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When I register my domain charity.org with ACME Domains (acme-domains.com), I have an option to enter the nameservers (NS records) for my domain in ACME Domain's control panel. What is happening when I do this? I assume that ACME Domain's control panel communicates with one of the name server's for .org and tells it to add an NS record for charity.org.

If my assumption is correct, there are no SOA records at this point. Does this matter?

  • What do you mean "there are no SOA records"? Are you saying that the new nameservers do not have the zone (yet)? If so, why would you want to change the delegation before adding the zone? – Håkan Lindqvist Jun 24 '16 at 11:19
  • Yes, I'm saying that I haven't set up the zone on the new name server. I want to understand DNS in more detail, like what happens if the NS records in the .org zone point to a server without details for that zone. – magnus Jun 24 '16 at 11:47
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When you make these changes through your domain registrar, they forward the information to the registry and it is entered into the parent zone (org in this case).

There may or may not be validation in place that tries to save you from making mistakes but if you do change the delegation NS records to point to nameservers that do not actually have the relevant zone, the zone will effectively be unreachable.

Ie, when looking up the name, following the chain of delegations you will end up at nameservers that tell them they know nothing about that zone (status REFUSED, a referral for the root (.) or possibly SERVFAIL), this situation is sometimes referred to as encountering a lame nameserver.

If all of the nameservers in the delegation are "lame" no lookups will succeed.

  • So entering new nameserver values at his registrar doesn't change the NS records for his domain in the zone file sitting on his registrar's name servers? – Emilio Apr 28 at 21:38

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