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    Help me understand this DNS mess
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    Help me understand this DNS mess

    scookescooke Member

    Hi, I hope someone here doesn't mind helping me understand a hosting situation I have.

    I have been given responsibility of a domain, example.com, transferred to my Google Domains from another Google Domain account. Example.com is also part of a GSuites account, and currently has several email accounts/addresses working.

    The association which uses the domain has signed up with 'Host Company', and this host company allows an association to create a website, integrate payments, act as a CRM, etc. I've been building the website with Host Company 's built-in website editor. It is now ready to launch.

    I go to the "Add your Domain" and it instructs me to create a CNAME using www.example.com, pointing to hostcompany-2.azurefd.net.

    A) So I go to Google Domains, and can't seem to add that! I am not sure what info to include so here it is: The NS is ns1.bluehost.com, not a google NS, and GSuites tells me to update the NSs to Google's. Ok, but will this break the functioning email?

    B) I can't see any existing DNS entries. I can't tell what the current IP (A record) is (in fact, Google Domains tells me No registered hosts have been set up., but the domain currently resolves to a functioning site, so it must have an A record. Will reverting the NS to Google's reveal what the A record is?

    C) I can enter www (replacing an @) when making a CNAME record, and enter hostcompany-2.azurefd.net as the domain. But the record itself, viewed after I create, just says (as per the table
    Name www
    Type CNAME
    TTL 1H
    Data hostcompany-2.azurefd.net.

    But where is the www.example.com?

    D) Meanwhile, back at the Host Company, it tells me that CNAME record points to example.com, whereas it is supposed to be pointing to hostcompany-2.azurefd.net. I guess.

    E) In Host Company's Add-Your-Domain panel, the above, D, happens if I use www.example.com, and if I use just example.com, I get a message saying No DNS records for this domain. This itself tells me Host Company can tell quickly if my changes have worked, so I'm not I need to wait a long time in between changes.

    F) I've tried making a Subdomain Forward for www.example.com to hostcompany-2.azurefd.net, but so far this hasn't resolved.... and it isn't a CNAME record anyway as far as I can tell, so I don't think it will work.

    So how do I fix this? I'm as much concerned that changing NSs will mess up the currently-working GSuite email accounts as I am getting the domain www.example.com to resolve to hostcompany-2.azurefd.net using a CNAME record.

    Of course, Host Company charges a pretty penny to manage the domain too, but I prefer to retain ownership and control over it.

    Thank you!

    Comments

    • scooke said: So how do I fix this?

      1. Figure out what's your old DNS provider(from your story I think it's Google Domains). Point the NS record back to them to undo any changes you've made.

      2. In your old DNS provider's DNS panel, setup your www subdomain CNAME to hostcompany-2.azurefd.net . DO NOT SET CNAME with @ as this could override your MX records(see https://support.cloudflare.com/hc/en-us/articles/200169056-Understand-and-configure-CNAME-Flattening )

      Do not touch anything else.

      Now you should have working Email and website: backup the current DNS setup before migrating DNS provider.

    • All you need to be concerned that for gsuite email to work properly you have added the MX records. And use CNAME record to point your website to the host company readymade CRM

      Reach me at manishpant.com . Discord Id: Manish#6403

    • A) if you change your domains name servers, it will break your working email until you get those MX mail records (and dkim/spf records, if used, and should be using). I would suggest replication your MX records before your change the name servers on Google domains. There are a couple of quick tutorials on setting up DNS records for gsuite provided by Google.

      B) DNS records are public, so if you don't have access to your current DNS you can use a service like dnschecker.org to show your current DNS records.

      C) All you need is that CNAME with www as the name and the azure domain as the target. It may only show "www", but the a CNAME makes the full domain inherent. So when someone looks up the DNS records it'll resolve as "www.example.com"

      My personal confusion aside...
      You should only need an A record pointing to your IP, a CNAME for www and the MX records for your mail.

      But, my confusion...
      Why are you using a CNAME to point to an external domain? If you create an A record for your domain example.com that points to an IP and a CNAME for your www that points to a different domain, then someone visiting example.com and www.example.com would go to two different locations (assuming the domain your CNAME points to doesn't resolve to the same IP).

      You really should just have your A record setup properly and then have your www CNAME use @ for your target so that it's an alias of your example.com domain.

