Domains

A domain name is a unique and human-readable label, like google.com or bbc.co.uk. Your browser and other software tools can use that label to find a specific computer on the Internet. Configured correctly, a domain name under your control can be pointed to WebFaction’s servers.

Getting a Domain Name

Domain names are managed by registrars. You can purchase a domain name through a registrar; the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) maintains a list of accredited registrars. You may already own a domain purchased through a registrar, reseller, or previous web host. If you don’t already own a domain name or you would like to purchase additional domain names, purchase one through a registrar or reseller. At this time, WebFaction is not a registrar and does not sell domains.

Pointing Your Domain to WebFaction’s Servers

Once you have a domain name, use your domain registrar’s website to point your domain name to WebFaction’s domain name servers:

Name Server IP Address
ns1.webfaction.com 108.168.213.81
ns2.webfaction.com 178.79.142.142
ns3.webfaction.com 198.101.157.188
ns4.webfaction.com 173.230.141.144

Your domain name registrar may not require all four domain name servers; enter as many as your domain registrar supports.

Note

After you configure your registrar to point your domain name to WebFaction’s servers, it may take up to 48 hours for all requests to your domain to correctly resolve to WebFaction’s servers. The wait is often referred to as propagation. The delay is the result of caching, which is used heavily in the domain name system.

Just pointing your domains to WebFaction’s name servers isn’t enough to get a working site, however. See Adding a Domain to the Control Panel to get started using your domain with your WebFaction account.

Using Your Own Name Server

Optionally, you can use your own or third-party domain name servers instead of WebFaction’s name servers. Please use your registrar’s website to configure your domain’s name servers.

Once you have configured your registrar to use your preferred domain name server, set up A records to map domain names to the IP address of your web server.

To find the IP address of the web server for a WebFaction-hosted website record with the control panel:

  1. Log in to the control panel.
  2. Click Domains / websites ‣ Websites. The > Home > Sites page loads.
  3. Find the relevant website record in the list. The IP address is in the Ip column.

If you would like WebFaction’s mail servers to handle your mail, you must configure mail exchanger (MX) records which point to each of WebFaction MX servers with equal priority:

MX Servers
mx7.webfaction.com
mx8.webfaction.com
mx9.webfaction.com

Adding a Domain to the Control Panel

Once you have pointed your domain to WebFaction’s servers, you are ready to add your domain to the control panel. To add the domain with the control panel:

  1. Log in to the control panel.

  2. Click Domains / websites ‣ Domains. The list of domains for your account appears.

  3. Click the Add new domain button. The Domain names to add field appears.

    _images/domain_add.png
  4. In the Domain names to add field, enter one or more domain names (including the TLD) separated by spaces or newlines (e.g. example.com or example.com www.example.com).

    Note

    If you’re adding a domain name that contains unicode characters, you must enter the domain name in Punycode. Punycode is a way of expressing unicode domain names using only ASCII characters. To simplify entering unicode domains, you may want to use a third-party Punycode converter such as:

  5. Click the Save button. The domain names are added to the list of domain names and a confirmation message appears.

Note

If you are using your own name server, create A records to point your subdomains at your WebFaction server’s IP address.

Managing DNS Records with the Control Panel

DNS, or Domain Name System, is the system that translates domain names (like example.com) to a server’s IP address (like 192.0.43.10). If a domain is pointing to WebFaction’s name servers and added to the control panel, WebFaction servers will handle internet traffic directed to that domain. To use a domain with WebFaction websites and applications, special DNS configuration is not required. Changing DNS settings may be useful, however, for configuring a domain’s traffic to use external services.

The WebFaction control panel can make several common DNS changes, including:

  • A records, to use a domain with a third-party server
  • CNAME records, to alias one domain to another
  • MX records, to specify a domain’s mail provider
  • SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records, to reduce some kinds of spam
  • SRV records, to specify the hostname and port of a service
  • TXT records, to specify other services associated with a domain

Note

Some DNS changes may take up to 48 hours to take effect, as the changes propagate through the entire Domain Name System.

Configuring A Records

To configure a domain to use a third-party server to handle traffic:

  1. Log in to the WebFaction control panel.

  2. Click Domains / websites ‣ Domains. The list of domains appears.

    Note

    If you have not done so already, add the domain to your account.

  3. Click on the domain name to reconfigure. The domain’s settings appear.

  4. In the Hosting section, click to select External.

  5. For each third-party server:

    1. Click Add IP address. A new field appears.
    2. In the field, enter the IP address of the third-party server.
  6. Click the Save button.

The A records are created. Requests to the domain are directed to the specified IP address.

