How to Set Up Nameservers in a cPanel Environment


Overview

Nameservers match domain names to IP addresses. When a visitor attempts to find a website that your server hosts, their computer asks a nameserver for the IP address of the domain that they wish to view. The nameserver returns the IP address for your web server and directs the visitor to the correct page.

  • You must publish records for your domain names to nameservers so that visitors can reach those sites.
  • These nameservers communicate with other nameservers to distribute the records of sites that your server hosts.
  • The propagation period is the amount of time that it takes for a domain’s DNS records to spread across the internet.

You can use several methods to update your nameservers.

  • In all currently-supported cPanel & WHM versions, you can use a series of WHM interfaces to configure and update your nameservers.
  • In cPanel & WHM version 74 and earlier, when you log in to WHM for the first time, the Initial Setup Assistant interface appears. The Nameservers section of this interface (Step 4) allows you to set up nameservers.
    Note:

    We removed the Initial Setup Assistant interface in cPanel & WHM version 76.

Configure via WHM interfaces

To configure nameservers via the WHM interface, perform the following steps:

Select a nameserver software.
Note:

If you already use your registrar’s DNS services, you can skip this step.

To select a nameserver software, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to WHM’s Nameserver Selection interface (WHM >> Home >> Service Configuration >> Nameserver Selection).
  2. Select the desired nameserver software.
  3. Click Save.

The nameserver software that you can use depends on your cPanel & WHM version:

  • In cPanel & WHM version 84 and later, the system installs PowerDNS by default.
  • In cPanel & WHM version 82 and earlier, the system installs BIND by default.
  • In cPanel & WHM version 78, we deprecated the MyDNS and NSD nameservers and you can’t select either setting.
    • MyDNS does not support Certificate Authority Authorization (CAA) records, which certificate authorities use to determine if they can issue certificates for a domain.
    • MyDNS requires that you add external nameserver IP addresses to the resolv.conf file.
Configure your default nameservers.

To configure your default nameservers, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to WHM’s Basic WebHost Manager Setup interface (WHM >> Home >> Server Configuration >> Basic WebHost Manager Setup).
  2. At the bottom of the interface, enter the desired nameserver names in the text boxes.
  3. Click Save Changes.

We recommend that you use the following guidelines when you name nameservers:

  • The name must consist of a prefix, a dot (.), and your domain. The common convention for nameservers is to prefix your domain name with ns1 (for example, ns1.example.com and ns2.example.com).
  • Your nameservers cannot share a name.
  • We strongly recommend that you use a domain that reflects your company’s main homepage URL.
Add IP addresses.

To add IP addresses to your server, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to WHM’s Add a New IP Address interface (WHM >> Home >> IP Functions >> Add a New IP Address).
  2. Enter the IP address or IP address range in the New IP or IP range to add text box.
  3. Enter the subnet mask in the Select a subnet mask for the IP or IPs above to use text box.
  4. Enter any IP addresses that you wish to exclude in the IPs and IP ranges to exclude from the range of new IPs text box.
  5. Click Submit.
Create A or AAAA entries for your nameservers.

To create A or AAAA entries for your nameservers, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to WHM’s Basic WebHost Manager Setup interface (WHM >> Home >> Server Configuration >> Basic WebHost Manager Setup).
  2. Next to the appropriate Nameservers text box, click Configure Address Records. A new interface will appear and the system will perform a DNS lookup on the nameserver that you entered.
  3. settingally, update the IP addresses in the appropriate text boxes.
    • To enter a different IPv4 address, enter a new value in the Enter an IPv4 address to create an A record text box or Confirm the IPv4 address to create an A record text box.
    • To enter a different IPv6 address, enter a new value in the Enter an IPv6 address to create an AAAA record (settingal) text box.
  4. Click Configure Address Records. The system will display the results of your changes.
  5. Click Close.
  6. Repeat these steps for each nameserver.
Create A entries for your hostname.

To create A entries for your hostname, perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to WHM’s Add an A Entry for Your Hostname interface (WHM >> Home >> DNS Functions >> Add an A Entry for Your Hostname).
  2. Enter your server’s IP address in the available text box.
  3. Click Add Entry.
Set up nameservers with your registrar.

After you configure your server’s nameservers, you must register your nameservers with your registrar.