    • FHRFHR Member, Provider

      scooke said: NS is ns1.bluehost.com

      You need to change the DNS records at BlueHost then

      Thanked by 1Falzo

      SkylonHost - affordable hourly-billed KVM VPS in Prague, CZ!
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    • Thank you all.

      What I'm still confused about is whether I need the A record or not. It seems I should remove the A record as the Host Company doesn't need an IP. Having an A record pointing to an IP would conflict with the CNAME record pointing to the other domain, right? . Right now I set up Forwarding but that doesn't seem to have worked as the Host Company tells me there is no CNAME record. They must really need that CNAME record. I'll check up on the MX records.

    • Wrote this as a general guide - hope it sheds some light on your problem:

      https://io.bikegremlin.com/13689/wp-site-dns/

      Mostly harmless™

      I/O Gremlin

    • Thansk
      is @bikegremlin . The question the guide doesn't answer for me is the IP/CNAME issue. The Host Company requires a CNAME record of www.example.com pointing to their domain. But what do I do about the A Record?? Delete it? If I do, what happens to example.com? If I leave the A record then won't example.com resolve to something different than www.example.com, which is not what I need. And if I remove the A record for example.com, then do I need to use the Domain Forwarding and do example.com -> www.example.com (which resolves to the Host Company domain due to the CNAME record)?

    • webdevwebdev Member
      edited January 23
      1. you need know your domain register, go to their control panel, get the DNS hosting provider, they could be same as your domain register or 3rd provider.
      2. go to your DNS hosting provider, A for example.com, which point to IP that host company give you, A or cname for www.example.com
      3. since your mail service is not changed, you don't need change anything about MX/SPF/DKIM...
    • @scooke said:
      Thansk
      is @bikegremlin . The question the guide doesn't answer for me is the IP/CNAME issue. The Host Company requires a CNAME record of www.example.com pointing to their domain. But what do I do about the A Record?? Delete it? If I do, what happens to example.com? If I leave the A record then won't example.com resolve to something different than www.example.com, which is not what I need. And if I remove the A record for example.com, then do I need to use the Domain Forwarding and do example.com -> www.example.com (which resolves to the Host Company domain due to the CNAME record)?

      Generally (stating what you probably already know, but just to be on the safe side and avoid any misunderstanding):
      A records point to an IP address
      CNAME records point to a domain

      Also, you can't have exact domain (or subdomain) listed as an A record and a CNAME record - only one, or the other. Not talking about the "target" ("content"), but the "name" part.

      Same goes for having two A records that have the same "name", as well as for having two CNAME records.

      As far as I know, you can't have a CNAME for your root domain (example.com). It has to be an IP address. Someone will hopefully correct me if I'm wrong.

      Mostly harmless™

      I/O Gremlin

    • @bikegremlin said:

      @scooke said:
      Thansk
      is @bikegremlin . The question the guide doesn't answer for me is the IP/CNAME issue. The Host Company requires a CNAME record of www.example.com pointing to their domain. But what do I do about the A Record?? Delete it? If I do, what happens to example.com? If I leave the A record then won't example.com resolve to something different than www.example.com, which is not what I need. And if I remove the A record for example.com, then do I need to use the Domain Forwarding and do example.com -> www.example.com (which resolves to the Host Company domain due to the CNAME record)?

      Generally (stating what you probably already know, but just to be on the safe side and avoid any misunderstanding):
      A records point to an IP address
      CNAME records point to a domain

      Also, you can't have exact domain (or subdomain) listed as an A record and a CNAME record - only one, or the other. Not talking about the "target" ("content"), but the "name" part.

      Same goes for having two A records that have the same "name", as well as for having two CNAME records.

      As far as I know, you can't have a CNAME for your root domain (example.com). It has to be an IP address. Someone will hopefully correct me if I'm wrong.

      I appreciate your help, and the others too.

      I understant what A records point to - IP address, and that CNAME records point to a domain.

      The Host Company asks only for a CNAME record, www.example.com to point to their domain hostcompany-2.azurefd.net. That is fine.

      My remaining question is what to do about the existing A Record which currently points to the IP address where the old site was (example.com -> xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx). Don't I need to remove this A record? Otherwise, won't example.com resolve to the old site while www.example.com` resolves to the Host Company domain?

