here for more info

Custom Nameservers

To set up custom nameservers with DreamHost, the domain must be registered through DreamHost. If it is not, these custom nameservers need to be set up with whichever company was used to register the domain (also known as your registrar); contact them for further help with setting them up. If you have registered your domain with DreamHost, read on!

  1. Click the Whois Info button located next to your domain registration (or, if you have multiple registrations, check the Modify Whois? box next to the domain you want to modify and click the Modify whois! button) on the {Domains -> Registrations} page of the panel.
  2. On the next page, click the Nameservers tab and select the Use another host's nameservers option.
  3. Enter in the custom nameservers you'd like to set up, like:
    ns1.yourdomain.com
    ns2.yourdomain.com
    ns3.yourdomain.com
    • Make sure to replace yourdomain.com with your actual domain name.
  4. Click the Save Nameservers button to save that change.
    • The page will then refresh and inform you that you need to "Please correct the errors below!".
  5. Enter in the IP address for each of the custom nameservers in the corresponding IP ADDRESS field.
    • If you'd like to point the custom nameservers to DreamHost's nameservers, use these IP addresses:
    ns1.yourdomain.com would use address 66.33.206.206
    ns2.yourdomain.com would use address 208.96.10.221
    ns3.yourdomain.com would use address 66.33.216.216
    • Make sure to replace yourdomain.com with your actual domain name.
  6. Click the Save Nameservers button for the last time to save the changes!

Notes

  1. As with all changes to DNS, don't expect things to happen immediately. It may take a few hours for things to start working on your end. You may want to Flush DNS to see if this speeds things up for you, but there's no guarantees.
  2. DreamHost support offers no support for custom DNS changes like this. If you've followed these instructions properly and find that things aren't working as expected it's very likely that you set it up incorrectly per your other host's instructions. You might want to check out the Talk Page for this article or the Discussion Boards for help if you need it.