What is the point of the NS records?

  • Posted on October 17, 2014
  • SondreAsked by Sondre

I notice that when setting up a new domain in the DNS section, it automatically creates three NS-records for you: What is the point of these records?

The way I understand DNS, they are useless, and I’m sure they are there for a reason. So where am I wrong? When I register a domain and set it’s name servers to, this info is sent to the top level domain name servers. So when a user enters, it queries .com, and gets the name servers I just specified ( is then sent to DO’s name servers. It is by default set up with one A record (@ to VPS IP).

So the request has been handed to DO’s name servers, and the record for the domain points to Isn’t this a circular reference? ( queries itself because of the NS-records.)

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This question was answered by @bofh:

NS records exist to allow you to delegate domain or subdomain to different name servers. Whenever someone wants to know the address of, or any other record associated with, their DNS resolver will ask around to find out which name servers are responsible for

If it’s, resolver will go and ask one of them for the record it needs. Digital Ocean’s name server can then tell them the IP of your VPS.

There is a problem with circular reference when the name server is itself in the domain it serves ( for To solve this problem, you can specify glue records, so that the root servers will insert additional information in the response about the domain, the IP addresses of its name servers.

Another way to use NS records is to delegate a subdomain elsewhere. Say you own and your friend wants to use You could just configure it for him but then whenever he wants to change something, you need to do it. So… you just delegate to name servers he controls ( and where he can configure however he pleases, including creating sub-subdomain.

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