      Just to repeat/reqord: The Host Company does not need an A record/does not need an IP. Just the CNAME pointing www. to their domain. So, I need to remove any A Record, right, so there is just the CNAME record (in terms of just domain resolution). ?

    • webdevwebdev Member
      edited January 23

      maybe you should change your host company.

      https://serverfault.com/questions/55528/set-root-domain-record-to-be-a-cname

      is forwarding example.com to www.example.com allowed?

    • In that case, you could use the example.com A record and point it to a hosting account for the domain, who's only use is to redirect to https://www.example.com

      Or, probably more sensible solution, see with "The Host Company" how to set the A record and which IP address to use with it.

      Unless someone has a better idea. :/

      Mostly harmless™

      I/O Gremlin

    • FalzoFalzo Member

      simple as it gets: if you remove the A record for the non-www that domain won't resolve anymore. browsers will error out accordingly.

      if it's used as reference e.g. in other CNAME records this will break even more.
      so if you still want that entry or not simply depends on the goal you want to reach and dependencies which already might be there.
      looking at the complete zone should help getting an idea what's there or not (though this requires a general understanding of how DNS works...)
      maybe you want to point it somewhere to have a redirect to www. instead of getting a 'not resolvable' after all?

      you really should not mess around with other peoples production stuff, if you have no idea what you are doing.

      most recommended Provider: First-Root KVM Power-Edition /w SSD
      UltraVPS.eu KVM in US/UK/NL/DE: 15% off first 6 month | Netcup VPS/rootDS - 5€ off: 36nc15279180197 (ref)

    • webdevwebdev Member
      edited January 23

      https://serverfault.com/questions/641266/forward-the-root-domain-to-the-www-subdomain-using-dns-records

      https://www.lostsaloon.com/technology/how-to-forward-root-domain-to-www-in-google-domains/

      basically you need 2 web hosting, one for root domain, that redirect to www.example.com which is alias of hostcompany-2.azurefd.net

    • @webdev said:
      maybe you should change your host company.

      https://serverfault.com/questions/55528/set-root-domain-record-to-be-a-cname

      is forwarding example.com to www.example.com allowed?

      Yes, I am going to forward example.com to www.example.com

    • @webdev said:
      https://serverfault.com/questions/641266/forward-the-root-domain-to-the-www-subdomain-using-dns-records

      https://www.lostsaloon.com/technology/how-to-forward-root-domain-to-www-in-google-domains/

      basically you need 2 web hosting, one for root domain, that redirect to www.example.com which is alias of hostcompany-2.azurefd.net

      Which means removing the A Record for example.com and replacing it with a redirect/forward to www.example.com. Things are getting clearer. Thanks.

    • @Falzo said:
      simple as it gets: if you remove the A record for the non-www that domain won't resolve anymore. browsers will error out accordingly.

      if it's used as reference e.g. in other CNAME records this will break even more.
      so if you still want that entry or not simply depends on the goal you want to reach and dependencies which already might be there.
      looking at the complete zone should help getting an idea what's there or not (though this requires a general understanding of how DNS works...)
      maybe you want to point it somewhere to have a redirect to www. instead of getting a 'not resolvable' after all?

      you really should not mess around with other peoples production stuff, if you have no idea what you are doing.

      I am the production guy! I just never worked with a Host Company such as this which requires simply a CNAME record. The Host Company also won't provide an IP anyway, nor any other DNS settings, all it wants is a CNAME record pointing to their domain. Or, I pay them to manage the domain. But I don't want to do that.

    • @bikegremlin said:
      In that case, you could use the example.com A record and point it to a hosting account for the domain, who's only use is to redirect to https://www.example.com

      Or, probably more sensible solution, see with "The Host Company" how to set the A record and which IP address to use with it.

      Unless someone has a better idea. :/

      Yep, that's what it looks like I need to do. Redirect to www, at which point the CNAME points it to the Host Company who then resolves to the site built with their built-in website creator.

    • scookescooke Member
      edited January 23

      I've been reading online here and there, and it seems other services that operate similar to this Host Company provide a CNAME as well as a IP for an A Record.

    • You have to use that host company? seems change host company is much simple...

