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Let's say I purchase a domain at RegistrarA, and then I set my domain to use the name servers over at ProviderB since I will be using ProviderB to operate my DNS records.

In the system of ProviderB, I can now manage my domain's DNS records.

My question is, how did ProviderB and RegistrarA communicate the fact that I am the rightful owner of that domain? What is preventing another customer of ProviderB from trying to manage my domain name, now that it's using ProviderB's name servers? Is there some automatic checking of 'company name' or 'owner name' that needs to match on both ends? Is human verification involved?

As far as I know, RegistrarA and ProviderB do not know anything about my account on the 'other' system. I never gave RegistrarA any of my info regarding ProviderB, or vice versa.

I'll sleep better once I understand this.

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Thanks for moving this to webmasters, it's the right place to be. –  Eivind Oct 6 '11 at 18:32
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Oct 6 '11 at 14:03

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2 Answers

At RegistrarA you have a nameserver with your DNS information. In your DNS information you typically set an A record to ProviderB (your host). Your request would then be routed from RegistrarA to ProviderB. Assuming you're using a webbrowser, it will contact the machine you set the A record to on port 80. The webserver will respond by searching for a match of the domain name in its configuration and will then serve those files.

It's conceivable someone could 'use' your domain if you set your DNS records to a provider and someone creates an account using your domain there. If you want to be 'safe' just leave your domain parked at the registrar and make no further DNS changes.

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This does not answer my question. In my example, I only use RegistrarA to register a domain and set the name servers for it. I do all DNS management at ProviderB (a separate company that specialized in DNS management). I'm trying to understand how ProviderB knows that I (one of their many customers) really own the domain name that I registered with RegistrarA (which also has many customers). RegistrarA and ProviderB must have a method of establishing that a customer in one place corresponds to customer in the other. I want to understand how that works. –  Eivind Oct 5 '11 at 20:50
    
You set your nameservers at RegistrarA to point to ProviderB. ProviderB has a matching domain. That's the DNS info that is used. If you never gave Registrar A any information about Provider B then they do it all behind your back. –  Chris G. Oct 5 '11 at 22:08
    
Thanks for the additional input. What do you mean by 'matching domain'? And, it's this 'behind your back' thing that I'm trying to understand. To clarify, I'm not using the name servers operated by RegistrarA at all, I'm using the name servers at ProviderB. The only thing I do at RegistrarA is to set the NS records for my domain, to point it to the name servers operated by ProviderB. –  Eivind Oct 6 '11 at 8:30
    
Right. So when you type example.com it looks for the nameservers at ProviderB. It searches for a record that matches example.com, if it finds a record it uses that IP address to resolve the request to a machine. This is a simplified explanation. It really queries the nameserver at your ISP (which eventually gets passed down information from the nameserver at ProviderB) –  Chris G. Oct 6 '11 at 12:05
    
So you ARE giving RegistrarA information about ProviderB. (You are setting nameservers for the domain name to ProviderB, where it then looks for A records, CNAME records, etc.) –  Chris G. Oct 6 '11 at 12:07
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ProviderB is never given any information from RegistrarA. They don't need it. RegistrarA makes changes to the NS records for your domain, and the world knows that ProviderB has your DNS records. That's it.

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So, if both YOU and I have customer accounts with ProviderB, and YOU know that I registered example.com with RegistrarA and set it's NS records to use the name servers operated by ProviderB, then what is stopping YOU from managing MY domain? How does ProviderB make sure that only I, and not YOU can do this? Is it first-come-first-serve? I just don't get it. Do you have a link to something I can read to really grok this? Thanks! –  Eivind Oct 6 '11 at 8:25
    
Theres nothing stopping anyone from doing this. It just doesn't happen because most people don't just set nameservers at their domain registrar willy-nilly. As long as you add the domain to DNS at ProviderB first, the domain is 'set' to your account and someone else cannot create records for it. –  Chris G. Oct 6 '11 at 12:02
    
Okay, so it's basically a first-come first-served scenario. I had a suspicion of that. Thanks for confirming! –  Eivind Oct 6 '11 at 18:35
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