Which comes first? DNS or nameservers?

Its just I'm editing a domain and want to point it to different hosting servers. Now, normally I'd just set the nameservers to the new hosting nameservers, but this doesn't seem to be working (the control panels not brilliant - doesn't say "accepted" or "success" - and whois searches are turning up nothing - although I should leave it a while longer).

Anyway - the point is, in the DNS records there are two A records (one for " " and one for "www") which have an ip address associated with them.

So this is what I don't understand. If I change the nameservers, do I have to remove the DNS records? Will name servers "overwrite" a DNS record? Or vice versa?

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


Nameservers comes first. The browser asks who knows about domain.com and the answer comes back with the nameservers that the domain is configured with (via the registrar). Then those nameservers are asked about DNS information for domain.com and www.domain.com and they return the IP.

So if it's not working then the problem is with the DNS records for the new hosting nameservers. Or else it just needs time for the change in nameservers to propagate.

  • Cool. Thanks for the clear answer. I'm guessing to use the DNS settings in the control panel for the domain you'd have to set the domain's nameservers to be that of the registrar (in effect). I understand. Thank you. Commented Jul 1, 2011 at 15:41
  • Only if the registrar is also the host. Are you changing the DNS settings on the hosting control panel? Commented Jul 1, 2011 at 15:48
  • Nooo. We have a dedicated hosting server with our own nameservers. Normally what we do is buy a domain name and set the nameservers to point to our dedicated server's dns. However, this time the client already has a domain name and hosting. So we want to point the domain name at our server. So I've changed the nameservers to ns1.ourdomain.com and ns2.ourdomain.com, as per every other domain. Just wanted to know if I had to "reset" the DNS through the domain control panel or not. Judging by your answer the answer is NO. Commented Jul 1, 2011 at 16:19
  • 1
    Because (let me see if I've got it right). The DNS settings in the DOMAIN CONTROL PANEL only apply if the nameservers are set to the REGISTRAR. If I change the nameservers to our nameservers then a DNS lookup goes to our nameservers and OUR DNS settings, and never sees those in the domain control panel. :) Commented Jul 1, 2011 at 16:20
  • Not sure we're on the same wavelength. Back to your previous comment, when you say "changed the nameservers" did you do that on the registrar? Commented Jul 1, 2011 at 16:23

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