My client has a domain name clientsdomain.com, with DNS records set out as such:

Lookup has started…

Trying "clientsdomain.com"
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 21301
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 5, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 3

;clientsdomain.com. IN  ANY

clientsdomain.com. 10800    IN  NS  ns2.their-current-webhost.co.uk.
clientsdomain.com. 10800    IN  NS  ns.their-current-webhost.co.uk.
clientsdomain.com. 10800    IN  SOA ns.their-current-webhost.co.uk. hostmaster.their-current-webhost.com. 2012111658 86400 604800 2419200 10800
clientsdomain.com. 10800    IN  A
clientsdomain.com. 10800    IN  MX  10 site2.smtp.exch500.their-current-webhost.net.

ns.their-current-webhost.co.uk. 4176    IN  A
ns2.their-current-webhost.co.uk. 3984   IN  A
site2.smtp.exch500.their-current-webhost.net. 55681 IN A

Received 270 bytes from in 54 ms

I've changed IP addresses and some domains for the sake of privacy. Here's what I want to do:

  • I want to point their domain to our web host, at MediaTemple
  • MediaTemple's IP Address is
  • MediaTemple's Nameservers are ns1.mediatemple.net and ns2.mediatemple.net
  • I don't want to interfere with any MX Records or email setups - their emails need to keep functioning

So my question is, do I need to get them to change their NS Records, or their A records, or both?. Do they need to just change the A-records and remove the NS Records which reference their old web host? Or vice-versa?



3 Answers 3


In an ideal world, they'll just need to change the A records and be done with it.

The issue may come when they cancel their existing hosting as this may take their current nameservers with it. What I typically do to transfer a domain without affecting site or e-mail uptime is as follows:

  1. Change the A record to point to the new hosting. Remember to change both domain.com and www.domain.com if this is applicable.
  2. Ensure the above is fully working.
  3. Add the domain and replicate all of the existing records on your own DNS server (except NS records, which should be your own).
  4. Change the nameservers of the domain to point to your DNS server.

Remember that the NS records listed by dig are actually being served up by the domain's current DNS server. When you 'change the nameservers for a domain' this is done in the control panel of the domain registrar and will appear in the domain's whois information.


There are two ways to handle that:

If you want to keep the old nameservers, you just have to change the A-records on them to the new IP

If you want to use MediaTemple's Nameservers, you will have to contact the domain registrar to update the domain to the new (Mediatemple) nameservers and configure all DNS records you need (including the MX-records and the new A-record) on the Mediatemple nameservers.

  • What is the impact of "keeping the old nameservers"? Sorry, I'm a bit of a beginner at this. I understand changing the A-Record will make the new website go 'live', but what impact do the Nameservers at their old host still have, if any?
    – Jack
    Mar 22, 2013 at 9:48
  • None. A client won't care who resolves the domain name.
    – etagenklo
    Mar 22, 2013 at 22:18
  • The authoritative nameservers for a domain are the ones you see in the whois of the domain. If you do not update the domain at your registrar, the authoritative nameservers will still be the old ones. That's not a problem as long as you update the old nameservers with the new DNS records. Of course you should make sure that you can still use the old nameservers, because if you're migrating all your domains away from the old hoster, it's possible that he will also delete your DNS entries. This is usually only the case if you got the domain from a hoster and not from a plain domain-registrar.
    – etagenklo
    Mar 22, 2013 at 22:25

If it is only the website that is moving, and their e-mail and DNS will still be at their-current-webhost.co.uk, you only need to change the A record. If you want to move DNS as well, you also need to change the NS and SOA. The MX record will have to move to your new DNS provider too.

You have to find out who will be your DNS provider after the move, and decide accordingly.

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