DreamHost DNS overview

If you find yourself in a situation that requires changes to your site, and your developer isn't available to help, DreamHost's skilled support team may be able to assist you for a small fee. You can find more information about supported services and associated costs in the DreamHost Professional Services article.


DNS, or Domain Name System, is a directory of names and numbers that are looked up and used to identify where a website and its services are hosted. For example, your website has a specific name, but DNS translates this into a number. When you visit your site in a browser, DNS uses this number value to point to the correct server where you website is hosted.

Your site has a variety of DNS records for the multiple services it uses. For example:

  • website IP addresses
  • mail records
  • mysql records
  • ftp records

Where are my DNS records controlled?

All of your site's DNS records are controlled at the company where your site's Nameservers are pointed. This is a combination of two things.

  • The Registrar: The company where your domain is registered
  • The Hosting Company: The company your nameservers are pointing to 

The Registrar

The domain registration is the ownership of the name of your website. The company you purchased this from is the Registrar.

Your domain's DNS records are controlled at the registrar company. You must log into your account at this company to point your DNS records to a hosting company. In this way, you can have the domain registered at one company, but host its DNS at another company.

The Hosting Company

A hosting company displays your website on the internet.

If you registered the domain at a different company, you must point the nameservers to the hosting company. The hosting company then uses these DNS records to display your site online.

As shown above,  the Hosting company could also be the domain Registrar. This is only true for some hosting companies like DreamHost. Not all hosting companies are able to register a domain for you.

Where is my site hosted?

View the following article for information on how to determine where your site is currently hosted.

Where do I point my site if my DNS is not hosted at DreamHost?

View the following article for information on how to locate your DreamHost DNS records.

Viewing your DreamHost DNS records

View the following article for information on how to view your DreamHost DNS settings.

These are the records for your site if your Nameservers are pointed to DreamHost.

If your Nameservers are not pointed to DreamHost, these are the individual records you can point to from the company where your Nameservers are pointed.

Using a domain managed by a third-party registrar

You can still host your domain at DreamHost if it's registered at a different company. However, you will need to point your DNS to DreamHost in order for it to function. View the following article for information on how to adjust your DNS to point to DreamHost after setting up your domain in the panel.

Customizing DNS records

You can have your domain’s Nameservers pointing to DreamHost while still pointing its individual records to another web host so that the site is being hosted elsewhere. You can also create custom DNS entries on the ‘DNS’ page for your domain. View the following article for more information on creating Custom DNS records.

DreamHost DNS-hosting records

When viewing your DreamHost DNS records, you may notice many of them are set as DreamHost DNS-hosting records. You can remove these by setting your domain to 'DNS Only'. View the following article for further details.

MX records (mail records)

For information on MX mail records at DreamHost, view the following article:

See also

Below are some helpful links to outside sources that provide you with further details on various topics discussed on this page. The ‘Tool for looking up DNS records’ page is especially helpful in looking up your domain’s DNS records.

DreamHost links

Third-party links

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