Where Is My DNS Hosted?

From time to time, you’ll have to make changes to your DNS records. For example, if you change IP addresses, your DNS A records will change. You’ll also change DNS if you want to add SPF records to help email authentication. For these changes to work properly, it’s vital to know where DNS is hosted. Continue reading “Where Is My DNS Hosted?”

How to Configure Your DNS for CloudFlare

Getting Started With CloudFlare™

Pre-Flight Check

  • This article assumes that you have already set up CloudFlare and added your domain.
  • We’ll be adding DNS records in Liquid Web’s Manage dashboard. If your site isn’t using Liquid Web’s nameservers, you’ll need to make changes at your registrar or DNS provider.
  • We’ll be using cPanel to set up an .htaccess redirect. If you don’t have access to cPanel, you will need to edit your .htaccess file directly; if you’re using a web server other than Apache (such as Nginx or IIS), you’ll need to set up the redirect manually. You can find tips for doing so in the bonus content section of this article.
Note: If your site’s DNS records are managed by CloudFlare or any other external source, our Heroic Support® team can provide the records you will need to add there to configure CloudFlare, but we will not be able to access your DNS records themselves.

Step #1: Get Your CloudFlare DNS Settings

  • Once your site has been added to CloudFlare via Manage, select Domains from the left menu, click on the CloudFlare tab and click the [+] button next to your domain name to expand the CloudFlare dashboard.
  • Now click on the DNS Settings link near the bottom-right corner to view your settings.

    View DNS Settings in the CloudFlare dashboard

  • The popup window will show you the specific changes you’ll need to make for your site:

    CloudFlare DNS settings popup

    Specifically, you’ll need to:

    • Add an .htaccess redirect to ensure all traffic to your site uses the “www” subdomain.
    • Add a CNAME record for the subdomain “cf-landing.yourdomainname.com”.
    • Change your CNAME record for the “www” subdomain to point to “www.yourdomain.com.cdn.cloudflare.net”.

Step #2: Redirect Traffic to Your ‘www’ Subdomain

If you have access to cPanel, setting up the redirect is a simple process using the method detailed below. If you don’t have access to cPanel, though, you’ll need to set up the redirect manually. You can find tips for doing so in the bonus content section of this article.

  • Log into your site’s cPanel and click on the Redirects icon.

    cPanel redirect

  • You’ll set up the redirect on this page:
    • Set the Type of redirect to “Permanent (301)”.
    • Select your domain name from the http:// dropdown menu.
    • Leave the / field blank.
    • In the Redirects to field, enter the full URL to which you want to direct traffic. As shown below, it must include both the protocol and “www” subdomain. In this case, we want to redirect traffic for “http://example.com” to “http://www.example.com”, so we’ve put “example.com” in the http:// field and “http://www.example.com” in the Redirects to field.

      13cpanelredirect2

  • Once done, click the Add button at the bottom to put the redirect in place and move on to the next step.

Step #3: Add the CloudFlare Landing Page Record

  • In your Manage dashboard, select Domains from the left menu, then click on the DNS tab to see a list of your domains.
  • Now click the [+] to the left of your domain name to display all of its DNS records.

    Manage dashboard domain DNS

  • Click the Add New Record button in the bottom right to add the new record.

    Add DNS record in Manage

  • We want to add a CNAME record for the CloudFlare landing subdomain, so enter “cf-landing” into the NAME field, select “CNAME” for the TYPE field, and set the TTL field to a reasonable value. TTL, or Time To Live, tells DNS servers how frequently to look for changes to the record. The value is listed in seconds, 3600 (one hour) is typically sufficient. Once done, click the green checkmark button to add the record.

    Add a CNAME DNS record for CloudFlare

  • Review the record details in the popup window to make sure they match the values provided by CloudFlare, and click the Confirm button to add the record.

    Confirm the addition of a CloudFlare DNS record

Step #4: Change the Data Field Value for Your ‘www’ Subdomain

  • Locate the entry for your “www” subdomain and click the Edit button to change its value.

