Hosting without Name servers?

Do I have to set my name servers to dreamhost name servers or can I merely point my domain to the IP address of the machine and have it hosted?

I am unconcerned about the implications for mail or ftp since I do not need them. :wink:


That’s a good question. With the problems they’ve been having with email I’ve been considering getting a small linux vhost to just run my own mail server on. A commodity box shared with 20 other virtual hosts would be more reliable than their servers, go figure. But I’d like to downgrade my hosting plan to the cheap one and leave my web stuff on DH. Of course, to do this I’d have to use external DNS (no biggie), and worry about IP changes. I think using a CNAME to the dreamhosters domain would work fine, but I haven’t thought too much about it yet.

It’s strongly recommended that you point your domain to Dreamhost’s nameservers, because your domain’s IP address may not stay the same, dependant on a number of things ranging from a change in network topography to configuring some services. Subversion, for instance, may need you to be moved to a subversion-enabled server.

Yes, I have an opinion.

Get a minimum 50% off with the “haveadreamyday” promo code, and… have a dreamy day. Original, no?

What about using a CNAME for the machine that it is hosted on? [just replying to the topic in general, no one specifically]

The “funny” thing is that Jay at Dreamhost said it was fine “You can point your domain to the IP address of the Dreamhost nameservers, this wil work the same way as changing the nameservers.”

However, I think Jay may be mistaken here since the name servers do not respond on port 80. But at least he said it was no problem.

I presume that if you were switching servers there would be some type of notice since if you have shell access you are ftp-ing into that host?

I’d prefer to use other name servers for many reasons, including:

  1. They have many redundant name servers
  2. Huge capactiy
  3. Distributed (geographically-power and connectivity) servers
  4. since I have seen a fair number of filer issues, network storage issues etc (plus the issues of the Comcast and AOL blocks), I’d prefer to avoid machines subject to that. (As I said, FTP, mail etc do not matter - hosting is my only requirement).

Likewise from a management perspective it is much easier to have all our names using the same name servers instead of having any odd ones.

I am going to try a CNAME or A record for the host and see if that resolves correctly.


A CNAME to a domain pointing at the same files won’t work (well, not always). The domains don’t always end up on the same Web server (even though the files are always on the same filer). (I’ve tried this a few times and they only ended up on the same Web server once.)

I don’t use DreamHost for DNS, so I just point my domains at the IP that DreamHost assigns them. I haven’t had one change yet, but I’m sure it’ll happen at some point in the future.


How did you determine which IP to use? Just the IP of the machine it is hosted on? (e.g. the one you ssh/ftp etc into?)

Edit: I think I may have found it in the “domain > manage” section under “Non-editable DreamHost DNS records” for the A record for www and blank. Is that it? :wink:

Thanks for the tip!

Yep, that’s it.

Or you could do something like:


Judging by the reply you got, it sounds like the support rep thought you meant pointing to the DH nameserver by the IP address, instead of the address. The thing about doing that is no, they don’t always tell you if your IP address changes, so that’s something you have to kind of keep an eye on. So, if you were to enable subversion on your site, sticking with that example, your IP may (not necessarily will) change, because not all servers are set up for subversion. Or that’s how it was when I set mine up–it could have changed by now. Basicly, the only time they tell you you’re changing servers, in my experience anyway, is if they need to move you to a different server because either yours is crapping out, being unresponsive, or they feel your site is the cause of certain server issues. This falls under the same category as their recommendation that people who have a unique IP address attached to a domain name should still prefer to give out the domain name, rather than the IP address, because it can, and sometimes does, have to change.

Yes, I have an opinion.

Get a minimum 50% off with the “haveadreamyday” promo code, and… have a dreamy day. Original, no?