    • @scooke said:
      I've been reading online here and there, and it seems other services that operate similar to this Host Company provide a CNAME as well as a IP for an A Record.

      Sounds like you need a new hosting company.

      You could use a static page on github with an A record for your root domain pointing to that, and have your static page redirect to the www alias. Simple and free...

      https://help.github.com/en/github/working-with-github-pages/configuring-a-custom-domain-for-your-github-pages-site

      https://dev.to/steveblue/setup-a-redirect-on-github-pages-1ok7

    • FalzoFalzo Member

      there is nothing wrong with providing a cname. microsoft or google do the same for their mail server etc. and a lot of SaaS solutions, page builders, CRMs do that as well...

      using CNAMES essentially makes sure, that an IP change in the providers infrastructure does not lead to hundreds of clients having to update their externally managed domain names. then there is load balancing and stuff... so a lot of reasons to use a CNAME

      if you want to know the IP you could easily just ping the name they provide and use that in an A record. but if they (have to) change the IP for whatever reason your site won't be reachable anymore.

      most recommended Provider: First-Root KVM Power-Edition /w SSD
      UltraVPS.eu KVM in US/UK/NL/DE: 15% off first 6 month | Netcup VPS/rootDS - 5€ off: 36nc15279180197 (ref)

    • use CNAME for mail or SaaS is ok because they are suppose used by subdomain. OP is talking web hosting, if you use CNAME, then you need another web server to host your root domain. and I don't think point your A record to their IP will work. it probably will redirect to other domain.

      Browser like Chrome don't show www. anymore, so ppls probably will more likely typing example.com instead of www.example.com, that will cause huge issue...

    • @Falzo said:
      there is nothing wrong with providing a cname. microsoft or google do the same for their mail server etc. and a lot of SaaS solutions, page builders, CRMs do that as well...

      using CNAMES essentially makes sure, that an IP change in the providers infrastructure does not lead to hundreds of clients having to update their externally managed domain names. then there is load balancing and stuff... so a lot of reasons to use a CNAME

      if you want to know the IP you could easily just ping the name they provide and use that in an A record. but if they (have to) change the IP for whatever reason your site won't be reachable anymore.

      Seems odd that they would only give him a CNAME for a subdomain, and not address what to do with the root domain. What is their official advice for the root domain? Don't use it? Hope that your users don't forget the www?

      Also, mail records should be MX or CNAME and don't require an IP, but to resolve the root domain to a host you need an IP. Period.

      I think if OP provided the name of his new hosting company that would be helpful with helping him.

      Another solution would be to use CloudFlare for your DNS and setup a page rule to redirect non-www to www subdomain.

    • PainlessHosting said: Also, mail records should be MX or CNAME and don't require an IP, but to resolve the root domain to a host you need an IP. Period.

      I think he's talking web mail, like white labeling...

    • @webdev said:

      PainlessHosting said: Also, mail records should be MX or CNAME and don't require an IP, but to resolve the root domain to a host you need an IP. Period.

      I think he's talking web mail, like white labeling...

      Ahh, yes, those use CNAME, but that's unrelated to OPs issue. OP stated he is using gsuite for email and that appears to be working as he was concerned about breaking it when changing DNS providers. So just the root domain is OPs issue, from what I understand.

    • painfreepcpainfreepc Member
      edited January 24

      sounds like what we do with are DNS records for: https://bunnycdn.com/

    • I think I know what they're asking you to do and if you're using cloudflare it's not allowed

    • scookescooke Member
      edited January 25

      Hi everyone, I really appreciate all the input. The site is working now... but at first I set the CNAME as the Host Company instructions, let it sit for a day and a bit, nothing changed. So, thinking it strange that Google Domains wasn’t showing me an ip for an A Record, and the site was still resolving to its old ip, I decided to use GDs Forwarding, but this was also strange because it would only allow forwarding for both example.com and www.example.com. ok fine, I did it (I forwarded both to the domain I was given for the CNAME record). Waited 12 hours, no change. So, I then turned off forwarding and made the CNAME record. This is coincidental... Just as I saved the new CNAME record, I tested the site and it worked (!!!!) AND an email from the Host Company arrived letting me know they had set things up on their end.

      So, was it really just their tweak? Or did my forwarding attempt clear out the old ip? Or what?
      Anyway, yay. It's working!

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