Custom DNS

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Overview

It is sometimes necessary to create Custom DNS records to verify your domain, or point specific DNS services to another location. This article details how to create custom records within your panel for various types of DNS records.

If you’d like to read about DNS and the different records applied to your domain, please review the following wiki:

Point your hosting away from DreamHost

This section provides details for the process of pointing your domain’s services outside of DreamHost through custom A records, custom CNAME records, as well as creating other records for your domain’s services. You will need to have your domain’s nameservers pointing to us for these changes to function.

Note2 icon.png Notes:
  • Setting your domain to DNS ONLY is only necessary if you want to host the site at another company.
  • If you would like the site to remain hosted on DreamHost’s servers, you would keep it set as FULLY HOSTED.
  • You are still able to add custom DNS as needed.


The instructions outlined below can be done in the panel under (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’).

Note2 icon.png Note: The following information should only be done if you wish to edit the root domain’s records.


If you want your site to point away from DreamHost by creating an A or CNAME record, the first step is to remove the hosting service already applied to your domain with us. Click the Edit button under the ‘Web Hosting’ column for the domain.

On the following page, scroll down to the ‘DNS Only’ section:
01 DNS ONLY.fw.png

Clicking the Host DNS only! button changes your hosting for this domain from ‘Fully Hosted’ to ‘DNS Only’. This will also remove our non-editable DNS records from the domain.

Below are a few things to note regarding these changes:

  • Do not press the Delete button for the domain through the ‘Manage Domains’ page. This will remove the domain from the account along with the contents that were previously hosted under it.
  • Setting the domain to ‘DNS Only’ will not delete your hosted files. You can click the Edit button to set the domain as ‘Fully Hosted’. This will recreate our DNS records for the domain.
  • Keep in mind that this only affects your web hosting service and will leave other things services like email intact (this assumes you already have an active hosting plan on your account). Email is not available with DreamHost unless your account has an active hosting plan.

Additionally these changes are only possible for the primary domain – subdomains cannot be set to DNS Only.

After applying the ‘DNS Only’ setting to your domain, click the DNS link under the domain you wish to edit through the ‘Manage Domains’ page to create the custom records.

On that page, you will see the following section where you can create the custom records for your domain:

02 DNS edit screen.fw.png

Description of fields on the Add a custom DNS record page

Name
In this field, you can include the subdomain name for the record you’re setting up. If you are setting up a record for the main domain (MYDOMAIN.com), leave this field blank.
To set up a ‘www’ subdomain record enter ‘www’ in this field.
Type
The ‘Type’ drop-down menu will allow you to assign a certain type of record. The ‘DNS’ article listed at the top of this page will have details on the various types of records that can be created and what they’re for.
Note: If you wish to setup custom MX records for your domain, you'll need to visit a different section of your panel. The Go here! link in the screenshot above will direct you to the (Panel > ‘Mail’ > ‘Custom MX’) page to set up custom MX records for the domain to point mail elsewhere.
The following wiki provides more information regarding custom MX records and how to set them up:
Value
This field is where you are to enter the value of the record you’re pointing the service to. For an A record, this field will be populated with an IPv4 address. The custom record value must already be setup at the host you’re pointing the services to.
Comment
This is an optional field. You can leave this field blank or include some note for the record you’re adding. This field has no actual effect to the service you’re setting up.
Note: Each record created will require its own time for the DNS to resolve. You can check the progress of the record at a site such as this:
The following wiki provides details on DNS propagation as well if you’d like to read more about that:

Custom records

A Record

  1. Click the DNS link located under your domain on the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’) page.
    01 Custom DNS A record.png
  2. Enter the following in three fields to create the A record:
    • Name: For the main domain, leave the ‘Name’ field blank. For ‘www’ or other subdomains, you can enter the subdomain name in this field.
    This field is often any of the following: www, blog, dev, store, and so on.
    Note2 icon.png Note: Do not add the @ symbol into this field. This is added automatically.


    • Type: The record ‘Type’ will default to ‘A’.
    • Value: Enter the IP address in the ‘Value’ field.
    This is the IP address you want this domain/subdomain to point to.
  3. Click the Add Record Now! button.

