External DNS to point to Dreamhost IP?

I would like to use my new Dreamhost account to host a few domains and subdomains of mine which I have registered at other places like Joker.com which gives full DNS admin. Do I really have to transfer the domains to Dreamhost’sd DNS servers for it to work?

Can’t I just point each of those domains and subdomains A record to some IP where Dreamhost can point them to my account? How do I add the subdomains and domains to my account without the control panel saying error and where do I find the correct IP adress to point my domain or subdomain to?

Simply check the A and MX record on ns1.dreamhost.com (a few hours after installing the domain).

To do so, on windows :
On command prompt, run nslookup

[quote]server ns1.dreamhost.com

Default Server: ns1.dreamhost.com



Name: yourdomain.com
Address: 208.97.x.x

[quote]set q=mx


(list of mx servers)

And voila, you have your A and MX parameters :slight_smile:

On linux, it’s about the same with little changes with host command.

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I’m not sure I understand your solution.

Let’s say I registered charbax.com at the domain registrar joker.com which gives me full DNS admin so I can edit A records.

Now I would like to have blog.charbax.com hosted on my Dreamhost account without having to change the nameservers to ns1.dreamhost.com etc for my whole charbax.com domain.

In the DreamHost panel I go to Domain / Manage, if I try to Add a blog.charbax.com which does not have it’s nameservers setup to use ns1.dreamhost.com ns2.dreamhost.com ns3.dreamhost.com then it says Error (that I do not have permission to use charbax.com) … Thus I cannot add it to make it point to for example /home/username/blog.charbax.com/

I’ve added some of my other domains comple3tely to domainhost, like itcommunism.com for this one to add successfully I first had to change the nameservers for it in my joker.com control panel… I guess it’s because Dreamhost checks at the registrar if the domain is set to the Dreamhost nameservers before accepting to add it or any subdomains of it to the account.

Should I make a subdomain with one of the domains that I have moved to dreamhost’s nameserver and just do a C-name DNS entry at joker.com for for example blog.charbax.com to point to blog-charbax-com.dreamhosters.com - Would this be just as good?

First add your domain to dreamhost without change nothing at joker, even if you don’t plan to host (www.)yourdomain.com on DH.

Then, add blog.yourdomain.com

Then, after waiting few hours look ip on ns1.dreamhosting.com

Then, change your A record at joker for blog.yourdomain.com with your new IP.

PS : if you can’t use nslookup, add blog.charbax.com on DH, i will tell you the IP after a few hours.

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Just keep in mind that the IP can, and probably will, change at some point. A unique IP is less likely to change, but may also change at some point, possibly without advance notice. When you use DH’s nameservers, it will Just Work, even if the IP changes. I’m not saying that it’s always a bad idea to use outside DNS - just make sure you know what you’re doing.

I don’t think it would even work to make a blah.dreamhosters.org domain, make your domain mirror that, and then make a CNAME to that, because they could still end up on different Apache instances.

if all you are asking is if you can use another domain registrar, then the answer is yes.

lots of people (myself included), have domains with another registrar and we use dreamhost for the hosting.

in fact I have a .id.au domain that can only be administered by an australian registrar, but dreamhost does the hosting.

He’s asking about subdomains though. Not sure it’s possible to “split them” over 2 hosters.

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What hes asking is not if he can have a promo code stuck in his face every few messages…

From what I have been able to gather the panel is so intertwined. Webserver and DNS setup is in the same function
I havent been able to find an option yet that would allow me to use my domains that use gratisdns.dk for DNS with dreamhost webservers

Currently Dreamhost has currently a problem with their DNS. We have been suffering from it, also because when we report the problem to support they have been denying it. So if at all possible it’s certainly a good idea to keep the DNS service elsewhere.

I currently use my own dns (my registrar DNS in fact, using BIND) for one of my domains.

www & @ and mx> dreamhost
thing.mydomain.tld > dedicated server
SRV record for XMPP > jabber.fr server
TXT record > well, it’s just txt record :slight_smile:

So, you can use dreamhost for a subdomain and another hosting solution for another subdomain without any problem.

I suggest you to use CNAME when you can instead of A record.