  • When you register nameservers, you announce their existence to the rest of the internet. You do not perform this action in cPanel & WHM, but you must do it or your nameservers will not function.
  • For steps for many popular registrars, see the Instructions for various registrars section below.
Manage reseller nameservers.

After you configure your nameservers, you may wish to configure special nameservers for your server’s resellers. We design cPanel & WHM to accommodate a white-label reseller experience, which allows customizable branding. You can configure hosting resellers to each use their own nameservers.

Note:

Resellers may use their own nameservers, but individual cPanel accounts cannot use their own nameservers.

To edit nameserver names and assign nameserver IP addresses for individual reseller nameservers, use WHM’s Edit Reseller Nameservers and Privileges interface (WHM >> Home >> Resellers >> Edit Reseller Nameservers and Privileges).

Configure via the Initial Setup Assistant

Note:
  • We removed these portions of the Initial Setup Assistant interface in cPanel & WHM version 76. In later versions of cPanel & WHM, you must use WHM interfaces or the command line to perform these tasks.
  • These steps assume that you successfully completed the cPanel & WHM installation process, logged in to WHM, and completed the first three sections of the Initial Setup Assistant interface.
  • In cPanel & WHM version 64 and earlier, WHM’s Initial Setup Assistant interface was the Initial Setup Wizard interface.

To configure nameservers via the Initial Setup Assistant interface, perform the following steps:

Select a nameserver software.
Note:

If you already use your registrar’s DNS services, you can skip this step.

Select the desired nameserver software. cPanel & WHM offers the following nameserver software:

  • BIND — The system defaults to BIND in cPanel & WHM version 82 and earlier.

  • PowerDNS — The system defaults to PowerDNS in cPanel & WHM version 84 and later.

    Note:

    For most servers, we recommend that you select PowerDNS.

  • MyDNS — We deprecated MyDNS in cPanel & WHM version 78 and plan to remove it in a future release. You can’t select this setting.

    Important:
    • We strongly recommend that you migrate to PowerDNS. For more information, read our cPanel Deprecation Plan.
    • MyDNS does not support Certificate Authority Authorization (CAA) records, which certificate authorities use to determine if they can issue certificates for a domain.
    • MyDNS requires that you add external nameserver IP addresses to the resolv.conf file.

  • NSD — We deprecated NSD in cPanel & WHM version 78 and plan to remove it in a future release. You can’t select this setting.

    Important:

    We strongly recommend that you migrate to PowerDNS. For more information, read our cPanel Deprecation Plan.

  • Disabled

Name your nameservers.

Enter the desired name for each of your nameservers. We recommend that you use the following guidelines when you name nameservers:

  • The name must consist of a prefix, a dot (.), and your domain. The common convention for nameservers is to prefix your domain name with ns1 (for example, ns1.example.com and ns2.example.com).
  • Your nameservers cannot share a name.
  • We strongly recommend that you use a domain that reflects your company’s main homepage URL.
Create A entries and add IP addresses.

Select the desired settings for your server’s A entries and IP addresses.

  • We strongly recommend that you select both the Add “A Entries” for all Nameservers and Add “A Entries” for Hostname checkboxes.
  • If you do not enter IP addresses in the Please enter an IP address for each of your nameservers text boxes, the system automatically assigns available IP addresses from your server to each nameserver.
Set up nameservers with your registrar.

After you configure your server’s nameservers, you must register your nameservers with your registrar.

  • When you register nameservers, you announce their existence to the rest of the internet. You do not perform this action in cPanel & WHM, but you must do it or your nameservers will not function.
  • For steps for many popular registrars, see the Instructions for various registrars section below.
Manage reseller nameservers.

After you configure your nameservers, you may wish to configure special nameservers for your server’s resellers. We design cPanel & WHM to accommodate a white-label reseller experience, which allows customizable branding. You can configure hosting resellers to each use their own nameservers.

Note:

Resellers may use their own nameservers, but individual cPanel accounts cannot use their own nameservers.

To edit nameserver names and assign nameserver IP addresses for individual reseller nameservers, use WHM’s Edit Reseller Nameservers and Privileges interface (WHM >> Home >> Resellers >> Edit Reseller Nameservers and Privileges).

