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I wish to have someone point and resolve their domain to my web server to begin serving their pages.

Is it enough to have the person set only the NS1 and NS2 records to my name server, or must they also set the A Record as well?


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up vote 7 down vote accepted

There are two distinct options:

  1. They can continue hosting DNS for the domain and point the A record to you. This is simplest and they may wish to retain this control. But it introduces some administrative overhead because you will need to contact them if you ever need to change your IP address.

  2. They can delegate the entire domain to you. They will need to contact their registrar and ask for the nameservers to be re-delegated to your own. You can't just change the NS records within the zonefile. You will then need to host the domain's zone on your nameservers. This puts you in the most control and you can configure the A record at will.

    However this may also have some administrative overhead, if they maintain other records within the zone (including MXs) and need to contact you whenever they change. You will also need to ensure that you reproduce the entire contents of their current zonefile in order to maintain any services they have today.

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Also, if you have your own nameservers. Make sure they are at a separate geographical location, this way when 1 site go down the other site still respond. Also consider your uptime versus a hosts uptime that usually has redundancy in power, connection, server and what not. – artifex Nov 25 '09 at 11:58
Got it, thanks Dan. I do have DNS hosting capability on my server. Thus I just need to decide on how much control and involvement I wish to take on your explanations are very helpful. – H. Ferrence Nov 25 '09 at 11:59
I do have my own nameserver (web server) but only 1. I do not have redundancy capabilities. For those domains in the past that I have had their NS records point to me - NS1 and NS2 resolve to the same server. Is that an issue? – H. Ferrence Nov 25 '09 at 12:01
Having both nameservers point to the same location is pretty superfluous. It's best practice to have two, because unlike the outages of other services (like HTTP), a DNS outage can be further reaching. Due to the way that DNS caching (and negative caching) works. If you're unable to host another nameservers yourself you could always outsource the hosting of a secondary NS to another provider. – Dan Carley Nov 25 '09 at 12:26
@dr. dot: i see this from both sides: as a web hoster i wouldn't want the added responsibility of hosting dns. as a customer i wouldn't trust my dns to my web hoster (no offense). imho, i would have the customer create a cname record for www that points to the A record for your web server. that way if the ip address of the web server changes the customer will be unaffected and neither of you will have to worry about making changes to their dns. – joeqwerty Nov 25 '09 at 12:45

Please excuse me for being very blunt, but if you don't know the answer to this question, you should not be running your own name server, let alone hosting NS records for someone else.

In the circumstances the only sane thing for them to do is to only point the A record at your server. They should leave their NS records with someone who understands DNS.

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I think there is a third option in addition to the two that Dan suggested, which is more appropriate in some cases when you want to serve someone else's subdomain on your servers, and you want to be able to change the IP address of your server without asking them to update their NS records....

They can delegate just the subdomain that you want to manage to your nameservers. I will quote from

"In your current zone file for your domain at the other DNS provider, you will need to create NS (NameServer) records. These NS records “redirect” queries for the specific subdomain to Dyn Standard DNS. For, these records would look like:    48600   IN  NS    48600   IN  NS    48600   IN  NS    48600   IN  NS    48600   IN  NS

Please note the trailing “.” after each hostname.

Once these NS records have been created, queries for the subdomain will be answered by your Dyn Standard DNS zone.

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P.S. By 'your nameservers' I don't mean hobby nameservers that you are personally managing, just an account on a professionally managed nameserver which you control. – JeremyS Nov 23 '11 at 22:35

Good comments here on hosting your own DNS. I think it's a decision you should not take lightly. Due to the hierarchical, cached nature of DNS, a few minutes of misconfiguration or downtime can cause headaches for a long time, as your customers ISP DNS server might ignore your TTL value and cache a bad response from you for hours. And as DNS issues impact mail delivery to the domains you are authoratative for as well, the peril can be even higher.

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Thanks Kyle. I will follow your link and read through and digest all the info. Then decide accordingly. – H. Ferrence Nov 25 '09 at 12:27
@dr. dot: i work at an email hosting company. one of our email customers had his dns hosted with his web hosting company. needless to say, web hosting was their area of expertise and not dns hosting. the web hoster had a problem with his dns infrastucture and my customer was without email for 2 days. we helped him transfer his name servers and dns zone to godaddy and a week later the web hoster transferred the name servers and dns zone back to himself and messed up the mx record, so my customer was again without email for a day. that's why i'm suggesting you stick to hosting the web site only. – joeqwerty Nov 25 '09 at 13:00

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