Setting your domain to 'DNS Only' (legacy)

The following describes how to make changes using the legacy Hosted Domains page in the panel. DreamHost recommends instead using the Manage Websites page to make adjustments to your DNS settings.

See the following article for more information:


This article explains how to remove the default DreamHost DNS-hosting records for your domain.

When your domain is Fully Hosted, it has several DreamHost IP addresses (A records) assigned to it that control where the site is hosted. If your site's nameservers are pointing to DreamHost and your site is 'Fully Hosted', your site is hosted on DreamHost's servers.

If your site's nameservers are pointing to DreamHost but you do NOT want to host the site at DreamHost, you must remove hosting which removes these IP addresses. Setting the site to 'DNS only' removes hosting and your site's A records. You are then able to add custom DNS records to point your site to another hosting company.

This only works with the primary domain name such as This does NOT work with subdomains like For subdomains, you must add custom DNS records to the primary domain as explained below.

Adding a new domain as 'DNS Only'

  1. Open the Hosted Domains page.
  2. Click the Add Hosting to a Domain / Sub-Domain link.
  3. When the next page opens, scroll down to DNS Only.
  4. Enter the domain you wish to set as 'DNS Only' and click the Host DNS only! button.

Changing a hosted domain to 'DNS Only'

  1. Navigate to the Hosted Domains page.
  2. To the right of the domain under the Web Hosting column, click the Remove link.

    If the domain is set as a Mirror, you will see a Deactivate mirror link instead.

    If the domain is set as a Redirect, you will see a Deactivate redirect link instead.

This sets the domain to 'DNS only' (if you do not have an SSL certificate enabled on the domain).

If you have an SSL certificate enabled on the domain, the Hosted Domains page just shows 'dns' to the right of your domain when it should say 'DNS Only'. This is due to the active SSL certificate.

You must delete the SSL certificate from the domain in order for all DNS records to be removed and to set the domain as 'DNS Only'. View the following section for instructions.

Remove secure hosting

If you have added an SSL certificate to your domain, you must delete it in order for your DNS records to be removed.

  1. Navigate to the Hosted Domains page.
  2. To the right of the domain you can see HTTPS Secure. Click this link.
  3. You're taken to the secure hosting page for this domain. On that page, click the button Remove certificate.
  4. Navigate back to the Hosted Domains page.
  5. To the right of your domain it now reads 'DNS Only'.

What DNS records are removed?

When you set a domain to 'DNS only', you remove the following DNS A records:

  • non-www A record
  • www A record
  • ssh A record
  • ftp A record

Below are a few things to note regarding these changes:

  • Do not press the Delete button for the domain through the Hosted Domains page. This removes the domain from the account along with the contents that were previously hosted under it.
  • Setting the domain to 'DNS Only' does not delete hosted files (except on DreamPress plans) nor does it remove any Custom DNS records you've previously set up. You can click the Edit button to set the domain as ‘Fully Hosted’. This recreates your DNS records for the domain.
  • Keep in mind that this only affects your web hosting service and leaves other things services like email intact (this assumes you already have an active hosting plan on your account). If you have removed your hosting plan but want to continue hosting email with DreamHost, you can purchase a Paid email plan.

Additionally these changes are only possible for the primary domain – subdomains cannot be set to DNS Only.

If this is your only domain on your account and you're setting it to DNS only, you do NOT need a hosting plan. A hosting plan is only necessary if you wish to host a domain and its content on DreamHost servers.

What to do after the DNS records are removed?

After the domain is set to 'DNS Only', you can add custom DNS records to point your site wherever you like.

See also

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