    Edit WWW record

  • In the DATA field, change the current value from your domain name to the value provided by CloudFlare. In this case, we’re replacing “example.com” with “www.example.com.cdn.cloudflare.net”. Because this is an existing record, DNS will abide by the record’s current TTL value; lowering it at this point likely will not speed up propagation, but you may want to check that it has a reasonable value.

    Change the value of your WWW record for CloudFlare

    Once you’ve entered the correct value, click the green checkmark button.

  • Finally, review the values presented on the popup window, and then click the Confirm button to add the record.

    Confirm www CNAME change

  • Once CloudFlare sees the DNS changes you’ve made, web traffic to your site will be routed through its servers. Note that it can take up to 24-48 hours for the DNS changes you made to fully propagate across the Internet, but in many cases you will see the changes take effect much more quickly.

Next Step: Configure Visitor Logging

Because CloudFlare acts as a proxy, sitting between your website and the rest of the Internet, your server will, by default, log all visits to your site as having originated from CloudFlare. Fortunately it is a simple matter to configure your web server so that site visitors’ actual IP addresses will be logged. Proceed to Part Three to get started.
 

Bonus: Domain Redirects for Sites Without cPanel

If you don’t have access to cPanel or are using a web server other than Apache, you’ll need to set up the “www” redirect manually. These instructions cover the general steps for popular web servers:

Apache

Apache redirects are accomplished via .htaccess files. The one you’ll need to edit will be located in your web site’s root directory, but you may need to check a box in your FTP client to show hidden files in order to see it. If you don’t already have a file named “.htaccess” in your site’s main directory, you’ll need to create one.

To redirect your non-www domain to www, simply add these lines at the beginning of your .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www.
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://www.%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [R=301]

IIS

The non-www to www redirect can be made in IIS by adding the following redirect to the site’s web.config file:

<rule name="WWW Redirect" enabled="true" stopProcessing="true">
<match url="(.*)" ignoreCase="true" />
<conditions>
<add input="{HTTP_HOST}" negate="true" pattern="^www.(.+)$" />
</conditions>
<action type="Redirect" url="http://www.{HTTP_HOST}/{R:0}" appendQueryString="true" redirectType="Permanent" />
</rule>

Nginx

Nginx redirects may be configured in the site’s virtual host (.vhost) file or main configuration file, depending on the server version and operating system. Since Nginx is not supported by Liquid Web, we’re assuming that you already know how to edit the virtual host configuration.

To redirect your non-www domain to www, you’ll need to ensure that the primary server is configured to use only the “www” subdomain for its server name.

First, back up the configuration file and then locate the server block for your domain. If both the www and non-www versions of your domain name are listed in the same server block, remove the non-www reference to your site from that server name line. Then create a separate server block for the main, non-www, domain, similar to this one:

server {
listen 80;
server_name yourdomainname.com;
return 301 http://www.yourdomainname.com$request_uri;
}

This will direct all traffic directed at your site’s main domain to the www version of your domain name. Once you’ve finished, restart nginx for the change to take effect.
 

How To Add a Record With the DNS Zone Editor in cPanel

  1. This tutorial assumes you’ve already logged in to cPanel, and are starting on the home screen.

    cpanel-paperlantern-14-dns--01

  2. Now let’s learn how to add an "A record" with the DNS Zone Editor.

    cpanel-paperlantern-14-dns--02

  3. Click the "Simple Zone Editor" icon.

    cpanel-paperlantern-14-dns--03

  4. Select the domain you want to edit.

    cpanel-paperlantern-14-dns--04

  5. Then enter the "A Record", followed by the IP address you want it to point to.

    cpanel-paperlantern-14-dns--05

  6. Click Add a Record.

    cpanel-paperlantern-14-dns--06

  7. That’s it! We’ve successfully added an "A Record" to our domain.

    cpanel-paperlantern-14-dns--07

  8. You can see the new record listed here at the bottom …

    cpanel-paperlantern-14-dns--08

  9. Which is also where you can click to delete the record when it’s no longer needed.

    cpanel-paperlantern-14-dns--09

 

How to Add or Modify DNS Records in Manage

Pre-Flight Check

To manage a domain’s DNS records in your account management interface, it must use one of our nameservers, which are:

  • ns.liquidweb.com and ns1.liquidweb.com
  • ns.sourcedns.com and ns1.sourcedns.com

If you already know that your site is using Liquid Web’s nameservers, skip ahead to Step #2: Adding or Editing a DNS Entry.

