Help me understand DNS stuffs for .to TLD ...
May 30, 2018 5:22 PM   Subscribe

I own a bunch of domains on PairNic. I have no trouble altering their DNS info so that their sites (mostly Squarespace) load. However, today, I purchased a .TO domain from only to discover that, though they allow you to alter some DNS stuff, not the DNS stuff I need to point to Squarespace. Help?

Squarespace told me to email the Nic "these variables" and they'll know what to do with them (and they provided me with A and CNAME records and things like that).

I emailed ToNic and they wrote back that they do not provide DNS service:

"You might consider to approach your ISP or the host of your web or mail
service in this regard. Alternatively, you may be interested to
consider the (free) services offered at:

I looked at those two sites and was utterly baffled by them.

I looked at my Pairnic account, which has about a dozen of my domains, but it appears they don't handle .TO domains.

What exactly do I need to do to make my Squarespace .to website start appearing? If you could explain it to me like I'm 3, that would be great.

Thank you.
posted by dobbs to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
You're expected to have your DNS hosted somewhere else, and ToNIC will point DNS queries there. Think of it as delegation. There's probably a way to set that up exposed in the user control panel.

Desipte the name, is a pretty user friendly DNS host for this sort of thing. (They started out as a dynamic IP DNS provider.) Sign up for DNS hosting there, and one of their support reps will walk you through the setup if need be. There are cheaper options, but they're reasonable and helpful.

Alternatively, some web-hosts also offer DNS hosting -- not sure if Squarespace does or not.

This is normal enough, they're just being confusing about it.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:36 PM on May 30, 2018

A domain needs a DNS server, and apparently your registrar does not provide one. The easiest thing to do is to use one of the free ones, search for "Free DNS".

(I use ZoneEdit, but I'm sure they're all equivalent.)
posted by phliar at 5:39 PM on May 30, 2018

I've had some experience with ZoneEdit back in the day -- they were fine. Yes they do offer free DNS hosting according to their site, but clicking the signup link for new users is timing out for me right now. You can try seeing if it works for you later.

Cloudflare is a CDN (sorry if you already know that -- I'm trying to keep your "explain it to me like I'm 3" guideline in mind) and security service for websites; you could pick their free plan and host your DNS there, and skip all the other options if you don't need/want to use them. Here's how you'd do it:

- Basically when you sign up for an account with them, you'll be asked to "add a website" -- enter in your .to domain, e.g. Pick the free plan whenever you're prompted to choose. I *think* the last time I had to do this, one of the paid plans was pre-selected so you might have to change the selection to Free.

- Their system will look up existing DNS records that are already associated with your domain, and try to copy them over. You'll have to wait a bit during this part -- if anything shows up as a detected record, you probably won't need it (but take a screenshot to be safe).

- Add in your "A" and "CNAME" etc records from Squarespace. When you add records, look for the orange cloud under the "Status" column. If the cloud is orange, it means that server is going to use the Cloudflare CDN/security services. To keep things simple you can disable those services by clicking on them and greying them out. (You can always turn them on later if you ever want to use any of their services down the road.) It looks like Squarespace has a page about Cloudflare -- it might be ambiguous but when they say "using Cloudflare" here, they mean the CDN/security features. It should be fine to use Cloudflare just for DNS hosting.

- Eventually you'll see a page that tells you to change your nameservers for your domain. There will be two nameserver hosts with their IP addresses. Copy that information (the Cloudflare nameservers and their IP addresses) and provide the info to ToNic. They will then register those nameservers on their system, which means you'll be able to control all of the granular DNS records from Cloudflare. Once they do that, Cloudflare should automatically detect that your domain has switched to their nameservers (it shouldn't take too long after ToNic make the changes, but conservatively 72 hours to propagate), and you should get an email from Cloudflare saying the site has been added, and you can check your Squarespace website from the .to domain.

Even if you don't use Cloudflare, the above setup steps should be pretty similiar for using an external DNS host (excluding the part about clouds). For instance if you can get a free account on ZoneEdit, you should be able to set up your DNS records there and get the two nameservers and IPs to provide to ToNic. As mentioned above, you can also pay for DNS hosting if you don't want to rely on free services.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 12:30 AM on May 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

rangefinder 1.4, thank you for the indepth answer. I'm trying with Cloudfare but it's telling me the .to domain isn't registered, even though I have registered it. The registration is recent (yesterday) so I'll give a day or two to see if it changes and then go back and try your steps again. Just wanted to let you know I appreciate the time you took and didn't just vanish.
posted by dobbs at 5:38 AM on June 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks, it worked! Went with ZoneEdit.
posted by dobbs at 8:31 PM on June 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

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