What is a domain?
A Domain is a unit of administrative control managed by a dedicated authoritative DNS server that stores authoritative DNS information for that domain. A domain is a unique and human-readable name used to identify a specific location or entity on the internet. It serves as an address that allows users to access websites, send emails, and interact with various online services. Domains are organized in a hierarchical structure, with levels separated by dots (periods).
What are Zones?
Zone comprises of the data for a domain and also possibly for its multiple sub-domains organized as Resource Records or DNS Records, which contain multiple mappings between domain names, IP addresses and other resources. These mappings inside the DNS records help the resolver translate the given domain name into a unique IP address.
How to setup and manage domains in ManageEngine CloudDNS?
To create new domains:
Select the Domains menu from the left menu bar.
From the Domains page, click the Add Domain button on the top right corner.
The Create Domain form displays requesting the essential details for the new domain to be created.
After entering the Domain Name, you'd be requested to specify the type of the new domain.
The Type of the Domain comes with three pre-defined values:
With this type of domain comes CloudDNS enables you to configure advanced features like GeoDNS, DNSSEC, Configuring monitors along with Failover mapping.
The Primary AXFR domain type entitles the zone files of a domain to become the master zones for the secondary zones during AXFR zone transfers. However, these primary zones cannot be configured with advanced configurations like GeoDNS, failover, and monitoring health checks.
The Secondary domain type makes the zone files configured under this type to specify the primary server details and frequently polls primary servers hosted on other DNS provider with AXFR queries to fetch updates. The updates if detected, are replicated in a read-only format in the secondary zone files by means of AXFR protocol. As the the secondary zone files are in a read-only format, CloudDNS cannot have any control over them.
Once you are done choosing the suitable domain type for your domain, key in the relevant domain Email, Time-To-Live (TTL), Refresh, Retry, Expiry and Minimum values for the new domain.
The standard time attributes of the domain can also be pre-defined in SOA templates and all you need to do is enable the template to make all the records you create to bear the pre-defined values set in the template. Please scroll down to know more on SOA templates.
Specify if you'd like to enable targeting filters for the new domain by selecting YES/ NO.
Associate the relevant Contact Group by selecting the name of the contact group already created under the organization.
Click Save, a new Zone is created for your domain.
Every time a domain is created in CloudDNS, the zone for the domain is populated with DNS records according to the SOA (State of Authority) template. The SOA template contains important pre-defined administrative information about a zone and zone transfers. On pre-defining the attributes of your zone files by creating SOA templates, all you've to do is to enable or disable the templates according to your requirements.
To create new template:
Select Config menu from the left menu bar. Switch to SOA Templates tab.
Click on the Add Template button in the top right corner.
The Create Domain Template form appears.
The contents of the domain template is just the same all of any DNS zone and is used to simplify DNS zone setup process.
The SOA template comprises of five mandatory time attributes with each attribute defined in seconds. They are:
The Time-To-Live(TTL) attribute specifies the total number of seconds the local resolver ought to cache the response for a record before requesting a new one.
The Refresh attribute defines the number of seconds after which the secondary servers ought to query the primary server for SOA record. The serial number in the SOA record helps the secondary servers to detect zone changes.
The Retry attribute defines the number of seconds after which the secondary servers ought to retry requesting for the serial number from the primary server, if the primary server does not respond. The Retry value must be less than the refresh value.
The Expire attribute defines the number of seconds after which the secondary servers ought to stop sending responses to requests for a particular zone, if the primary server hosting the zone does not respond. Expire attribute should bear a value bigger than the sum of Refresh and Retry.
The Minimum attribute defines the number of seconds a remote caching DNS server should cache negative responses for a zone.
CloudDNS enables you to customize these five time attributes depending on the size and the stability of the domains you host in CloudDNS infrastructure.
Once you click Save, an SOA template will be created. Now all you got to do is enable the template by dragging the Enable toggle to green.
This will make all the records in all the zones you create under your organization account bears the same Time-To-Live(TTL), Refresh, Retry, Expire and Minimum time values, saving you loads of time keying in these details for every record you create under each zone.
When you attempt to create a new domain now with an SOA template enabled, all these attributes come pre-filled to expedite the creation of new zones as shown below:
Vanity nameservers enable organizations to rebrand CloudDNS's public nameservers by branding them to a domain of their choice, masking CloudDNS as the original host or DNS provider.
Vanity nameservers are configured in CloudDNS by creating a vanity nameserver template followed by associating the newly created template with the personalized domain name of your choice. A Vanity Nameserver Template constitutes a group of vanity nameservers bearing personalized hostnames. More on vanity nameservers here.
Zone Group(s) is a quick-curated list constituting a unique collection of multiple zones. Assigning your zone to a zone group simplifies zone management. More on zone groups here.
Contact groups constitute groups of specific users under your organization who receive notifications related to the addition, deletion, changes, and monitoring of records available for a domain.
While creating a domain, you can associate with the relevant contact group to be notified of alerts or incidences concerning that domain and the associated monitor. More on contact groups here.
Update your Registrar
All your zone files are stored in CloudDNS's nameservers, serving as the primary DNS controller, and they identify the location of your domain on the Internet. To achieve accurate DNS resolution, it is essential to update your domain registrar to use CloudDNS's nameservers. This enables CloudDNS to take over the responsibility of optimizing and protecting your website effectively.
To find CloudDNS's list of nameservers for your domain, follow these steps:
- Go to the Domain menu and navigate through your domain name.
- Locate the system nameservers at the bottom of the page under the section labeled SYSTEM NS.
- Copy the list of nameservers provided by CloudDNS for your domain and add them into your domain registrar's settings.
It is crucial that you update your domain registrar with the CloudDNS nameservers for your domain correctly; otherwise, DNS resolution may fail.