Setting your domain to 'DNS Only'

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 'example.com'. This does NOT work with subdomains like 'blog.example.com'. For subdomains, you must add custom DNS records to the primary domain as explained below.

  1. Navigate to the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’) page.
    dns_only_panel.png
  2. To the right of the domain under the 'Web Hosting' column, click the Remove button. 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 'Manage 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 (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’) page.
  2. To the right of the domain you can see 'https On'. Click this link.
  3. You're taken to the secure hosting page for this domain. On that page, click the button 'Remove https for example.com'.
  4. Navigate back to the (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage Domains’) page.
  5. To the right of your domain it now reads 'DNS Only'. You can also click the 'DNS' link under your domain to confirm the records have been removed.

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 (Panel > ‘Domains’ > ‘Manage 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 your hosted files. 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). Email is not available with DreamHost unless your account has an active hosting 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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Article last updated .