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.
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:
The details for each column consist of the DNS record set up for your domain:
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 18.104.22.168
- ns2.dreamhost.com 22.214.171.124
- ns3.dreamhost.com 126.96.36.199
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:
|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.|
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.
|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.
- This is the IPv6 address record. You can use this to forward the mapping of the hostname to an IPv6 address.
- The “canonical name record” or CNAME record points one domain name to another domain name.
- Also known as "mail exchange" records, which show you the host record the domain is pointing to for mail hosting.
- These “nameserver records” delegate a domain or subdomain to a DNS server.
- 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.
|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:
- "Service locator" records advertise a specific service that a server offers.
- 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:
|Note:||You can find further information regarding IP addresses and the two types that are used in the following article:|
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 188.8.131.52 www.cloudflare.com.cdn.cloudflare.net. 260 IN A 184.108.40.206
- ⇒ 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:
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.
View the following article for further details:
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:
|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.|
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.
- 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: 220.127.116.11 Address: 18.104.22.168#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
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.
- DNS entry at Wikipedia
- List of DNS records at Wikipedia
- Tool for looking up DNS records
- IP Address Details and API
- Various tools to check your DNS records
You can also review information in the following articles: