Understanding DNS Records for Web Servers Using ISPConfig 3

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Introduction to DNS

What is DNS?

DNS (Domain Name System) is like the phone book of the internet. It translates human-friendly domain names like example.com into IP addresses like that computers use to identify each other on the network.

Key DNS Concepts

  1. Domain Names: The readable addresses we use to visit websites.
  2. IP Addresses: Numerical labels assigned to devices connected to a network.
  3. DNS Records: Entries in the DNS system that map domain names to IP addresses and other resources.

Types of DNS Records

  • A Record: Maps a domain name to an IPv4 address.
  • AAAA Record: Maps a domain name to an IPv6 address.
  • CNAME Record: Alias of one domain name to another (canonical name).
  • MX Record: Mail exchange records, which direct email to servers for a domain.
  • TXT Record: Text records used for various purposes, including email validation and security.

DNS Zones

A DNS zone is a segment of the DNS namespace that is managed by a specific organization or administrator. Zones contain DNS records for all the domain names within that segment.

Dynamic DNS (DDNS)

DDNS is a service that automatically updates the DNS records if the IP address of the device changes, useful for home networks with dynamically changing IP addresses.

Setting Up DNS Records in ISPConfig 3

What is ISPConfig 3?

ISPConfig 3 is an open-source web hosting control panel that allows you to manage multiple servers from a single interface. It supports web servers, email servers, DNS, and more.


  • A server with ISPConfig 3 installed.
  • Administrative access to the ISPConfig control panel.
  • A registered domain name.

Step-by-Step Tutorial

1. Log in to ISPConfig

Access your ISPConfig control panel by navigating to its URL in your web browser. Log in using your administrator credentials.

2. Navigate to DNS Management

Once logged in, go to the “DNS” section. This is where you will manage all your DNS records.

3. Create a New DNS Zone

  1. Click on the “Zones” tab.
  2. Click on the “Add new Zone” button.
  3. Fill in the following details:
  • Domain: Your domain name (e.g., example.com).
  • NS1: Primary nameserver (e.g., ns1.example.com).
  • NS2: Secondary nameserver (e.g., ns2.example.com).
  • Email: Administrative email address (e.g., admin@example.com).
  1. Click “Save”.

4. Add DNS Records

  1. A Record:
  • Go to the “Records” tab within your DNS zone.
  • Click “Add new Record”.
  • Select “A” from the type dropdown menu.
  • Enter the hostname (e.g., www for www.example.com).
  • Enter the IP address of your web server.
  • Click “Save”.
  1. CNAME Record:
  • Click “Add new Record”.
  • Select “CNAME” from the type dropdown menu.
  • Enter the hostname (e.g., mail for mail.example.com).
  • Enter the canonical name (e.g., example.com).
  • Click “Save”.
  1. MX Record:
  • Click “Add new Record”.
  • Select “MX” from the type dropdown menu.
  • Enter the priority (lower value means higher priority).
  • Enter the mail server domain (e.g., mail.example.com).
  • Click “Save”.
  1. TXT Record:
  • Click “Add new Record”.
  • Select “TXT” from the type dropdown menu.
  • Enter the hostname (leave blank for the root domain).
  • Enter the text value (e.g., for SPF: v=spf1 a mx ~all).
  • Click “Save”.

Example DNS Setup for a Basic Website

Record TypeHostnameValue
MX@10 mail.example.com
TXT@v=spf1 a mx ~all

Verifying DNS Configuration

  1. Use online tools like dnschecker.org to verify your DNS records.
  2. Use command-line tools like dig or nslookup to query your DNS records.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • Ensure your nameservers are correctly configured at your domain registrar.
  • Double-check IP addresses and hostnames for typos.
  • Allow time for DNS propagation (can take up to 48 hours).


Understanding DNS records and how to manage them in ISPConfig 3 is crucial for hosting your website effectively. By following this tutorial, you should be able to set up and manage DNS records with confidence. If you encounter issues, refer back to this guide or consult additional resources and forums specific to ISPConfig 3.

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