DNS Zone Administration

DNS Zone Administration

The WebControlCenter DNS Zone Administration page will allow you to view, change or add a DNS entry.  DNS is what controls where the traffic for your site is directed for every aspect of your site including email and website traffic.


What is DNS


DNS (Domain Name Server) is what a computer uses to translate a URL (www.example.com) into an IP address, (216.119.106.152) so that a browser can connect to the correct web server that is hosting the website. This is what is referred to as "resolving."

For example, when http://example.com is typed into a browser, the computer looks up the corresponding record in the DNS The process is similar to how a library keeps records of where the books are located. However, it is accomplished by looking up a host record in the zone file. The actual IP addresses used in this article are examples only, and should not be used for real records.


DNS Zone Administration Navigation


If you have not already, login to the WebControlCenter at https://www.webcontrolcenter.com/customer.aspx. From the menu navigate to DNS > DNS Zone Admin.

The DNS Zone Administration tool is used to resolve a domain name to an IP address, including but not limited to the website and email. For this tool to work, the domain name must already be pointing to the WebControlCenter Name Servers. When a change is made, it takes about twenty minutes to update. However, during peak times it can take two to four hours. For the purposes of this article, example.com represents your domain name.

WARNING: Editing DNS entries is an advanced operation and if used improperly, has the potential to alter the way the domain resolves, and may even make the domain invisible to the Internet. The DNS records have already been set to work with the existing systems. Do not attempt to edit the DNS records unless you fully understand the concepts in this article.

Select the domain and click on the GO button. All of the DNS records for the domain will be visible in a table below, where new records can be added or old ones can be removed. If a record needs to be changed, delete it first and then add a new record in its place.

There are five types of records that are located in the DNS Zone file (hence DNS "Zone" Administration). Each type has a limited number of records that can be created:

1. Name Server (NS) - four records (minimum of one)
2. Host (A) - ten records
3. Alias (CNAME) - one record maximum for Windows DNS
4. Mail Exchange (MX) - five records
5. SPF - one record


Breakdown of a DNS Zone


The following table is a break down of one type of DNS Zone called a host record (A) and is an example of how it is saved to the DNS:
 
Section 1
Prefix
Section 2
Type
Section 3
Points To
@ A 216.116.106.152


Section 1 is used for the prefix of the domain name.

Section 2 is used for the record type.
This example is a host record (A).

Section 3 is used to point to the final destination.
This example uses the IP address that EXAMPLE.com resolves to. However, it can be an IP address, domain name or prefix, depending on the record type.


Name Server (NS)


Please Note: Adding or removing a name server record will not make any change at the registrar.  This area is only used as a reference point for easy access.

Records of this type point to the Name Server associated with the domain.
This example points to the Primary Name Server
NS1.WebControlCenter.com:
@ NS NS1.WebControlCenter.com

NS records will always start with an "@" symbol, and must point to a webcontrolcenter.com name server.

** There should be two NS records at all times. It is not recommended to change these records.


Host A


Records of this type always point to a specific IP address. The following examples are set for example.com:
@ A 216.116.106.152
www A 216.116.106.152
mail A 216.116.106.152
* A 216.116.106.152

The first example listed will be used if someone types in just the domain name like example.com.
The second example is used to resolve www.example.com (notice the "www." in front the domain).
The third example is used to point to the mail server associated with the hosting account.
The fourth one is a "catch all" record that is used to look up anything.example.com. The asterisk is a wildcard. This is helpful in case someone enters wwww instead of the usual www.

To add a host record (A), click on the add button in the same row. Type in the prefix and the IP address and click on the Save button.

** The "@" symbol is used when there is not a prefix for the domain name and signifies the main host record. The main host record can not be changed from the original IP address of the host.


Mail Exchange Records (MX)


Records of this type point to the email server(s) associated with the domain. By default our MX record will point to the mail host a record.  That record will then point to the mail server's IP address.

MX records have an additional section used to compare multiple records to each other in order of priority. The Internet will use the lowest priority number first and if the email server is not available at that moment, it will move to the next record. The following is an example of an MX record:
@ MX 0 mail##.webcontrolcenter.com

(where the ## represents the number associated with the email server)

Any email request will use this record. Zero has the highest priority so all email requests go to the zero priority server first.

To add an MX record, click the add button in the MX row. For an MX record, the prefix is almost always the "@" symbol. Also, type in the priority and the domain name of the email server.

If an outside email server is being used, reference Knowledge Base article 914, How to configure an email server outside of the webcontrolcenter.com network


Alias Records (CNAME)


An alias record is similiar to a host a record save that an alias record will point to a domain name instead of an IP address.  By default, an ftp alias is created that points to the www host a record.

To change this alias, delete the current ftp record by clicking the delete link in the corresponding row. To add another record, click on the add button in the Alias Records (CNAME) row. Type in the prefis and the Points To fields.

With an alias, any prefix of the domain name can resolve to any other prefix or domain name:

 
Sample1
ftp CNAME www ** Notice there's no dot
Sample2
ftp2 CNAME www.EXAMPLE.com. ** Notice the dot on the end
Sample3
google CNAME www.google.com. ** Notice the dot on the end


In Sample 1, when pointing to a prefix of another host record (A), there should not be a dot on the end. When there is no dot, DNS knows that there is a prefix entered the "points to" field.

In Sample 2 and 3, when pointing an Alias to a full URL, there must be a dot on the end of the URL. The dot signifies that there is a full URL in the "points to" field. The first and second sample resolve to the same place.

In Sample 3, the URL google.example.com, would resolve to the content at www.google.com, but the browser would show http://google.example.com in the address bar.


SPF Record



An SPF record is used as a way to protect your domain name from having an email address spoofed.  Email spoofing is a way that spammers or other nefarious individuals will use to send an email and make it look like it was sent by you.  This involved editing the header section of an email before it is sent.  What they are unable to edit is the IP address of the server that the email was sent from as they will not know our IP addresses here.  An SPF record will provide the legitimate IP address to any mail server set to check for valid SPF records.  An SPF record can be set to allow any email server to send a message or to only allow valid email to be sent from our mail servers.  By default we have the SPF record set to allow any mail server to send messages.  This is because many ISPs (Internet Service Providers) force their users to send out with their servers. 

At the end of an SPF record you will see ?all or -all.  The question mark (?) indicates that any server is allowed to send messages, whereas a dash (-) denotes that valid emails can only be sent from our mail servers.

If you would like to change your SPF record first take note of the existing SPF record and copy the value section. 

Click add record where you will be prompted with a warning message telling you that adding a new SPF record will overwrite the existing record. 

Click yes and choose the option "I am using custom DNS settings." 

Paste the information that you copied from the value section earlier and change the question mark (?) or dash (-) as need.  Click save.

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