Configuring CNAME Records

To configure a domain to act as an alias for another domain:

  1. Log in to the WebFaction control panel.

  2. Click Domains / websites ‣ Domains. The list of domains appears.

    Note

    If you have not done so already, add the domain to your account.

  3. Click on the domain name to reconfigure. The domain’s settings appear.

  4. In the Hosting section, click to select CNAME. A new field appears.

  5. In the field, enter a domain name.

  6. Click the Save button.

The CNAME record is created. Requests to the domain are handled by the CNAME domain’s server.

Configuring MX Records

Note

MX records cannot be created for domains with CNAME records.

To specify servers responsible for receiving mail for a domain:

  1. Log in to the WebFaction control panel.

  2. Click Domains / websites ‣ Domains. The list of domains appears.

    Note

    If you have not done so already, add the domain to your account.

  3. Click on the domain name to reconfigure. The domain’s settings appear.

  4. In the Email section, click to select External.

  5. For each mail server:

    1. Click Add Mail Server. Priority and Server fields appear.
    2. In the Priority field, enter an integer priority value. Smaller numbers have higher priority.
    3. In the Server field, enter the mail server’s domain name.
  6. Click the Save button.

The MX records are created. Incoming mail to a domain is received by the named servers in priority order.

Configuring SPF Records

See also

For more information about SPF and spam prevention, see Spam Protection.

To create a Sender Policy Framework record:

  1. Log in to the WebFaction control panel.

  2. Click Domains / websites ‣ Domains. The list of domains appears.

    Note

    If you have not done so already, add the domain to your account.

  3. Click on the domain name to reconfigure. The domain’s settings appear.

  4. In the Other DNS records section, in the Add DNS Record… menu, click to select SPF. A SPF Record field appears.

  5. In the SPF field, enter the SPF value.

  6. Click the Save button.

The SPF record is created. Email recipients that support SPF use the record to determine whether email received from the domain was sent from an authorized server.

Configuring SRV Records

To create a SRV record:

  1. Log in to the WebFaction control panel.

  2. Click Domains / websites ‣ Domains. The list of domains appears.

    Note

    If you have not done so already, add the domain to your account.

  3. Click on the domain name to reconfigure. The domain’s settings appear.

    Note

    SRV records may only be added to domain names of the form _Service._Proto.Name. For example, an SRV record may be added to _xmpp-server._tcp.example.com, but not www.example.com.

  4. In the Other DNS records section, in the Add DNS Record… menu, click to select SRV. New Priority, Weight, Port, and Target fields appear.

  5. In the fields, enter the SRV record data.

  6. Click the Save button.

The SRV record is created.

Configuring TXT Records

To create a TXT record:

  1. Log in to the WebFaction control panel.

  2. Click Domains / websites ‣ Domains. The list of domains appears.

    Note

    If you have not done so already, add the domain to your account.

  3. Click on the domain name to reconfigure. The domain’s settings appear.

  4. In the Other DNS records section, in the Add DNS Record… menu, click to select TXT. A TXT field appears.

  5. In the TXT field, enter the TXT record value.

  6. Click the Save button.

The TXT record is created.

Troubleshooting DNS Problems

Sometimes there are hurdles to getting a domain name working with a website. Check out these solutions to DNS problems.

A Domain Still Resolves to a Previous Host

If your domain name is still resolving to your old hosting service there are a few steps you can take to get everything working:

  • Wait up to 48 hours. If you just changed domain name servers, please wait while the change to your domain information circulates throughout the domain name system.

  • Flush your DNS cache. In much the same way your browser caches web pages and images to speed up page loads, your system may cache DNS requests to open connections faster. This is most obvious when one computer accesses your site correctly on WebFaction, while another still loads your site on your previous host. You can also detect DNS caching when the IP address of your domain (for example, when using ping) is still your previous host’s server’s IP address.

    To clear your DNS cache on Mac OS X:

    1. Open a terminal session.
    2. Enter dscacheutil -flushcache.
    3. Press Enter.

    To clear your DNS cache on Windows XP:

    1. Press Windows + R. The Run dialog appears.
    2. Enter cmd in the Open field.
    3. Press Enter. The command prompt appears.
    4. Enter ipconfig /flushdns.
    5. Press Enter.

    To clear your DNS cache on Windows Vista:

    1. Click Start ‣ All Programs ‣ Accessories.
    2. Right-click on Command Prompt. A menu appears.
    3. Click Run as administrator. The User Account Control dialog appears.
    4. Click Continue. The command prompt appears.
    5. Enter ipconfig /flushdns.
    6. Press Enter.