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Background:

I currently host my public-facing website on GoDaddy servers. I am developing the server backend of a mobile application.

The business logic and database are hosted on separate instances of Google Compute Engine (GCE). Each combination of the business logic and database will be set up as separate dev, QA, staging, and production instances.

I purchased an SSL certificate from GoDaddy.

Question(s):

I want to use the SSL for our public website host (GoDaddy) and the various environments hosts (Google Compute Engine).

How should we go about doing this?

I have the IP addresses of all the Google Compute Engine instances.

Should I modify the domain's name server or the A record, or both?

Should I use sub-domains like dev.example.com, dev-db.example.com, qa.example.com, qa-db.example.com, and www.example.com (for the public website)?

Very confused and unable to find reliable information online. Thank you in advance for your help!

  • Was the SSL certificate from GoDaddy a wildcard one, or for a particular domain? That will determine whether you have to use a certain domain or not (or whether you will need to buy more certs for the other domains). As for settting it up on GCE, have you tried the docs at cloud.google.com/compute/docs/load-balancing/http/…? – Tim Malone Apr 29 '16 at 11:38
  • @TimMalone Thank you for the comment. The certificate is a UCC SSL limited to 5 domain names. Yes, I have read the docs for GCE. What I am unsure of is whether I need to modify the A-records or name servers on the domain management console in GoDaddy. (I want the website to remain on GoDaddy servers, while the application runs on GCE.) – P. Hair Apr 29 '16 at 14:30
  • I'm a bit confused, so your question isn't actually about the SSL certificates? If you don't want to refer to the GCE instances by IP in your application then yes, you'll need to set A records to refer to them - just don't set the one of your main domain that you want to keep at GoDaddy. Aside from that I'm not sure I understand the question; you might want to edit it and remove all mention of SSL certs if it's just about DNS. – Tim Malone Apr 30 '16 at 7:18
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To host a domain on multiple servers you can point the subdomains to the various servers. To point your subdomains at various servers you need to modify the A records in DNS:

  • @ - 192.0.2.123
  • www - 192.0.2.123
  • dev - 192.0.2.4
  • qa - 192.0.2.8
  • ...

NS records are for specifying your DNS host. You set those at your domain name registrar when you want to change the company that handling your DNS server. Almost all hosting companies offer to host your DNS for you along with your website. Your domain name register may also offer to host your DNS themselves. Since you have multiple hosting companies, it is likely they all have instructions to point the NS records to them. You need to choose one, point the NS records to them and set A records or CNAME records for all the subdomains.

If you have a subject alternative name (SAN) SSL cert that covers your specific subdomains, you can upload the same certificate to all your servers. You could do the same thing with a wildcard certificate that covers all subdomains. Another alternative for SSL would be to obtain separate certificates for each subdomain and upload them to the appropriate servers individually.

The other way to handle hosting on multiple servers it to run a reverse proxy on your main server that fetches and re-serves content from your other servers. If you want to use subdirectories rather than subdomains, this is the only way to use multiple servers. Almost all popular web servers such as Apache and Nginx can be configured to reverse proxy content in certain directories.

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