Common DNS Configurations

Updated by Elle Krout

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After familiarizing yourself with Linode’s DNS Manager, the next step is determining which DNS records should be added. This guide discusses common DNS configurations that you can reference when creating your DNS records.

Setting Up a Domain

The most common DNS configuration is a single domain name on one Linode. For this, you’ll need to add SOA and NS records for all of your name servers, and A/AAAA records for your domain names. Use the screenshot below as a guide.

The SOA record is set to "ns1.linode.com". The NS records are set to "ns1.linode.com" through "ns5.linode.com", inclusive. The MX record is set to "mail.example.org". There are A records for [blank], which is the primary domain, and the "mail" and "www" subdomains. They are all set to the same IP.

The DNS Manager can automatically add all of these records when you create a domain zone. For instructions, see Adding Domain Zones in the DNS Manager guide.

Configuring Subdomains

To configure a subdomain, such as staging.example.org, create an A record with the hostname of the subdomain you want to create. Point the the record at the IP address of the server you want to host the subdomain, as shown below.

Create a new A record, following the instructions in the "Adding" section. Add the subdomain text to the "Hostname" field. For example, you could type "staging" - NOT "staging.example.org".

You will also need to create a name-based virtual host for the subdomain. If you’re using Apache, see Configuring Name-Based Virtual Hosts for more information.

Hosting Multiple Domains on a Single Server

To host multiple domain names on a single server, create a separate domain zone for each domain name, as shown below. When creating the new domain zones, we recommend that you allow the DNS Manager to automatically insert basic records. At a minimum, you’ll need an A record for each domain name pointing to the server’s IP address.

This page shows the DNS Manager tab with three different domain zones listed.

You will also need to create a name-based virtual host for each domain name. If you’re using Apache, see Configuring Name-Based Virtual Hosts for more information.

Using One Domain on Multiple Servers

If you have more than one server, but only one domain name, you can point A records with server-specific hostnames to all servers that need domain names. One machine will be the “front end” for the domain, by virtue of the first-level domain’s A record pointing to it, but if needed the domain can serve as a proxy for services provided by other machines. For example, if you wanted to create a development environment on another server, you could create an A record for staging.example.org and point it at another Linode’s IP address.

Routing Email to Third-Party Mail Services

To route email to a third-party email service, create MX records that associate your mail server (for example, mail.example.org) with a hostname provided by the third-party service. For instructions, see the website of your third-party email service.

Using Wildcard DNS Records

A wildcard DNS record matches requests for non-existent domain names. For example, if you create an A record for *.example.org, and a user visits nonexistantname.example.org, that user will be redirected to example.org. An example wildcard DNS record is shown below.

Create a new A record, following the instructions in the "Adding" section. Add a single asterisk (\*) in the "Hostname" field. Set your IP address in the "IP Address" field. Then click the "Save Changes" button.

This guide is published under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license.