DNS Set-up: Debian 3.1 / Godaddy / everydns.net

I am posting this in the hope that it will be helpful to other Linode users.

I began to subscribe to Linode in October using the Debian 3.1-stable distribution. I soon installed Apache 2.0 but didn't immediately put any content up. I registered two domain names with Godaddy, but the domains themselves didn't actually exist. Those names were simply "parked" on Godaddy's nameservers.

In December I had a multi-hour session with two of my Perl hacker buddies getting the web server running and getting DNS working. We created named virtual hosts corresponding to the two domain names registered with Godaddy. But we faced problems getting DNS to work for them. We found that we could not simply enter my linode domain name, nor could we enter the virtual hosts. And the Godaddy error messages were not particularly clear.

After blundering about for a while, my friend offered to list my domains on a DNS server that he was already operating. So we entered that server's name as the #1 nameserver in the list at Godaddy. But Godaddy requires at least 2 nameservers, so for the second server we listed another server that he had registered but which actually wasn't a functioning nameserver.

This "took", and for a month there was no problem. Then there came a day when he was moving his server from one physical location to another. The DNS server was off-line and, boom, my two domains could no longer be located on the Internet!

My friend had told me about the 'dig' utility for analyzing domain names and I used that to learn the names of the top-level nameservers overseeing the '.com' and '.net' domains. I hypothesized that if I entered one of those top-level servers as my #2 server at Godaddy, I would be covered.

That approach appeared to work for a week, but ultimately proved flawed. The #2 server wasn't really providing information about my two domains, and when the #1 server at my friend's house encountered problems, my two domains once again could no longer be located.

I began to look in threads in this forum and eventually decided to check out http://www.everydns.net/. This has proved successful so far, so let me post the procedures:

1. Create a new account at everydns.net.

2. Go to your Godaddy account. Log in, select "Manage Domains," then select "Set Nameservers." Enter the 4 nameservers listed at everydns. You will be replacing the two Godaddy nameservers where your domain names are currently parked, then creating two additional nameservers. Save your results.

3. Return to everydns.net. Log in. Select "Add new domain (basic)" and follow the instructions. The new domain will appear in a list of your domains; click on it to edit. At this point you will see content like this (there may be some line-wrapping here):

Current Records:

Host Type Value MX TTL Delete

some.yourdomain.com A 3600 [delete]

www.some.yourdomain.com CNAME parked.everydns.net 3600 [delete]

4. What I did then – which may not be the best or the only way to do this -- was to delete the entry for www.some.yourdomain.com, then went to the "Add a record" frame immediately below and entered these (sample) values:



… and clicked on "Add Record". I then repeated the process for some.yourdomain.com.

5. I then held my breath for the next hour, waiting to see if the domain names would properly propagate. They did, so I repeated the process for my other registered domain names.

Of all the aspects of setting up a server I have faced since October, getting DNS to work was the most difficult. A lot of my confusion was due to the fact that I've been using the "Debian 3.1 Linux Bible" as my reference, and the type of DNS configuration described therein didn't actually match what happened when I downloaded the Debian package for BIND version 9. I'm not actually certain what, if anything, BIND on my server is actually doing. But at least my two domains are visible and are hosted on stable nameservers. everydns.net is shareware, and I'll definitely be making a contribution.

Jim Keenan

7 Replies

I recently set up an account on linode. I found this article but it wasn't overly helpful for me so I found out how to do it myself and here's what I did.

I registered a new name on www.godaddy.com (let's call it "example.com") and parked it. Cost ~US$11/year.

I then signed up for an account at www.twisted4life.com. They provide a secondary DNS service because you need 2 dns servers for an active domain name.