Instructions for various registrars

Each set of instructions assumes that the following statements are true:

  • You have an account with the registrar.
  • You have already registered your domain with that company.
  • You have logged in to your account and are on the first screen that you see after you log in.
123-reg.co.uk

To register with 123-reg.co.uk, perform the following steps:

  1. Find and select the domain name for your nameserver (for example, select example.com if you wish to register ns1.example.com).
  2. Click Modify domain.
  3. Click Change Nameservers.
  4. Scroll down and enter the names for your primary and secondary nameservers in the Nameserver 1 and Nameserver 2 text boxes (for example, ns1.example.com).
  5. Click Change Nameservers.
  6. Enter the IP addresses for your nameservers.
  7. Click Change Nameservers.

DirectNIC

To register with DirectNIC, perform the following steps:

  1. Click Domain Manager.
  2. Click Change Nameserver Information next to your domain.
  3. Click Create Nameserver at the top of the interface.
  4. Enter your nameserver’s hostname (for example, ns1.example.com).
  5. Enter the appropriate IP address.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 for your second nameserver.

Dotster

To register with Dotster, perform the following steps:

  1. Click on My Domains at the top of the Account Management interface.
  2. Click the domain for which you wish to register your nameservers.
  3. Click Register Nameserver.
  4. Enter the hostname (for example: ns1.example.com) for your first nameserver.
  5. Enter the IP address for this nameserver in the four text boxes. You will need to enter each octet of your IP address in its respective text box.
  6. Click Update.
  7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 for your second nameserver.

DynaDot

To register with DynaDot, perform the following steps:

  1. Click Domain Names on the right side of the interface.
  2. Click Nameservers near the top of the interface.
  3. Click Register a domain name server.
  4. Enter the full name of your first nameserver (for example: ns1.example.com) in the Host Name text box.
  5. Enter the IP address for that nameserver.
  6. Click Submit.
  7. Repeat steps 2 through 6 for your second nameserver.

Enom

To register with Enom, perform the following steps:

  1. Click Select Domain Names.
  2. Click Register DNS.
  3. Use the Register a Nameserver Name feature in the first section of the interface to create your nameservers.

GoDaddy

To register with GoDaddy, perform the following steps:

  1. Under the Domains heading, click All Domains.
  2. Locate the domain for which you wish to set up your nameservers.
  3. Click the gear icon and select Manage DNS.
  4. Click the Settings tab.
  5. Under the Host Names setting, click Manage.
  6. Click Add Hostname.
  7. Enter the primary nameserver’s name (for example, ns1) in the Hostname text box.
  8. Enter the primary nameserver’s IP address in the IP Address text box.
  9. Click Add.
  10. Repeat steps 6-9 for your secondary nameserver (for example, ns2)
  11. Click Save.
  12. Click Edit Nameservers.
  13. Select Custom.
  14. Enter the full hostnames of your two nameservers. (for example, ns1.example.com and ns2.example.com)
  15. Click OK.
  16. Click Save.

The interface will process your request and then display a “Set Nameservers: Your request has been submitted. Changes may take a few moments to take effect.” message.


NameCheap

To register with NameCheap, perform the following steps:

  1. Find the domain in your account and click on it.
  2. Click Nameserver Registration.
  3. Enter the IP addresses for each of your nameservers.
  4. Click Add Nameservers.

Network Solutions

To register with Network Solutions, perform the following steps:

  1. Click Manage Host Servers at the bottom left of the interface. If this link fails to appear, use this alternate address.
  2. Enter your first nameserver’s hostname (for example, ns1.example.com) in the first text box.
  3. Click Continue.
  4. Enter the IP address of your first nameserver.
  5. Click Continue.
  6. Confirm the changes to the host server.
  7. Click Apply Change.
  8. Click Back to Account Manager Home.
  9. Click OK.
  10. Repeat this process for your second nameserver.

OpenSRS

To register with OpenSRS, perform the following steps:

  1. Click Name Servers at the top of the interface.
  2. Click Create or modify a name server which is based on…
  3. Enter the name (for example: ns1) for your first nameserver.
  4. Enter the nameserverʼs IP address.
  5. Click Create Name Server.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 6 to add your second nameserver.

Register.com

To register with Register.com, perform the following steps:

  1. Click on your domain name.
  2. Click Advanced Technical Settings.
  3. Click Manage Registered Name Servers.
  4. Scroll down to REGISTER NAME SERVER and enter the desired prefix for the first nameserver (for example: ns1).
  5. Enter the IP address (A record) in the next text box.
  6. Click Continue.
  7. Repeat this process for your second nameserver.

Additional Documentation