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I'm planning to launch a small personal website soon, hosted on a VPS.

I have some experience with local DNS server (bind9) configuration, but I've never configured a public domain.

How does the management of a domain look like if I buy the domain from a company like namescheap or OVH? Do I get to edit my personal configuration file, which reflects my domain and sub-domains? Or can I only configure an IP for my domain?

Let's say I have the domain site.mock, can I configure sub-domains freely, like www.site.mock and faq.site.mock?

I also saw that I can choose the DNS server (e.g. for OVH), between their DNS server and a specific one, given the Name and IP address of the DNS server.

Could I theoretically set up my VPS, which hosts my website, set up a bind9 and then buy the domain and set the name server to the VPS?

In summary, how does one typically manage DNS entries when buying a domain from a company like GoDaddy, NameCheap or OVH?

And could the DNS server be set to a server's IP address, which's hostname isn't mentioned in any other DNS server yet?

  • You need two DNS servers for your domain. Unless you have two servers to use, you should purchase DNS hosting. Even high quality DNS hosting is very cheap. I wouldn't pay more than $20/year. It may even come free with your domain registrar, or with your web host. – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 12 '16 at 16:34
  • That kind of contradicts with what @Rob wrote. You say I can't define the VPS's IP address as the DNS server for the domain I'm about to purchase, if the domain then directs to the VPS again? – boolean.is.null Nov 12 '16 at 17:13
  • Rob is suggesting that you use the DNS servers provided by the registrar. In my experience many registrars off the service for free, but I've used some that do not. All registrars allow you to the the NS (name server) records for your domain name. The NS records specify what DNS servers to use and then that name server in turn specifies the IP address of the website (as well as subdomains). – Stephen Ostermiller Nov 12 '16 at 19:16
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When you buy a domain name, you are given access to the registrar's tools to set which IP address your domain name should point to. You can also use the registrar's name servers or have them point to another, including your own.

I can't think of a reason why, or how, a VPS could/would prevent you from running your own name server or bind but I see all kinds of strange things by bad hosts. It's best just to ask them if you're allowed to do what you want.

  • So when buying the domain, I can simply specify the VPS's IP as the domain server, which runs bind9 (or any other DNS server service)? This means I have the overhead of managing another service, but have the freedom to configure it however I want, right? thanks for the answer! – boolean.is.null Nov 12 '16 at 17:11
  • If you use the VPS's name server, you can set IP addresses and records but probably not control bind. If you use your VPS account as a nameserver, then you can run bind yourself and your own nameserver...I presume. I don't know if a VPS would not allow this cause I have not had a reason to try it. Note that you need two IP addresses to run a namserver. – Rob Nov 12 '16 at 17:15
  • How come I need two IP addresses in this scenario? – boolean.is.null Nov 12 '16 at 17:23
  • It's a requirement of the standard. One is a backup. It works without two, iirc. – Rob Nov 12 '16 at 18:13

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