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I just setup a site where my friend registered the domain name and I hosted it. I figured that all I needed to give him was the nameservers to use, however, even after entering them, the site still didn't resolve (even after 48 hours, so it wasn't propogation).

It wasn't until he updated the A-record's IP address to point to my server that it worked.

My question is this, doesn't specifying an IP address in the A-record defeat the purpose of the nameservers?

In other words, I expected the sequence to look something like this:

.com -> domain registrar's DNS -> specified nameservers -> my server IP

Instead, I wonder whether the third step is skipped and it goes straight from the domain registrar's DNS to my IP (via the A-record), rendering the nameservers useless.

.com -> domain registrar's DNS -> my server IP

To complicate matters, he's using GoDaddy, so it's not as clean and clear as it might otherwise be.

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If you're using a subdomain of example.com as a name server for example.com, you need a "glue" record to enable DNS clients to find the name server before they can resolve its name. The registrar should allow you to specify the IP addresses as well as the domain names of the name servers for the domain so that the correct glue records can be created.

See the instructions here for creating glue records on GoDaddy (note that I have not personally verified that these instructions work).

  • Strictly speaking, it's "resolvers", rather than "clients". Not every client is a resolver performing query resolution. – JdeBP Feb 2 '12 at 18:04

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