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My company's domain name (a .com) was registered with Demon Internet years ago. I use their nameservers so they provide my DNS. If I ever want to change a DNS record I have to email them and hope they do it correctly - there is no control panel.

I want to get full control over my domain name by transferring it to another registrar and using their nameservers so I can manage my own DNS records. I naturally want to avoid, or at least minimise downtime when it all transfers.

The DNS records point to third party IP addresses for website and email etc.... i.e. Demon only hold my domain registration and DNS records. The DNS records themselves are not going to change - I simply want to gain control of them.

As I see it at the moment, the way to do it is as follows:

  • Obtain a list of all DNS records from Demon for the domain
  • Perform a domain transfer
  • Once transferred, change the nameservers to those of the new domain registrar
  • Re-create the same DNS records on the new registrar's control panel

As the DNS records themselves are not going to change, merely the place where they are stored....can I avoid downtime if I do the above?

I don't want to use a provider other than my domain registrar for DNS... and the new registrar I want to use cannot provide DNS until the domain is transferred.

Thanks.

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You're on the right track, you should be able to avoid downtime all together - DNS management without a control panel, sounds like a nightmare!

When you say 'domain transfer' I'm assuming you're talking about moving the domain from one registrar to another. In theory it doesn't matter if this is done before or after the name servers are re-delegated - this shouldn't affect your process unless your new registrar is also your DNS provider and requires you to have the domain with them in order to have DNS services managed by them.

Here's how I would do it:

  1. Get a copy of a all DNS records from current provider
  2. Create said DNS records on new provider.
  3. Test all the DNS records - you can do this by editing your machines hosts file (sudo nano /etc/hosts* on OS X) and pointing it to the new server, these tests will obviously only work on your machine but should give you enough certainty to proceed. For reference, a hosts entry would look like this: (127.0.0.1 mydomain.com)

    After doing this, you should be able to ping your domain name to verify it's going to where you've pointed it to in your hosts file, you can also test DNS records in your browser.

    Be sure to remove the entry you added from your hosts file, after you've verified your DNS records on the new provider are working correctly - otherwise you'll be getting false results on the next step.
  4. Re-delegate name servers to new provider, depending on the domain registry this can take some time, I find .com.au domains can be resolving to the new name servers in a few hours, but .com's can take up to 7 days. The general rule is 24-48 hours for resolution.

    After a period of time has passed (varies depending on registry, etc) you can check and see if your domain is resolving to your new server - you'll usually need to clear your computers DNS cache, and sometimes browser cache to see the changes. On a mac, open up terminal and type dscacheutil -flushcache - this will flush your DNS cache. You can thing ping the domain and see if it's resolving, if not, repeat process with added time waiting for resolution.

    If you have previously accessed the page in a browser, you will need to clear your browser cache to see the change as well as clearing your O/S DNS cache. Keep in mind, just because it's resolving for you, does not mean it's resolving everywhere - so try and keep both services active for a significant period of time to take care of any stragglers.
  5. After the DNS is re-delegated and everything is working nicely, transfer the domain to the new registrar, this should not affect your DNS at all. This step could be done here, or at step 2 - depending on your new providers setup.
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With DNS, you can avoid most downtime; as long as you plan it correctly. You just need to do the following:

  1. Copy all the DNS information from Denon to your new DNS servers (all your CNAME, MX, A, PTR... records.)
  2. Test that these new DNS servers are working correctly (perform manual nslookup requests)
  3. Tell Denon to change your DNS info to your new DNS servers, and let it propagate for a while.
  4. Perform the domain transfer.

Since it's either Denon telling a requester that your DNS servers are somewhere else, or your new Registrar, you're always pointing to the right servers. Even, if a machine's DNS info is so outdated, it will worse case, still point to the correct IP's just provided by a different DNS server.

They'll, if you follow the steps right, always point people in the right direction, whoever answers.

  • Hi thanks for your answer. The problem is I can't setup new DNS until after the domain has transferred - I want to use my new domain registrar as the DNS server but they can't do anything until after they have received the domain. – Slowcoach Jul 13 '15 at 11:14
  • That's weird. You could set up the domain already (and pay), you'll just be running a copy of the DNS zone file - without any traffic coming at it. Many DNS providers allow you to setup any domain without transferring the domain... as long as you pay. :-) – ndrix Jul 13 '15 at 12:02
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This is how I would solve this problem:

1) Obtain a list of all DNS records from Demon for the domain

2) Re-create the same DNS records on the new registrar's control panel

3) Change domain DNS to match the new name servers

When the DNS settings will be changed, it sould work instantly if the new name servers settings are good.

  • Hi thanks for your answer. This is what I was thinking. Any idea what would happen if the old registrar deleted the DNS records before I had a chance to recreate the DNS records on the new registrar? – Slowcoach Jul 13 '15 at 11:52
  • I know a tool that might help you on this one. Take a look at: intodns.com .Enter here your domain and you'll see all the DNS information. Hope I helped. – Pascut Jul 13 '15 at 12:35

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