Step #1: Where is DNS hosted?

There are several methods to determine which nameservers are considered authoritative for your domain. You can either:

  • Use a web-based WHOIS lookup tool such as ICANN WHOIS and noting the listings under Name Servers
  • Query WHOIS from a terminal by running the command “whois yourdomainname.com” and noting the listings under Name Servers
  • Log into your Manage interface, select Domains from the left menu and click on the DNS tab. Scroll down to the CURRENT DNS ZONES section and look at the Delegation column. If you see a green button labeled “Delegated”, your domain is using our nameservers and you can click the [+] the the left of the domain name to expand its record and start managing entries immediately.

    CurrentDNSZones

If your domain is not using our nameservers but you do want to be able manage DNS records through your Liquid Web account interface, you will need to log into your account at the registrar and update the nameservers to one of the pairs noted at the top of this article.

Note: It is not necessary to transfer a domain name simply to specify different nameservers or move its authoritative DNS record. You can continue to use your preferred registrar for domain name renewal and management even if you update the domain to use our nameservers.

 

Step #2: Adding or Editing a DNS Entry

  1. From your Manage interface, click on Domains in the left menu and then select the DNS tab in the Domains Dashboard and click the [+] to the left of the domain name to expand its DNS record.

    Add a DNS record in Manage

  2. To add a new record, click the blue Add New Record button at the bottom. To edit an existing record, click the Edit button to the right of the entry you wish to change. Each entry has four fields:

    Add new DNS record

    • Name: This field allows you to append a prefix (or more accurately, a suffix, since domain names are resolved from right to left) to the main domain name. If you’re adding a record for a subdomain, such as shop.example.com, you would enter “shop” in this field. Note: The Name field is also called “Host” or “@” at some registrars and hosting companies.
    • TTL: This specifies, in seconds, how long the DNS entry should be cached by a resolver before it’s considered outdated and checked again. A higher setting will reduce load on the DNS server, but will extend the time it takes for the new entry or value to propagate. Generally, you will want to set a lower value prior to changing a record (300 or 3600 for 5 minutes or one hour, respectively), and then raise the TTL back after 24 to 48 hours once your change has had a chance to fully propagate.
    • Type, and Data: Manage allows you to enter and edit multiple record types. Remember that only A, AAAA, and NS records take an IP address in the Data field.
      • A and AAAA records resolve a domain to an IP address (IPv4 for A, IPv6 for AAAA). Without these records, a site will not resolve. In addition to the main domain name, you likely will want to add an A record for your hostname, as well as any subdomains which resolve to a different server.
      • CNAMEs are aliases pointing an entry back to the main domain. Once a browser requests a page from that subdomain from your web server, the server will route the request to the proper directory. If you find yourself frequently creating records for subdomains, you may wish to add a wildcard CNAME to cover any requests for subdomains without their own records. You can do so by entering an asterisk in the Name field.
      • MX records determine how mail is handled for the domain. When selecting an MX record type, Data will contain two fields: Priority and Exchange.
        • Priority always will be a number. Mail will be routed to the lowest numbered (highest priority) MX entry. Use the settings recommended by your control panel or email provider.
        • Exchange is the server to which mail will be directed.
      • NS Nameserver records specify the nameservers for the domain. Remember that the authoritative nameservers are specified at the registrar — if a WHOIS search returns different nameservers than what you’ve entered here, your entries in Manage will have no effect.
        Note: When using your own private or custom nameservers, their nameserver entries must be added at the domain’s registrar. When using custom nameservers, you will not be able to use Manage to add or edit DNS entries; that will be done via your server’s control panel.
      • SRV, or Service, records are used to configure services for your domain. When configuring an SRV record in Manage, the Name field should begin with an underscore, then the name of the service, a period, an underscore, and finally the protocol. For instance, a SRV record for Office 365’s Session Initiation Protocol over TLS would contain “_sip._tls” in the Name field. An SRV record contains four Data fields, each of which should be filled out according to the service’s instructions:
        • Priority: As with MX records, the lower the number the higher the priority.
        • Weight: Is used to distribute requests based on capacity.
        • Port: Directs requests to a specific port.
        • Target: Specifies the destination. For the example Office 365 SRV record above, the target would be “sipdir.online.lync.com”.
      • TXT records contain, as the name suggests, text. They can be used for SPF and rDNS entries, as well as domain verification information.
  3. Once you click the green checkmark button, the record will be added and DNS will begin to propagate. Typically only a few hours is needed for this, but it technically can take up to 24 hours to 48 hours for a DNS change to fully propagate globally.

