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Why can't I have DNS here, website there, and email somewhere else?
June 26, 2012 9:05 AM   Subscribe

DNS here, website there, email somewhere else..is this possible?

I currently have a website for my organization hosted on HostGator. The domain is registered with Network Solutions. The DNS records for this domain are at HostGator also. Email, however is on my own server, and I have the MX record pointing there. Everything works great - most of the time.

For reasons HostGator can't explain to me, the DNS records for our website get changed occasionally. Basically what happens is that the address for the website gets changed to point to the email server. So website visitors get directed to our webmail page. Of course it always happens after hours and is a major league PITA to get corrected. I've changed my password many times and had HostGator check their logs but they have not come up with any explanation. I do not ever fiddle around with the DNS records. The mis-direction occurs on it's own as far as I can tell.

So what I'd like to do is move the DNS records somewhere else, probably Network Solutions, but keep the website hosted at HostGator and the email service on my own server. Network Solutions tells me this is not possible. They say that if the DNS records for the domain are on Network Solutions DNS servers, then the website must be hosted there (on Network Solutions webservers) ($$$). |??? This was a "real" person I talked to there and I asked him to confirm this several times, which he did, and I nearly believed him until one of his last statements was "unless there is something I don't know about." ?

If this is indeed the case, then apparently I don't understand DNS like I thought I did. Is it not possible to have DNS registration at one place like Network Solutions, the DNS server for the domain there, the website at HostGator, and email somewhere else without having to pay for some premium product?
posted by bellastarr to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It's not the case. Either the NetSol guy is an idiot or the NetSol guy is an idiot. There are many DNS hosting fish in the sea, try another one. Both Verio and GoDaddy will do exactly what you want, I've used both.
posted by axiom at 9:11 AM on June 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


It may be due to internal processes at Network Solutions, or it may just be that they're trying to coerce you into using their web hosting. I've seen internal ISP tools that make it difficult to separate out the company's DNS services from their hosting services.

However, I use DomainMonger for my domain registration and DNS. I believe they're a Tucows reseller, but they have been flat out awesome to me over the years, even if they do cost a few bucks extra. So you could transfer your domain to them, use them for your DNS, and then continue to use HostGator and your own email. I have a couple of domains with DNS at DomainMonger, and I split them between hosting on my own servers, and email on the same or other servers or via GMail.

And, yes, if HostGator can't keep their DNS pointing in the right direction, you're right to look elsewhere.
posted by straw at 9:13 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I should add that I need the myorgsdomain.com and www.myorgsdomain.com to both go to our website. These are of course different from the email server for myorgsdomain.com that the MX record points to.
posted by bellastarr at 9:13 AM on June 26, 2012


Total nonsense. I used ZoneEdit and EasyDNS for free DNS services in years past, although it looks like they may charge for those services now.
posted by Jairus at 9:15 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


They say that if the DNS records for the domain are on Network Solutions DNS servers, then the website must be hosted there (on Network Solutions webservers)

If that's true then it's a Network Solutions policy rather than a technical limitation of DNS in general. You can have a completely third party host for your DNS records if you want, but most domain registrars will allow you to maintain your own simple DNS records. I would suggest just moving your domain registration to a better registrar since it probably won't cost you any more and won't affect your actual web hosting.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:16 AM on June 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is no technical reason why your DNS would need to be at the same company as any of your other hosting. I think the person you talked to was expressing that they do not sell separate DNS hosting but bundle it with web hosting.

Check out this site:

http://freedns.afraid.org/

They offer DNS hosting (they have various free or paid options). I host my own local DNS and have used them as a secondary DNS for years with no issues.
posted by TeknoKid at 9:19 AM on June 26, 2012


From a technical standpoint you can have your domain registrar be one entity, your DNS host be a 2nd entity, your web host be a 3rd entity and your e-mail host be a 4th entity. There is no technical reason that this cannot be done.
posted by dgeiser13 at 9:19 AM on June 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I should add that I need the myorgsdomain.com and www.myorgsdomain.com to both go to our website. These are of course different from the email server for myorgsdomain.com that the MX record points to.

That's entirely standard as well. Those are subdomains, the 'www' subdomain just being standard practice but effectively it could be anything. You can create a DNS record to resolve bananas.myorgsdomain.com to your webserver, should you so desire.
posted by axiom at 9:19 AM on June 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ok, you've confirmed what I thought. Thanks!
posted by bellastarr at 9:32 AM on June 26, 2012


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