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I'm setting up a new site, and my host uses a Cpanel alternative that only allows me to add A and CNAME records.

I need to add TXT records as well, for SPF settings and such.

I know I can do this with a reverse proxy like Cloudflare, but I don't need a reverse proxy necessarily.

Is there a way I can set up my DNS entries some way that doesn't involve my host or Cloudflare?

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Most websites need the following services:

  • Domain registrar
  • DNS host
  • Web host
  • Mail host

While many hosting companies package those together for convenience, all four of those can be separate companies:

  • At your domain registrar, your NS records point to your DNS host.
  • At your DNS host, your A and CNAME records point to your web host.
  • At your DNS host, your MX records point to your email host.

So if you want to use DNS services from any other company do the following:

  1. Sign up for service at a new DNS host
  2. Replicate your A, CNAME, MX, and TXT records from your old DNS at the new host.
  3. At your DNS registrar, change your NS records to the values that your new DNS host gives you.
  4. Don't delete any records from your old DNS host for at least a few days.

There should be no disruption to your website during this process.

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I know I can do this with a reverse proxy like Cloudflare, but I don't need a reverse proxy necessarily.

It would be the DNS service that Cloudflare provides that would allow you to do this, not the "reverse proxy".

You can use any 3rd party DNS provider to do what you require (providing they have the necessary flexibility in their control panel).

Although if you use a 3rd party DNS provider, as opposed to your webhost's DNS services, then you must do everything yourself. Your host will configure many records for you to ensure your website/email works without you having to do anything. For example, if the IP address of your server changes then your webhost will usually handle these changes for you - ensuring no downtime.

To use an alternative DNS provider, you need to change the NS (NAMESERVER) records at your domain registrar, to point to the new DNS provider. And then manually create the necessary A and CNAME records at the new DNS provider to point back to your webhosts server. Together with MX records for email etc.

Note that when you change NS records (in fact, changing anything with regards to DNS), it can take time for these changes to propagate around the internet. For this reason it is often advisable to reduce the TTL (time-to-live) value on the DNS record some time before you change it and change it back once the value has propagated.

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