Next I installed bind9 (apt-get install bind9) on my linode server. This would provide the primary dns service. I then edited the /etc/bind/named.conf.local file and added:

  zone "example.com" {
      type master;
      file "/etc/bind/db.com.example";
      allow-transfer {
; // ns1.twisted4life.com

I then created a file called /etc/bind/db.com.example with the following:

  ; Zone file for example.com
  ; The full zone file
  $TTL    86400
  @       IN      SOA     ns.example.com. hostmaster.example.com. (
                          2006020601      ; Serial
  ; how often slave nameservers check with the master for changes
                           7200         ; Refresh
  ; how often slave nameservers would contact the master
  ; nameserver if the previous XFER failed
                           1200         ; Retry
                        2419200         ; Expire
                          86400 )       ; Negative Cache TTL
                  NS      ns                    ; inet of our nameserver

                  NS      ns1.twisted4life.com. ; secondary dns

  ns              A ; my linode service ip address
  www             CNAME   ns

Then I restarted bind9 (/etc/init.d/bind9 restart).

Next was to get the secondary dns transferring from my linode server. I logged into www.twisted4life.com, into my account that I'd created before, and added a secondary server for "example.com" at my linode server ip address (

Great, restarted the bind daemon again on my linode server (/etc/init.d/bind9 restart) and verified in the logs that a zone transfer was happening to ns1.twisted4life.com (check /var/log/syslog on debian).

With that in place I then went to godaddy.com and logged into my account. Now I had to UNLOCK my account first, then go to the "Domain Host Summary" section at the right hand side and add a domain with the name "ns.example.com" with IP address "" (or whatever your linode service IP is). I LOCKED the account again.

Lastly, while logged into godaddy.com, I clicked "Set Nameservers" and made my 1st "ns.example.com" and the 2nd "ns1.twisted4life.com".

All done! Now to wait 48 hours for the name to propagate around the internet!

Later, you can try visiting http://www.dnsreport.com/ and typing in your new domain (example.com), and this will provide detailed and helpful analysis in diagnosing whether or not your DNS is functioning and configured properly.

It was simple and it worked for me in about 10 minutes. With their total control option you can just update the dns entries on their servers.

I'm not exactly sure how to find the "total control" option at http://www.godaddy.com/, perhaps you might like to edit your article and add a little "howto" to make it easy for other customers? It sounds like a great option.

Having your own dns (and using someone else as a secondary) allows you to dynamically update your zone file.

Let's say you have started a car fanclub website, and you called it "myslicksaresoquick.com". Perhaps you offer members a premium service where you give them their own domain that points to a page all about their car, directly! So you write a script that goes into the zone file on your linode system and it adds that member name. Soon after the entire internet knows about your new member's site (e.g. member zoomzoom gets a domain "zoomzoom.myslicksaresoquick.com/" all to himself! Your apache webserver has a URL rewriting rule that takes redirects a user to myslicksaresoquick.com/members/zoomzoom automatically.)

OK so maybe the example above is a bit involved, but it does illustrate the level of control having your own domain server gives you.

The total control option at go daddy is only shown when you set the nameservers to "Default Parked Name Servers" it will take a bit of time for things to update on their end before the option appears.

Another cool thing you can do with your own DNS is set up Yahoo! DomainKeys for verifying that your site is sending authenticated e-mail.

The crux of Yahoo! DomainKeys is that you update your zone file to include an entry for xxx._domainkey.yoursite.com where xxx is the selector name.

Then you configure your mailer (exim4 perhaps in which the source has experimental domain keys support) to sign any outgoing mail (with a private key). The recipient of any message then looks up the xxx._domainkey.yoursite.com TXT record for the public key and verifies that your site did indeed send the message.

I've tried this and had Yahoo! mail authenticate outgoing mail, very nice.

In order to point at your own linode for both primary and secondary dns, you have to have "glue" records setup. I've been buying my domains from dyndns.org for several years, and used their free subdomain service and auto updater for much longer. Dropped them a mail, they told me what was up, got my ip and names from my currently running dyndns account and set it up. The world could find me 18 hours later, or at least I could find me using 5 or 6 "big name" dns servers and nslookup in the interactive mode.


Please enter an answer

You can mention users to notify them: @username

You can use Markdown to format your question. For more examples see the Markdown Cheatsheet.

> I’m a blockquote.

I’m a blockquote.

[I'm a link] (https://www.google.com)

I'm a link

**I am bold** I am bold

*I am italicized* I am italicized

Community Code of Conduct