The DNS Manager is a comprehensive DNS management interface available within the Linode Manager that allows you to add DNS records for all of your domain names. This guide introduces basic DNS concepts and explains how to set up DNS records for common configurations.
The Domain Name System (DNS) attaches human-usable domain names to machine-usable IP addresses. It's essentially the phone book of the Internet. Just like a phone book can help you find the phone number of a business, DNS can take a domain name like google.com and translate it into an IP address like 184.108.40.206, the IP address for Google's homepage. This global system allows users to remember the names of websites instead of their IP addresses.
DNS is a complex system, and explaining exactly how it works is beyond the scope of this article. For a general introduction, see our Introduction to the Domain Name System.
When setting up any domain name on your Linode, you'll need to perform the following steps to make it accessible to the world:
This guide walks you through all of the steps.
Ready to add or edit DNS records? Log in to the Linode Manager and click the DNS Manager tab. It contains all of the DNS records for your Linode's domain names. When you open the DNS Manager, you'll see the webpage shown below.
When you select a domain zone, or select the Edit link next to a domain zone, the webpage shown below will appear.
When you click the Edit link next to a DNS record, the webpage shown below will appear.
Later in this guide, you'll learn how to add DNS records in Linode's DNS Manager. Some of the most common records, like NS and A/AAAA records, are necessary for every domain. Other records won't need to be added unless you have a specific need.
Here are the types of DNS records you can add in the DNS Manager:
To learn more about the different types of DNS records, see our Introduction to the Domain Name System.
After you purchase is setting your domain name to use our name servers. Use your domain name registrar's interface to set the name servers for your domain name to the following entries:
See the instructions on your domain name registrar's website for more information.
DNS changes can take up to 24 hours to propagate throughout the Internet, although the changes are usually visible within a couple hours.
As stated earlier, a domain zone is essentially synonymous with the term "domain." Before you can add any DNS records, you must create a domain zone — a container for DNS records associated with a single domain name. The Linode Manager allows you to import domain zones from other DNS servers, clone existing zones that you've already created in the DNS Manager, check to make sure that a zone is correctly loaded, view the raw output of a zone file, and permanently remove a zone and all associated DNS records.
If you're new to Linode, or if you've just purchased a new domain name, the first step is to add a new domain zone in the DNS Manager. This creates a container for the DNS records for your domain name. And if you don't know what DNS records to add, the DNS Manager can insert some basic records when you create the new domain zone.
Here's how to add a new domain zone:
If you want to add a slave zone instead of a master zone, click the I wanted a slave zone link.
If you selected the option to have the DNS Manager insert basic DNS records, those records will be visible, as shown above. If you elected to keep the zone empty, you can start adding DNS records now. Skip to the Adding DNS Records section for instructions.
If you're migrating domains to Linode from another hosting provider, and that provider allows zone transfers from their DNS server, it may be possible to import your existing domain zone and DNS records in to the Linode Manager. If the import is successful, all of your existing DNS records will be available in the DNS Manager.
Here's how to import a zone file:
The name server must allow zone transfers (AXFR) from 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168.
The Linode Manager will connect to the remote name server and import your existing DNS records.
The Clone a Zone feature allows you to copy DNS records from an existing domain zone in your account to a new zone. Assuming you've already set up DNS records for one domain name, this is a good way to quickly create DNS records for another domain name that will be hosted on your existing Linode.
Here's how to clone an existing zone:
The DNS records will be copied from the existing zone to the new zone.
Under normal circumstances, there's no reason to suspect a problem with your domain zone or DNS records. But sometimes things go wrong. You can use the check zone feature to verify that your domain zone is working correctly.
Here's how to check the status of a domain zone:
If you see a message stating that your zone looks good, everything is working correctly.
The DNS Manager allows you to view the contents of a domain zone file. This could come in handy if you need to import the zone into a different server, or just want to inspect the contents of the file.
Here's how to view the contents of a domain zone file:
You have successfully opened the domain zone file.
If one of your domain names has expired, or if you want to start hosting it on another server, you should permanently remove the domain zone and all of its associated DNS records. Here's how:
You have successfully removed the domain zone and all of its associated DNS records.
Once you've created a domain zone, you can start filling it with DNS records. This is where the pedal hits the metal — DNS records are the link between your domain and your virtual private server. This section shows you how to add, edit, and remove DNS records.
When you first create a domain zone, you'll need to add some DNS records. Here's how:
If you haven't already created a domain zone, do that now. For instructions, see Adding a Domain Zone. If you don't know which DNS records to create, the DNS Manager can automatically insert some basic DNS records when you create a domain zone to get you started.
The exact form fields will vary depending on the type of DNS record you select.
You have successfully added the DNS record. It can take up to 30 minutes for new DNS records to become active.
You can edit and modify existing DNS records in the DNS Manager. Here's how:
You have successfully edited the DNS record. It can take up to 30 minutes for the record to be updated.
If you no longer need a existing DNS record, you can remove it from the DNS manager. Here's how:
You have successfully removed the DNS record. It can take up to 30 minutes for the changes to be removed.
Your desktop computer uses DNS to determine the IP address associated with a domain name. Reverse DNS lookup does the opposite by resolving an IP address to a designated domain name. You should always set the reverse DNS, even if your Linode hosts more than one domain name.
Here's how to set the reverse DNS for your Linode:
You have set up reverse DNS for your domain name.
It's one thing to know how to use the DNS Manager to add domain zones and DNS records — it's another to know exactly which records you should add, and under which circumstances you should add them. This section discusses common DNS configurations that you can reference when creating your DNS records.
Obviously, the most common DNS configuration is a single domain name on one Linode. You'll need to add an SOA Record, NS Records for all of your name servers, and A/AAAA records for your domain names. Use the screenshot below as a guide.
The DNS Manager can automatically add all of these records when you create a domain zone. For instructions, see this section.
To configure a subdomain, such as staging.example.org, create an A record with the hostname of the subdomain you want to create. Point the the record at the IP address of the server you want to host the subdomain, as shown below.
Of course, you'll also need to create a name-based virtual host for the subdomain. If you're using Apache, see these instructions for more information.
To host multiple domain names on a single server, create a separate domain zone for each domain name, as shown below. When creating the new domain zones, we recommend that you allow the DNS Manager to automatically insert basic records. At a minimum, you'll need an A record for each domain name pointing to the server's IP address.
Of course, you'll also need to create a name-based virtual host for each domain name. If you're using Apache, see these instructions for more information.
If you have more than one server, but only one domain name, you can point A records with server-specific hostnames to all servers that need domain names. One machine will be the "front end" for the domain, by virtue of the first-level domain's A record pointing to it, but if needed the domain can serve as a proxy for services provided by other machines. For example, if you wanted to create a development environment on another server, you could create an A record for staging.example.org and point it at another Linode's IP address.
To route email to a third-party email service, create MX records that associate your mail server (for example, mail.example.org) with a hostname provided by the third-party service. For instructions, see the website of your third-party email service.
A wildcard DNS record matches requests for non-existent domain names. For example, if you create an A record for *.example.org, and a user visits nonexistantname.example.org, that user will be redirected to example.org. An example wildcard DNS record is shown below.
This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
Last edited by Sharon Campbell on Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 (r3449).