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DNS setup for Cloud VPS website hosting and email

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If you’ve purchased a VPS for web hosting but never set up DNS for a domain, it can be a daunting task. With Shared or Business hosting, you just need to put our nameservers into your domain registrar’s site, and it’s all done for you. There’s a few more steps to be done when hosting from a Hostwinds Cloud VPS, however.

The two options we will cover in this guide will vary and depends on whether you want the VPS to function as a nameserver or use Hostwinds Cloud DNS manager.

Private Nameserver(s) pointing to the VPS

If you have a web hosting control panel installed on the server like WHM/cPanel, CentOS Web Panel, Virtualmin/Webmin, Plesk, or many others, you can use the Cloud VPS server itself to be the nameservers for the domain. You can also manually install and set up BIND to serve this function. Plain IP addresses can’t be used as a nameserver, so you must create a “Private Nameserver” at your domain registrar to point to the Cloud VPS.

How to create a Private Nameserver at various registrars.

Then you can edit the DNS zone on the VPS to account for the private nameservers

Setting up private nameservers on a vps with dns

Cloud DNS manager

Alternatively, if you’re not using a web hosting control panel that can serve as the nameserver and manage your DNS and the DNS Zone File(s), you can use Hostwinds Cloud DNS manager.

This is what the default ‘mdnsX.hostwindsdns.com’ nameservers listed in your Cloud VPS Welcome email point to.

Of course, change X above with the number provided to you when adding your domain to Hostwinds Cloud DNS Manager when you are ready to start adding your DNS records and build the DNS Zone File.

Using this when a panel platform is installed on the server can lead to duplicated efforts copying records back and forth and frustrations from things not working consistently.

As an example, cPanel’s AutoSSL makes TXT records in its own DNS Zone to verify the domain, and these need to be copied to the Cloud DNS manager to make the SSL Certificates work.

That being said, the Cloud DNS manager does provide a complete solution to point a domain at a server or servers:

Basic instructions for Cloud DNS for one domain

If you do have any questions or any help, you are always welcome to open a support ticket, contact us in a Live Chat or give us a phone call 24/7/365. We are always ready to help.