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I have a web host system that I love, except for their web interface to administer sites. So I've changed my servers to a new service that is basically only a remote Linux machine. Everything works great except for the DNS.

It used to be that when I made a new site, I bought the domain name and pointed it to the host's DNS servers and from there I had a web interface that allowed me to do what I wanted with the zone file. Now, all I have is a Linux box with BIND9 on it.

Can I create a DNS server for several sites? Fox example, if I'm managing site1.com and site2.com and site3.com on 111.112.113.114, can I make the machine on that IP the DNS server for all of them, telling the outside world where the www and other subdomains are, where the email goes to and so forth?

My main domain registrar allows me to specify a "custom DNS server," where I can place the IP for a DNS server. I think I've configured BIND9 correctly on the web server and specified a low TTP, but so far no luck: my test site is still pointing to the old domain. Is what I am trying to do possible?

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Yes, you certainly can do this. How long have you waited for the new settings to propagate? You've set the TTL to a low value now, but what was it before? Have you waited at least that long? Also realize that some ISPs, etc., refuse to properly respect these settings. –  ziesemer Dec 26 '11 at 2:39
    
I haven't waited as long as the previous value, no. But when I changed the TTL on the old server, it was very, very quick. I still have access to the old server and I'll begin by changing that. I just wanted to know if it was possible at all before I started investing tons of time in it. Right now, all the manuals I've found were for local DNS services. I'm doing what they say but with non-local IPs. Will that work? –  eje211 Dec 26 '11 at 2:46
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migrated from superuser.com Dec 26 '11 at 2:54

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4 Answers

I'm no expert in these matters, but I think you can do this all for individual services, without messing with DNS.

For webhosting, you can do it from Apache. As long as the domains are pointing to your IP address and you're just using 1 machine, you should be able to configure vhosts. Basically, you configure apache to serve up the site content from a different directory for each site. For example, site1.com would be served from /www/site1/, and site2.com would be served from /www/site2/. The apache documentation has some detailed information on how to configure this.

For mail, you'll want to set an MX entry. Typically this is something you'd set up through your domain registrar.

I may be completely over-simplifying this, so if these tips don't work, let me know.

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All you say is true, but it does not answer the question. While site1.com and site2.com can be made into sites using virtual servers (I'm actually doing just that), what I'm trying to do is tell the outside world which IP address these URLs go to from that same computer. Basically, what I'm trying to do is upstream from what you're advising me to do. –  eje211 Dec 26 '11 at 4:58
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Yes, you can certainly do this. The TTL setting you set won't take effect until the next time you make a change - so you need to wait as long as it was previously set for - as well as recognize that unfortunatley, some ISPs refuse to always properly respect these settings. Yes, this will also work with non-local IPs as long as you have everything configured properly with your domain registrar. (They actually need to be non-local IPs, given that you're looking to "tell the outside world" - so I'm assuming this isn't only for local testing.)

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You can have own DNS-server for any amount of domains, which contains hostnames of your sites

ToDo list for DNS-tasks of new domain

  1. Remember FQDN (or IP, worse) of your DNS-server (linux-box)
  2. Define this FQDN as "custom DNS" on registrar-side
  3. Write zone in Bind on your server, use rather short default-TTL, define site IP inside zone
  4. Check "glue-record" for your domains, wait (if domain was used with another authoritative DNS before) TTL-time and see new correct data

PS - if you'll write your domain-name here, it will be easier to identify and debug problems with your DNS

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First Check if your whois information is updated.

x@x:/home/lab$ whois  hoopla.com
..........

Domain servers in listed order:

        NS1.ARTISTECHNEWMEDIA.COM
        NS2.ARTISTECHNEWMEDIA.COM

        Record created on:        2002-06-10 14:18:39.0
        Database last updated on: 2011-11-07 17:02:10.82
        Domain Expires on:        2012-06-10 14:18:39.0

Now see if this is your DNS server Try getting answers from it.

x@x:/home/lab$ dig hoopla.com @NS1.ARTISTECHNEWMEDIA.COM

; <<>> DiG 9.7.3 <<>> hoopla.com @NS1.ARTISTECHNEWMEDIA.COM
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 53286
;; flags: qr aa rd; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 2, ADDITIONAL: 2
;; WARNING: recursion requested but not available

;; QUESTION SECTION:
;hoopla.com.            IN  A

;; ANSWER SECTION:
hoopla.com.     3600    IN  A   209.97.208.254

;; AUTHORITY SECTION:
hoopla.com.     3600    IN  NS  ns2.artistechnewmedia.com.
hoopla.com.     3600    IN  NS  ns1.artistechnewmedia.com.

;; ADDITIONAL SECTION:
ns1.artistechnewmedia.com. 300  IN  A   209.97.208.252
ns2.artistechnewmedia.com. 300  IN  A   209.97.208.253

;; Query time: 373 msec
;; SERVER: 209.97.208.252#53(209.97.208.252)
;; WHEN: Thu Jan 12 02:13:46 2012
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 130

x@x:/home/lab$ 

After this step is done you can check with other DNS servers (eg. GoogleDNS - 8.8.8.8) to check if your DNS entries are getting propagated.

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