The propagation for the new A record begins, and can take up to 6 hours before the new records update online.

CNAME Record

Along with custom A records, you can point your hosting away from DreamHost with a CNAME record. This record is created to point one domain to another as opposed to pointing one domain to an IP address like the custom A record.

Please keep in mind that the root A record (for example, yourdomain.com) cannot be a CNAME record and must always be an A record.

Like the custom A record, you can set up a custom CNAME record in the panel:

  1. Click the DNS link under the domain name on the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’) page.
    01 Custom DNS CNAME record.png
  2. Enter the following:
    • Name: This field can be anything. But very often it’s just www. Adding www will point the www subdomain away from DreamHost.
    In the example above, the CNAME record is named 'calendar' and is pointing to 'ghs.google.com'.
    • Type: In the drop-down menu select ‘CNAME’.
    • Value: Enter the location you’d like this record to point to.
  3. Click the Add Record Now! button to save.

After clicking the Add Record Now! button, the propagation for the new record will begin. This can take up to 6 hours before the new records update online.

Nameservers

For details on how to setup custom/vanity nameservers, please visit our Nameservers wiki.

SPF Records

For details on what an SPF record is an how to set it up, please visit our SPF wiki:

SRV record

SRV (service) records are another set of records that can be applied to your domain. Certain programs and applications may require the set up of these types of records to make those services active.

Your standard SRV record will be in this type of format:

_service._protocol.name. TTL class SRV priority weight port target.

The following two SRV example records demontrate the setup of Microsoft’s mail hosting service, which is one of the more common SRV records that are setup for a domain:

_sipfederationtls._tcp	SRV	100 1 5061 sipfed.online.lync.com.

_sip._tls	        SRV	100 1 443 sipdir.online.lync.com.

Below is an example of how to setup the records above.

  1. In your panel, go to (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’).
  2. Click the 'DNS' link under your domain name:
    01 Custom DNS SRV record.png
    • Name: _sipfederationtls._tcp
    In the screenshot above, only the first SRV record is being created. You'd need to repeat these steps for the second record.
    • Type: Select SRV from the dropdown menu.
    • Value: You need to enter the values in the order (priority) (weight) (port) (target)
    Using the example for MS mail hosting above, the first record’s value will be:
    100 1 5061 sipfed.online.lync.com.
    Here, we have:
    priority = 100
    weight = 1
    port = 5061
    target = sipfed.online.lync.com
  3. Click the Add Record Now! button.

After clicking the Add Record Now! button, the propagation for the new A record begins and can take up to 6 hours before the new records update online.

The two records will look like this once created:

_sipfederationtls._tcp	SRV	100 1 5061 sipfed.online.lync.com.

_sip._tls	        SRV	100 1 443 sipdir.online.lync.com.
Note2 icon.png Note: A trailing period will be applied to the end of the record once it is created. This will not cause any issues.


TXT Record

  1. Navigate to the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’) page.
  2. Click the 'DNS' link under the domain name.
    01 Custom DNS TXT record.png
  3. Enter the following:
    • Name: This field can be anything. Very often it’s left blank.
    • Type: In the drop-down menu select ‘TXT’.
    • Value: Enter the location you’d like this record to point to.
    The example above is a typical Google site verification TXT record.
  4. Click the Add Record Now! button to save.

After clicking the Add Record Now! button, the propagation for the new record will begin. This can take up to 6 hours before the new records update online.

Additional details

  • As with all changes to DNS, these records need time to update online. You will find that it may take a few hours for things to start functioning. You may want to Flush the DNS to see if this speeds up the propagation process, but there are no guarantees this will help. You can read instructions on flushing the DNS here:
Flush DNS.
  • DNS changes can take up to 6 hours to resolve. If your nameservers are pointing to DreamHost and the services set up for the record created are not active within this time, you may contact support for assistance at (Panel > ‘Support’ > ‘Contact’ Support’).
Note2 icon.png Note: DreamHost support is able to point you to where you can create custom records as well as check to see if the record is properly applied to your domain. However, support cannot assist with setting up these custom records or whether the record created is correct or not.