I transferred several active domains to 1&1 (ionos.com) which are hosted on 3rd party servers. To make the transfer as smooth as possible I kept the original name severs for the transfer.

Now I want to change to 1&1 name servers but I want to keep all the existing DNS settings for the moment. I did not see any “import DNS settings” button and the 1&1 support told me there is no such button.

To get the job done I opened the form with the DNS settings for one of my domains. There was a list of settings as expected. There was also information that the shown settings are not active because the 1&1 name server is not active for that domain. I also expected that one.

Then I changed the setting manually to what I wanted. Basically I looked up the DNS settings on the old server and typed them in manually in that form. That was possible.

Then, as the last step, I reset the name servers to the 1&1 name servers. That worked instantly. But 1&1 reset most of my DNS settings to their default. So I had to delete many settings, add new settings and edit some of the existing settings. This obviously took time. And in that time the 1&1 name servers would have provided the wrong (1&1 default settings) to any computer which requested these settings.

I would think there must be an easier way to do this. But how?

If possible I don’t want to manually type in all the details. The DNS records are available online and 1&1 could easily get them on the internet. I don’t want that settings which I input are reset. My idea was that I input all DNS records before I switch to the 1&1 name servers to make sure any request would be answered with the correct information. But this seems to be impossible because most DNS settings were reset when I changed the name servers to 1&1.

What’s the professional way to transfer all DNS settings from an external name server to 1&1 name servers?

  • "I would think there must be an easier way to do this. But how?" There is, but based on your provider replies ( "support told me there is no such button", "reset most of my DNS settings to their default"), it seems they are doing things not aligned with your needs, and will probably not change for you, so you might need to shop around (or convince them to give you exactly the service you need, trying to go around their rules will never give you the experience you need). Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 16:03
  • @PatrickMevzek: Sometimes other users know more than the support, this is why I asked here. I selected 1&1 because it is very well integrated with Microsoft Office 365. Luckily I have to do the transfer only once. It's annoying but I guess I have to accept that some things are good and others not so good. The MS integration is a big plus from my point of view.
    – Edgar
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 8:51

1 Answer 1


I'm not familiar with your specific DNS vendor, but historically, all DNS settings were kept in a "zone file". DNS server replication was based on transferring these files between DNS servers (and maybe still is). With graphical user interfaces, most users never see the actual file anymore and some DNS servers may store their data in databases. However, you might look for your zone files, and see what needs to be edited, then copying them over to your new DNS servers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_file for more information.

  • Your idea is good and I can see this file at my old provider. But unfortunately my new provider (1&1) has no import function for the file. Editing the file is possible but the user must be very careful, every character must be correct.
    – Edgar
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 8:48

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