 

How To Add a DNS Record For Your Hostname in Manage

Pre-Flight Check

  • These instructions are intended for domain names using Liquid Web’s nameservers.
  • If the main domain uses other nameservers, such as at a registrar, you will need to log in there and add an “A” record for the hostname in the main domain’s DNS zone file. The record should point to the server’s primary IP address.

Whenever you create a new server (or change the name of an existing one) you will need to add (or update) the DNS record for its parent domain.

If the hostname does not resolve, you will not be able to:

  • access WHM, cPanel, or Webmail via the hostname
  • send or receive email over a secure (SSL) connection using a mail client
  • verify the authenticity of email sent by the server (which could result in mail being rejected or flagged as junk by the recipient’s server)

Fortunately, adding the record is a simple process, and you can add the record in your Manage dashboard.

  1. Once logged into your Manage interface at https://manage.liquidweb.com/manage, click on Domains in the left menu and then select the DNS tab in the Domains Dashboard.

    DNS zones

  2. Now, click the [+] next to the main domain name to expand the domain’s DNS record and click the Add New Record button at the bottom. For the host.examplesite.com server, we’ll be editing the DNS record for the main domain, examplesite.com.

    Add a DNS record in Manage

  3. Your hostname will need an “A” record pointing to the IP address of the server itself. In this case, because the server has only one IP address, it is the same as the IP address of the site.

    Add new DNS record

  4. Once you click the green checkmark button, the record will be added and DNS will begin to propagate. Typically only a few hours is needed for this, but it technically can take up to 24 hours to 48 hours for a DNS change to fully propagate globally.

 

Most Common Support Requests

As you might expect, most support requests on managed cPanel servers fall into a few basic categories. What you might be surprised to discover is that many common problems can be resolved by following a few simple steps.

None of the common cPanel support requests listed here are server-critical issues that require an experienced system administrator to troubleshoot and resolve, and we recognize that many of our customers are curious about their servers and actively engaged in learning more about cPanel server administration. Continue reading “Most Common Support Requests”

How to Create and Add a New Domain in Plesk

Step #1: Add New Domain

To create a new domain in Plesk 11+ you will click on the Add New Domain button on the Websites & Domains tab (if you use Service Provider view you will need to choose “Manage Hosting” next to the subscription or domain). This will bring you to the Adding New Domain Name page. Here you will be required to determine three things which will be covered in detail below: DNS Settings, Hosting Type, and Hosting Settings.

How to Create and Add a New Domain in Plesk

Continue reading “How to Create and Add a New Domain in Plesk”

Automating DNS With Zone Delegation and the Storm API

Although the term DNS zone delegation may seem new to you, you have been using zone delegation without even realizing it. When you tell your domain’s registrar what nameservers you are using for a particular domain, you are delegating the zone for that domain.

Single zone delegation will work for most people. In fact, most use a single zone file to reference multiple hosts, or multiple subdomains residing on a single host. However, there are cases where where it may be beneficial to perform additional delegation.

Continue reading “Automating DNS With Zone Delegation and the Storm API”