DNS

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Overview

DNS, or Domain Name System, provides various records that are looked up and used to make the internet work. More specifically, it's a system that translates your domain name into an IP address. Your site will have a variety of DNS records for the multiple services it uses. The details in this article provide information regarding some of the records that are applied to your domain at DreamHost.

DreamHost DNS

Viewing your DNS records

You can review all of the DNS records that are set up for any site you host at DreamHost on the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’) page. Under the domain name, click on the 'DNS' link:

001 non editable records.fw.png

The details for each column consist of the DNS record set up for your domain:

Record Type Value
  • Shows the service for this record.
  • For example, if you have a record for the ‘www’ service, the ‘www’ name will be listed under this column.
  • Shows the record type.
  • For the ‘www’ hosting service, you will see ‘A’ here as it would be set up as an ‘A’ record for that service.
  • Shows the value for that record. You will see a different value here depending on the type of record that’s set up
  • For the ‘www’ record, this column will show an IP address to point the ‘www’ record to so that it’s hosted with DreamHost.

This information is very handy if your domain points to non-DreamHost nameservers and you need to configure any or all of these records manually to point to DreamHost services.

If you are using DreamHost hosting services (including parking or a redirect of the site), and your domain is registered with DreamHost, you should use these name servers:

  • ns1.dreamhost.com 66.33.206.206
  • ns2.dreamhost.com 208.97.182.10
  • ns3.dreamhost.com 66.33.216.216

As long as the nameservers are pointing to DreamHost, the records on your domain’s DNS page will be applied to your domain.

Customizing DNS records

Additionally, you can have your domain’s nameservers pointing to DreamHost, but point your domain’s A records to another web host so that the site is being hosted elsewhere. You can also create custom DNS entries on the ‘DNS’ page for your domain.

View the following article for more information on Custom DNS instructions:

Non-editable DNS records

You’ll notice that there are numerous non-editable DNS records on your domain’s DNS page.

If you need to modify the A record, "www", or "ftp" records for your domain, you will need to remove the web hosting from that domain. This is necessary to prevent the domain from pointing to two different records.

To remove hosting (which removes your non-editable records), navigate to the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’) page. Then click the Remove button to the right of your domain:

002 Remove hosting.fw.png
Dh-kb-important-icon.fw.png Important: If you do not remove your hosting when adding your custom A records, a DNS conflict will occur as the domain will then point to two locations and will not respond properly.


Dh-kb-note-icon.fw.png Notes:
  • When you remove the web hosting, it will take some time before the change is reflected in the DNS records.
  • You can force the refresh on your domain's edit page, but you can do so once every 12 hours.
  • A typical DNS change will take up to 6 hours to resolve. Changes to the nameservers, however, will take longer. This will often resolve within 3 to 72 hours.


Non-DreamHost DNS

You can manage your domain registration at any registrar and point your domain’s hosting to DreamHost. If your domain is using outside nameservers, you will need to configure some custom DNS settings where your nameservers are currently pointing.

DreamHost recommends making the following custom DNS configurations:

  • Make an "A" type record to point to the A record your DreamHost site uses. You can find the information required for your domains on the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’) page.
  • Click the 'DNS' link under the domain name. The "A" type record found there (displayed as an IPv4 address) should be copied into the DNS settings of the non-DreamHost provider.
Dh-kb-note-icon.fw.png Note: You will need to contact the non-DreamHost DNS provider for specific instructions on setting those records up with them.


Basic DNS Records

See also: List of DNS record types on Wikipedia

This section outlines the various types of records that are set up for a domain and what they are for. These records can be configured through the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’) page by clicking the ‘DNS’ link under the domain name.

This is the "Address" record (A record) to forward the hostname to an IPv4 address.
AAAA 
This is the IPv6 address record. You can use this to forward the mapping of the hostname to an IPv6 address.
CNAME 
The “canonical name record” or CNAME record points one domain name to another domain name.
MX 
Also known as "mail exchange" records, which show you the host record the domain is pointing to for mail hosting.
NS 
These “nameserver records” delegate a domain or subdomain to a DNS server.
PTR 
Also called a “pointer record”. This is used for the reverse mapping of an IP address to a hostname. DreamHost currently only supports reverse DNS records when a Unique IP is added to a domain.
Dh-kb-note-icon.fw.png Note: Please note that a Unique IP address cannot be used to resolve mail blocking issues on shared email hosting.


You can read more about Unique IPs here:
SRV 
"Service locator" records advertise a specific service that a server offers.
TXT 
The text records are free-form text strings. They can be used for things like Google verification records and SPF / DKIM signing for mail services.
For further information regarding SPF and DKIM, please see the following articles:
Dh-kb-note-icon.fw.png Note: You can find further information regarding IP addresses and the two types that are used in the following article:


Additional details

Below are some additional details regarding different DNS records or terminology:


DNS A record lookup

  • When looking up an A record, you may get a CNAME record in response, for example:
    dig www.cloudflare.com
    www.cloudflare.com. 	260 	IN  	CNAME   www.cloudflare.com.cdn.cloudflare.net.
    www.cloudflare.com.cdn.cloudflare.net. 260 IN A 198.41.215.163
    www.cloudflare.com.cdn.cloudflare.net. 260 IN A 198.41.214.163
    
    You can look up the A record of that CNAME record. You will either be presented with yet another CNAME record or an A record.
    In situations where you cannot control the IP address of your server, such as a home user who receives an IP address from their ISP, dynamic DNS may be used to keep the domain name properly updated. You can find further information about dynamic DNS in the following article:
    Dynamic DNS

Fully qualified domain name

A FQDN is a unique domain that can't be confused with another. For example, if your site was example.com, you may have several FQDNs.

  • www.example.com
  • mail.example.com
  • webmail.example.com

View the following article for further details:

Zone file

A Zone file is a text record that contains the mapping of your domain and subdomains to their corresponding IP addresses. View the following article for further details:

Dh-kb-note-icon.fw.png Note: DreamHost does not offer a service to export your domain's zone file. If you need a list of the domain's records, you must copy your DNS records from your panel.


SOA record

The Start of Authority record is the first resource record in a DNS Zone file. The SOA record specifies the following authoritative information about a specific domain:

  • Primary name server of where the SOA record was created.
  • Admin email of the zone file. (A period is used in place of the @ symbol).
  • The domain's serial number. This is the revision number of the zone file.
  • Timers:
  • Refresh time
  • Retry time
  • Expire time
  • Minimum TTL

Run the following command via SSH to look up an SOA record. This example looks up dreamhost.com:

nslookup -type=soa dreamhost.com
Server:         64.90.63.202
Address:        64.90.63.202#53

Non-authoritative answer:
dreamhost.com
       origin = ns1.dreamhost.com
       mail addr = hostmaster.dreamhost.com
       serial = 2015091000
       refresh = 14534
       retry = 1800
       expire = 1814400
       minimum = 14400

See also

Below are some helpful links to outside sources that provide you with further details on various topics discussed on this page. The ‘Tool for looking up DNS records’ page is especially helpful in looking up your domain’s DNS records.

You can also review information in the following articles: