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Do you know how we can find out the IP address of our website? Our web host is Dreamhost and our Domain is with PlanetDomain, we need PlanetDomain to create a Record with that IP address so people can access our website.

Some important information:

  • We use shared hosting on Dreamhost. I am aware this means we share both a server with other clients and maybe also IP addresses or have a dynamic IP address? Maybe we can still obtain our IP address or send some other information to PlanetDomain?

Why dont we give PlanetDomain Dreamhost's name servers instead of the IP Address?
Because we have a unique setup for our emails that aren't stored/controled by the web host. They are separate, so if we change the name servers it will break our emails.

Why dont we just move our emails over to Dreamhost?
Honestly the boss doesn't want to do it. He thinks its too much work. He's not a technical person and I am not educated in domain, email setups so I dont know if it is really so much work to change.

PS: Does anyone know what the name is for the setup we have? The setup being that the emails are not stored/controlled through the web host but are separate?

  • If you are a customer of Dreamhost why not ask them? Or are they just hiding it from you for some reason? – JakeGould May 9 '14 at 2:57
  • Your e-mail should be using a MX record which can point to a separate IP address from the website. Having said that, you can enter an MX record via your host DNS to where your e-mail is hosted and then simply use your hosts DNS servers as normal. – closetnoc May 9 '14 at 3:02
  • @JakeGould: Both Chat Help for dreamhost is down for 24hrs and they take upwards of 30mins to just say 'How can I help you' – Mack May 9 '14 at 3:03
  • @closetnoc Thanks that info is very helpful :D From your experience would changing/moving? the email to the host from where it is involve much work/pain? – Mack May 9 '14 at 3:05
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    Not generally. But if you do not want to muddy up the waters, then I would hesitate. E-mail can be a pain in the keester if you have to configure it yourself like I do. If you have a control panel and tech support, then it should be much easier. It would be something I would look into and plan. You should be able to set it up and test before changing any MX record. Remember to send and e-mail and then reply to it. The round trip should be a good enough test. It can also depend upon the client too. Ask a friend to help. You may want to do a little research before jumping in. – closetnoc May 9 '14 at 3:24
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If you have hosting with Dreamhost they should provide the IP address. Generally, because it is easier, they would set up their own name servers to resolve your IP address. Sometimes people do want control over DNS so they use name servers other than the default ones provided by the hosting company. This does not hurt so long as you can set your own name servers, which is done through your domain registrar.

If you know the hosting company's name servers, you can find the IP address by performing a query against their (Dreamhost's name servers).

Using a Name server query tool you can specify a non-default DNS name server. For example if the dreamhost name server is: ns1.dreamhost.com

Linux:
dig @ns1.dreamhost.com www.mywebsite.com

Windows:
nslookup www.mywebsite.com ns1.dreamhost.com

You will need to check the hosting company's information to find out what name servers they configured with your address information. This information is typically available in the web host's control panel, and is specified for each domain you host with them (may differ from domain to domain even if they are on the same phsyical system!)

For the record: If you want to know what name servers are currently being used to resolve your IP address, you can use:
dig -t ns www.mywebsite.com

This however will not tell you the dreamhost name servers' addresses, it will tell you what name servers are actually specified by the domain registrar as the ones that serve your domain. Those are the ones that you need to update with the correct IP address for your web site.

The web site will be served by an A and/or CNAME record, which resolves the web host IP address. Mail delivery is served by an MX record, which resolves the mail service server address.

P.S I've never heard of a name for a setup where your Mail and Hosting is not part of a single service offering. There is nothing strange about it though - for example using Google Services for email (on your own domain) while hosting the website on any arbitrary web hosting provider's service is perfectly normal. You're just not using the free, sub-standard bundled email service provided by the web hosting company. I'll call it "web hosting with liberated email"

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    There is one thing to be aware of. The web host can potentially change the IP address of your web server. If that happens you will have to manually update your name servers with the new address details. Depending on the web host, this may happen never, once every few years, once every few weeks, or only when their server crash. If zero downtime is important, this is something to consider because when the IP address change your site will be unavailable until you update the name servers. – Johan May 9 '14 at 8:50
  • Actually, as a previous web host myself, this should never happen. Even with dynamic IP addresses, this should be tied to the DNS server to handle things automatically. I do not like leasing IP addresses, but it is extremely trivial to manage this dynamically and seamlessly. If your web host does not do this, it is time to look for a new host. – closetnoc May 9 '14 at 15:01
  • @closetnoc You will notice that the situation described involves a separate DNS provider from the web host. In such a situation the web host will not be able to update the 3rd party DNS and probably not even be aware that another DNS service is being used. – Johan May 12 '14 at 10:53
  • With respect, I am not sure what you read but I think you missed what I said. I did not miss the fact that there were two DNS servers. This is not an uncommon situation. In fact, it is quite common and often handled without issue. – closetnoc May 12 '14 at 16:26
  • @closetnoc Not Separate DNS server, Separate DNS SERVICE PROVIDER. The DNS service is provided by a 3rd party. Unless there is collaboration between the hosting service provider and the SND service provider, the hosting provider CANNOT update the DNS. – Johan May 14 '14 at 7:52

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