In this article, you’ll learn three tricks you can do with DNS. If you’ve ever done any work with DNS configuration, these little tricks may help you get through your workflow a little faster. You’ll learn some commands and ways to work with DNS data in your terminal, like how to check the current name servers. When you’re finished, you’ll even know how to set up DNS load balancing.
DigitalOcean is one of the many options you have for managing your domain name servers. In this example, you’ll see what DNS records look like when using DigitalOcean. You can point your domain to the DigitalOcean name servers , and you might see that pinging it still displays the old information.
This may occur because the old DNS information has not had a chance to propagate. For example, your home internet provider will cache the DNS information for a designated amount of time known as TTL (Time To Live) and will provide only that information until it expires. The time to live is commonly set to half an hour.
You can verify that you are using the DigitalOcean name servers by running WHOIS; the output should include the most current name server information:
- whois yourdomainname.com
OutputDomain Name: YOURDOMAINNAME.COM Registrar: ENOM, INC. Whois Server: whois.enom.com Referral URL: http://www.enom.com Name Server: NS1.DIGITALOCEAN.COM Name Server: NS2.DIGITALOCEAN.COM Name Server: NS3.DIGITALOCEAN.COM Status: ok
After checking that the WHOIS information has been correctly updated, you can use
dig to verify that the DigitalOcean name servers are serving DNS records for your domain name.
- dig -t NS yourdomainname.com @ns1.digitalocean.com
Output; <<>> DiG 9.10.6 <<>> -t NS yourdomainname.com @ns1.digitalocean.com ;; global options: +cmd ;; Got answer: ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 44786 ;; flags: qr aa rd; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 4, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1 ;; WARNING: recursion requested but not available ;; OPT PSEUDOSECTION: ; EDNS: version: 0, flags:; udp: 512 ;; QUESTION SECTION: ;yourdomainname.com. IN NS ;; ANSWER SECTION: yourdomainname.com. 7200 IN NS ns3.digitalocean.com. yourdomainname.com. 7200 IN NS ns2.digitalocean.com. yourdomainname.com. 7200 IN NS ns1.digitalocean.com. ;; Query time: 30 msec ;; SERVER: 2001:4860:4802:32::6e#53(2001:4860:4802:32::6e) ;; WHEN: Thu Dec 22 12:11:26 CST 2022 ;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 161
All of this information is useful as it provides the fastest way to confirm that your site is connected to the correct name servers and that the information is propagating while your site is updating.
DNS records can provide a way of building a simple load balancer to distribute site visitors across several IP addresses, each one serving identical content. If more than one IP address is connected to a site, visitors will be sent to one of the connected IP addresses in order. Although this is a helpful way to serve more visitors and prevent the site from going down if one server fails, DNS load balancing does not account for geography, network congestion, or user IP address (among others). You can learn how to address these issues by checking out our What is a CDN article.
To set up DNS Load balancing, fill out the site’s A records with @ in the hostname, directing users to the main domain, and with the correct IP in the IP Address field. Your setup should look something like this:
When changing your site’s name servers from your current host to DigitalOcean, you can do so without any site downtime.
Start by setting up all of your DNS settings in the DigitalOcean interface. Doing this will have no effect on your current website because the site has been configured on the original host.
Once you put in your A, CNAME, and MX server records, access your domain registrar. If you do not remember where you registered your name, you can look it up using “WHOIS”, a protocol that displays a site’s identifying information, such as the IP address and registration details.
Open up the command line and type:
- whois example.com
The command will display all of the details associated with the site, including the Technical Contact which contains your domain registrar.
Once you have the information, you can change the name servers to point to DigitalOcean (ns1.digitalocean.com, ns2.digitalocean.com, ns3.digitalocean.com), and the website will be transferred over with no downtime.
In this tutorial, you learned three tricks you can use to work with the DNS records of your site. From here, you can learn more about the details of DNS in our Intro to Managing DNS tutorial series.
Thanks for learning with the DigitalOcean Community. Check out our offerings for compute, storage, networking, and managed databases.