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Assuming you are clear about the difference between registra, DNS provider, hosting service and ISP then you should note:

a) yes beware of the comments regarding IP changes at DreamHost - unless you pay for a dedicated IP address at DH then your shared hosts IP can and will change. I’ve seen IPs on my domains change several times in the last few months.

b) some “full” DNS services like ZoneEdit let you delegate a subdomain to another DNS provider thus yourdomain.com could be hosted with one hosting service and subdomain.yourdomain.com could be delegated to DreamHost using their DNS servers. To be honnest I’ve never tried it but it seems like it could be possible.

c) DreamHost now offers full DNS for free even with the basic CDI plan - the only limitation I have found is that even if you want to use external email services (i.e. custom MX records) they still fill your DNS with entries like mail.yourdomain.com. This is inconvenient if you were planning to point MX records to mail.yourdomain.com and have an A record to mail.yourdomain.com which is a machine elsewhere. You’ll just have to set MX to someotherhostname.yourdomain.com and create an A record for that too. Not a big deal except if you have domain users who were expecting to enter mail.yourdomain.com in their mail clients - just tell them what to put and everything will be okay.

Note that a possible solution to a) would be to tell your current DNS provider that your domain is on a dynamic IP and run a Linux client on your host that will update the IP for you using one of the established dynamic IP update protocols. DNS providers like ZoneEdit and dyndns.org can do that.

Although I kept my registrar, DNS provider and hosting provider separate for several years I’ve been pretty happy to combine everything in one place with DreamHost since they added unlimited domains and full DNS in the basic plan. Although DH registration fees are not the lowest the extra one or two bucks is more than compensated by the simplicity of having everything in one place. My experience of DNS elsewhere (say from my ISP, which is one of the best) is that it is notoriously difficult to get really rock solid and DreamHost does okay - not the best but good enough and definitely way about the worst.

Hope this all helps!


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IP changed, but does the name changed ?
If you pointed dns to host (CNAME) instead of IP (A) does it worked ?

Also, here is why i manage domains/dns outside my hosting :

I pay my main domain/DNS 17 USD/year. It’s not very cheap, but i never had any problem and i have full control.

When i moved from ISP like email to my own domain years ago, it was to have the ability to change hostinh whenever i want.
On 5 years, this is my 3rd hosting.

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Yes, the dreamhost internal host name can change and usually does - my experience is they are usually migrating some or all of shared hosting users from one DH machine to another, probably to do some load/bandwidth balancing, also to deal with h/w issues. So your IP changes and the DH host hostname that maps to changes. However I’ve never had reason to use the DH host name - I always ssh,ftp etc to my own domain host name e.g. ftp.mydomain.com not somemachine.dreamhost.com

Like I mentioned once full DNS control was added I had no problem a) hosting my website at Dreamhost but keeping my mail server running from my home machine, and b) later migrating my mail to DreamHost (on some domains - I still keep one at home due to superior spam filtering on my home mailserver).

If you really want to keep your DNS separate you should get your own static IP with DreamHost - but if you have more than one domain you wanted to assign to that static IP I’m not sure if you could do that.

Personally I look forward to the day that is probably not too far off now, when virtualization is really ubiquitous in the hosting world. Then I’ll be able to have my own complete virtual host and run whatever web and mail software I want on it, and if I want to change hosting comanies I’ll be able to just tar up the virtual image and move it over… That will probably also make DreamHost’s life a lot easier too.

I’m a bit confused. Many of the responses on this thread indicate that I can setup a website for a domain but run the primary and secondary dns servers on a non-dreamhost system.

However, in the “Manage Domains” tab of panel.dreamhost.com, if i try to add a domain “test.seespotblog.org” (where the domain i own is “seespotblog.org”), and setup the website for it, i get an error that says "Can’t add domain: you don’t have permission to add to “seespotblog.org”.

Am I going about this in the wrong way?



If you want to forward gratisDNS.dk domain to DH you need to ask ns1.dreamhost.com for all MX-records related to domain.dk and manually mirror those in Linux you can do it by using “dig” command.
dig -t mx domain.dk @ns1.dreamhost.com
Just manually mirror A and MX records you get.

you should create a domain for seespotblog.org first.

And then create a domain for test.seespotblog.org

I concur with best-p4u, test.seespotblog.org is a sub-domain, before you can create the sub-domain you need to create the seespotblog.org domain first.

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This may not be necessarily a direct answer to the question that @Charbax had, but as I came across this post while looking for some help to my question, I thought about sharing a possible solution.

See the following post I wrote about a somewhat similar problem I came across with hosting a site at Dreamhost, while having my DNS hosted someplace else without relying on the stability of IP addresses at DH (which may change):


Hope it helps somebody :slight_smile:


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