Support - Zerigo DNS

Creating your first domain

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New to managing DNS? Just want an overview of how to setup your domain with Zerigo DNS?

In this brief tutorial we'll walk you through a basic domain setup, covering a website and email.

First, make sure you're on the Domains tab in our DNS configuration portal. You may need to click on "DNS" or "Domains" to get to the right place.


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Let's start by adding a simple domain. We'll be using "example.org" as our domain, but you should substitute your own domain name of course.

Click on "+ add" over in the left menu. Then on the right, type in your domain name.

Tags are just a way of categorizing your domains. If you have only a couple domains, tags may not be helpful. If you have a bunch of domains, they're likely to be quite helpful. We'll skip tags for now.

The Default Refresh Period (TTL) is the period of time that a remote DNS server (most likely at an ISP) is allowed to remember the answers to previous DNS queries. After that time, it has to ask again.

A higher period of time will result in less queries. However, when you make a change, your users may not see the change until this period has expired. Until you know a bit more about DNS, we suggest you just leave it at the default value.

When you're finished, click on Add.


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You should receive a "Domain was successfully created." message along with a view of your newly created domain.

Next we're going to add a few host records. Under the Hosts tab in the middle, click on "+ add".


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First we're going to add an "A", or Address host record. This record provides the information necessary to turn a domain (example.org) into an IP address (172.16.100.99). In this case we're assuming this is a webserver, so you should use the IP address of your webserver here.

The first record is just for example.org (the full web address would be http://example.org/). So, leave the hostname field blank. Just enter the IP address in the Data field and click Save.


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After saving, the new host record should be visible under Hosts.

Now, most people want http://www.example.org/ to work in addition to http://example.org/. So, let's create another host record for that. Click on "+ add" again.


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This time enter "www" into the hostname field. Enter your webserver's IP address again into the Data field. Then click Save.


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Next, we want to enable email for your domain. There are two common scenarios today for hosting email: host it on your own server (along with your website) or use Google's Gmail for your domain. We're going to go through the configuration as if you had it on your own server first. Then we'll look at what would be different if you're using Gmail (or another 3rd party provider).

Once more, click on "+ add".

We'll be adding two records. The first is another A record. In this instance, we're assuming the server should respond to "mail.example.org" when it's accepting email. This is a very common setup, but does not fit all circumstances.

Enter "mail" in the hostname field. Enter your server's IP in the Data field. If your mail server is on a different IP, then certainly use that one here.

Finally, click on Save.


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The second record will be an "MX" record, or Mail eXchanger. This record will connect your domain (example.org) with the mail server (mail.example.org). Again, click "+ add".

Because we want all mail for @example.org to go to the specified server, we'll be leaving the hostname field blank.

For Type, select "MX".

MX records require a Priority. If you have only a single mail server, this does not matter. So, simply enter 0 (zero).

Last, in the Data field we need to give it the name of the mail server. In this case, that is "mail.example.org" -- the full name associated with the host record we just finished setting up a minute ago.

Click Save when you're finished.


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That's it! Your screen should look something like this:


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If you are using Gmail for your email, you'll need some different MX records. Google recommends 5 different MX records (http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=33915).

Start with "+ add". We want all mail for @example.org to be handled by Google, so leave the hostname field blank.

Google suggests a TTL (refresh period) of 1 hour, so set that. Then, change Type to MX. For the first record, set the Priority to 1.

Finally, set the Data field to "aspmx.l.google.com" and then Save.


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Next, add each of the 4 remaining records on Google's list.

In all cases, the hostname will be blank, the TTL should be 1 hour, and the Type should be MX. Only the Priority and Data fields should change.

Prio  Data
1     aspmx.l.google.com [we just did this one]
5     alt1.aspmx.l.google.com
5     alt2.aspmx.l.google.com
10    aspmx2.googlemail.com
10    aspmx3.googlemail.com

When you're done, the Hosts tab should look something like this (click Go next to "Sort by" if the order isn't the same).


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That should be everything you need to get started. The last step is to tell your domain registrar that Zerigo is now your DNS provider by pointing your domain to Zerigo's nameservers. Those nameservers are on the Nameservers tab of your domain.

Let us know if you have any questions or need other assistance.