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Registering Nameservers (Glue Records)

Category: Getting Started
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Nameserver registration is required prior to nameservers being actually used. This is known as “Glue Records” as registering an IP to a specific nameserver/hostname tells the domain registrar where that nameserver should be looking to handle DNS requests.

Here are some of the circumstances where new nameservers might be created:

  • If you have recently migrated some sites to a new server.
  • If you have recently changed the hostname of the server to a different domain.
  • If you have created a reseller, who you want to have their own nameservers.
  • If you want one of the domains to have it’s own nameservers¬†instead of using the default of the server or of the reseller.

There may also be other situations where you may want to create new nameservers, but these are the most common reasons.

When creating new nameservers, the general process is as follows. More detail on each step will follow the overview:

  1. Create the A records of the nameservers in the server.
  2. Create the A records of the nameservers at the registrar.
  3. Set that domain, within the server, to use those nameservers. (NS records)
  4. Set that domain, at the registrar, to use those nameservers. (NS records)
  5. If any other domains will be using these new nameservers, set their NS records accordingly (both in the server and at their respective registrars).

The parts of this process which are done within the server, we can help you with if you open a ticket with the Support Department. However, the parts which need to be done at the registrar would need to be done by you or the domain owner, and if you need any help with those steps, you would need to ask the registrar for assistance.

This is an example of how this typically works:

ns1.example.com -> x.x.x.x
ns2.example.com -> y.y.y.y

Setting ‘A’ records in server

Now that you understand what ‘Glue Records’ are and the process of how it’s set, then the first step is to create the ‘A’ records within your hosting service.

If you have a Managed KnownHost service, we can do it for you if you open a Support Ticket and let us know the names and IP addresses you would like to use for the new nameservers. If you prefer to do this part yourself, here are a few articles to help you with setting up new ‘A’ records for your nameservers.

When using these articles, you’ll want to create the records with ‘ns1/ns2’ and then the appropriate IP address.

cPanel:
How to Add DNS Records

DirectAdmin:
How to Add DNS Records

Setting ‘A’ records at Registrar

Once the nameserver ‘A’ records have been added in the server, they will also need to be added at the registrar. This step is often referred to as “Registering the nameservers” or “Glue Records”, and is the step where you tell the registrar what IP to use for each nameserver name, so that the parent nameservers will be able to find it.

This step will need to be done either by you or the domain owner. If you are not sure how to do it, you will need to ask the registrar for assistance. To help you, here are links to guides on how to do this at some of the more common registrars we see, but if your registrar is not listed here, or if the link is broken, or if these instructions do not work, you may still need to contact the relevant registrar for assistance. If the registrar informs you of a suspected server problem, you can open a Support Ticket so that we can check if the A records have been added correctly in the server (the previous step).

Using your new nameservers

Once you’ve done the two steps of 1) Creating the ‘A’ records for your nameservers and 2) Setting the ‘A’ records for Glue Records at your domains registrar. You’re now ready to begin using your custom nameservers.

You can use the following guides to apply and update your nameservers

cPanel:
Configure custom nameservers in WHM

DirectAdmin:
Configure custom nameservers in DirectAdmin

Updating nameservers at Registrar

Now that your nameservers have been configured, you can use these nameservers for your current domain and any other domain that you manage that you wish to manage the DNS for.

Alternatively, you could create customized nameservers for all of your domains.

As with creating the A records, this step will need to be done by you or the domain owner, and if you need help you will need to contact the registrar for assistance. But here are some guides for some of the more common registrars we see.

A few words about propagation

When DNS changes are made, it can take anywhere from 5 minutes up to 48 hours for changes to globally propagate. This is due to the various DNS Resolvers out there in use by residential ISP’s or third party DNS services. If you’re using open public DNS such as Google, Cloudflare or OpenDNS then propagation is usually happening within minutes of updating nameservers.

Setting lower TTL times when adjusting and implementing new nameservers can help reduce the time it takes for records to be updates across the web. Additionally useful when you want to ensure as little disruption as possible if you’re migrating.

If you feel like it’s your local DNS, then flush it with our guide here

You can get an approximation of how a given dns record is propagation using tools such as whatsmydns.net DNS Propagation Checker. This will not give you a complete picture due to its small sample size, but can give you a vague idea of where in the propagation process the recent changes are.