Your domain's nameservers control where all of the DNS records used by your domain are managed. If you set your domain to use DreamHost's nameservers, your domain will automatically use the DNS records configured in your DreamHost panel.
A benefit to keeping the nameservers for your site pointed to DreamHost is that if the DreamHost DNS changes for any reason, your website will automatically be updated to use the new DNS information. For example, if your site is ever moved to another server, the domain will automatically resolve to the new server IP. Whereas, if you had your nameservers pointing elsewhere and your site hosted at DreamHost, you’d have to update the domain’s A records to point to the new server’s IP.
Keep in mind that nameservers control DNS information, including those for your website and email. Changing what nameservers your domain uses may change all of the domain's services (website, email, and so on) to point to a new location or host.
Before you change the nameservers, make sure that all of the DNS records you want your domain to continue using are already set up with the new DNS provider. This way, once the DNS resolves for the new external nameservers, the services will function right away. But remember that the propagation time of nameservers can take 4 to 72 hours before they resolve to the new host company.
Nameserver DNS propagation
- Nameserver changes can take anywhere from 4-72 hours for the modification to completely propagate, so your domain isn't going to route to the new nameservers right away.
- When setting the new nameservers with the registrar, it can take up to an hour for the WHOIS modification to be processed.
- You should see the WHOIS reflect the new nameservers for the domain within the hour, but the domain will still require time for the DNS to resolve to the new IP’s under the new nameservers set.
Nameservers are assigned to your primary domain name only. For example, 'example.com'. Subdomains are DNS records under your primary domain name, so they do not have nameservers of their own. You only set nameservers for the primary domain name.
What are DreamHost's nameservers?
The nameservers for all of the domains managed by DreamHost, including ‘dreamhost.com’, are set up using the following:
- ns1.dreamhost.com 126.96.36.199
- ns2.dreamhost.com 188.8.131.52
- ns3.dreamhost.com 184.108.40.206
If you're updating your nameservers at your registrar, you should only have to add the nameserver URL, not the IP. The IPs are listed above just in case your registrar asks for them.
If your domain is registered with DreamHost, the panel will show the option of setting these DreamHost nameservers without needing to enter the information above.
If your domain is registered elsewhere, the change to your nameservers will have to be done with the current registrar of that domain name. The details above can be set with the current registrar to point the DNS management for your domain to DreamHost. This way, DreamHost can manage the DNS settings for you through the (Panel > 'Domains' > 'Manage Domains') page in your panel.
It's recommended that you point your nameservers to DreamHost. This makes the management of your DNS simpler as all records can be found within your DreamHost account.