Rackspace Cloud Essentials - Transferring Your Domain to be Served from Rackspace Cloud


In the previous article you learned how to identify the Rackspace Cloud Nameservers, and that you will have to update them with your current domain registrar in order to transfer an existing domain to be served from your new Cloud Server.  For many of our customers, that is all the information they will need to get going.  For those of you who have never been through this process before we will go into more detail on how DNS works, and how to transfer and test your domain.  Here are the answers to some basic questions about transferring your domain to Rackspace.

 

We are not a Domain Registrar

Rackspace IS a provider of world-class Cloud Hosting services on demand backed by our commitment to Fanatical Support.  What we are NOT is a Domain Registrar like Namecheap, Dreamhost, or GoDaddy.  The only time that Rackspace acts as a Domain Registrar is if you are using our Cloud Sites service.  So in order to host a domain from your Cloud Server, you will need to have already registered it at a domain registrar, and then transfer it to Rackspace.

 

What is a Name Server?

In the Domain Name (DNS) System, the nameserver is part of the process that translates a human readable domain (like rackspace.com) into the corresponding IP address. This information is reported up a hierarchical chain of nameservers that store the mappings in a directory. When you are requesting to load a website by entering the domain name into the address bar of your browser, this high level directory is queried and responds with the next server down the chain that knows where to find the IP address matching the domain name you requested. Now that you want your domain to be hosted on a Rackspace Cloud Server, you will need to update the nameservers so that the DNS system knows where to locate the new IP address that is serving your domain.

 

What are Rackspace's Name Servers?

For Rackspace Cloud services, the nameservers you need to use are:

dns1.stabletransit.comdns2.stabletransit.com 

 

If you are also using our dedicated hosting services, you may have been previously instructed to use the following nameservers:

ns.rackspace.comns2.rackspace.com

 

Please continue to use these Name Servers for your dedicated services, but you will use the 'stabletransit' Name Servers above for any domain hosted from a Rackspace Cloud Server.

 

 

How Do I Transfer the Domain?

When you first register a domain, you are usually assigned the nameservers belonging to the domain registrar, unless you specify otherwise.  First you will need to log into your account with your Domain Registrar and locate the section where the Name Servers are stored.  Next you will change those to dns1.stabletransit.com and dns2.stablestransit.com to initiate the transfer of the domain.  Some registrars require a few extra steps in order to unlock the domain, but this will vary on a case-by-case basis.

 

Your next step, if you haven't already done so, is to create corresponding DNS records for your domain in the Rackspace Cloud Control Panel.  You can follow the instructions in the next article to learn how to create DNS records through the ControlPanel.

 

 

How Long Does DNS Propagation Take?

DNS propagation is the time it takes for the updated information that you provided to your registrar (the new name servers for your domain) to be communicated through the hierarchical DNS system. In general, DNS propagation of new name server information should take no longer than 24 - 48 hours.

 

 

How Do I Know My Domain is Set Up Correctly?

There are a number of ways you can test your DNS.  You can use the 'dig' command from a Linux machine to view the DNS records associated with your domain.  This will also confirm for you that DNS propagation has completed.  There are also several websites with a browser interface that will allow you to run the 'dig' command against your domain.

 

Once DNS propagation has completed and you can read the A records pointing to your Cloud Server through 'dig', you can test the functionality of your website through a browser like any of your other site visitors.  If you are still unable to view your website, the most likely culprit would be a misconfiguration of your firewall settings or of your web applications.  To learn more about opening ports on your Cloud Server to allow normal HTTP traffic on port 80, you can read our guide on basic firewall configuration.  

 

The level of support we provide for Managed Infrastructure Cloud Servers encompasses the server hardware, the datacenter environment, and the Internet connectivity to your server.  We do not support the configuration of applications on your server, including OS-level configurations.  If you have verified that DNS and your firewall are correctly configured and your site is still inaccessible, you will need to take a closer look at the configuration of your web applications.  Next, let's move on to the guide on Creating DNS Records in the Control Panel.



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