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DNS Editing deployed

  1. Today, April 1 (no foolin') I am deploying DNS editing for all blogs with the Domain Mapping upgrade. We want to allow people to use email and other services with their domains, not necessarily just Google Apps email.

    DNS is technical stuff. We try to make technical tasks easy without requiring expertise. I expect a lot of people to look at this task and get confused. That would be true no matter how we structure the DNS editor because it's deeply technical. I want to make it easier, but this is something that most people will use once in a lifetime, or never. So we're going ahead with the understanding that there is going to be some hand-holding. I hope some of you forum wizards will be able to help, so I want to be a resource for you. This document is your first introduction to the feature and the first place to ask me about it.

    The DNS editor is linked from the Domains page in the same place where the "Google MX" link used to be. The interface is a textarea and a couple of buttons. The user enters one record per line in a simplified format. There are reference sections describing the format at the bottom of the page.

    There are reasonable limits. We limit the number of records to 25 and the DNS software limits the number of characters in certain fields. We can raise the record limit if needed; the character limits are very reasonable and firm.

    We support MX, TXT, CNAME, and A records. If there is enough demand I will consider adding other records such as SRV for XMPP.

    We sanitize input. We forbid characters not matching /[-.a-zA-Z0-9]/ in every place except TXT data fields, which allow more of the printable ASCII set.

    We forbid wildcards (*) in subdomains. This is due to bugs/limitations in the DNS software and very unlikely to change.

    Users do not need to understand DNS. If somebody needs help editing their DNS records, they will be best served by helping them gather information from the third party service provider and writing the records for them. Do not bother explaining anything; it's such a seldom-used feature that the education will be a waste of time. Just help them by writing the records. If there is a very common request, ask the staff to add it to the documentation. The most commonly used services will get their own editor tools similar to the Google Apps tool. Hopefully some providers will add WordPress.com-style records to their docs.

    MX preference numbers matter only a little. I have seen some email hosts provide only the hostnames of their mail exchange servers. You have to make up the preference numbers. If the hostnames do not hint at a preference scheme, I suggest keeping it simple and using 10, 20, etc. You can have multiple MX records with the same pref number.

    TTL is 3600. There is no good reason to clutter up the record format with this extra input. There is no good reason to ask us to change it. Just ignore what the service provider says and remember that it's always 3600, no exceptions. This also means that if somebody changes their records, it can take up to an hour for the old ones to expire and the new ones to take effect. (People erroneously call this "propagation time" when it's really "cache expiration time". Call it whatever you want; it's an hour, not several hours or days.)

    I want to help. Get in touch if you have questions or ideas for improvement.

  2. Can you explain in simple terms what I cam accomplish with this? Might be a good idea to give examples...I already see people talking about it on Twitter..

  3. Generally, unless a service you want to use is asking you to change this information, you won't need the feature.

    A good example is what we've used it for previously, which is Google Apps for Domains—which includes a version of GMail that "runs" on your domain. In order to route email to a server that's not WordPress.com, custom records are required. You couldn't edit these before; now you can.

  4. I second the suggestion of examples. In fact, I already suggested it, so far to deafening silence:
    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/anyone-want-to-provide-an-example-of-dns-editing?replies=1

    Markel, thanks for your contribution, but I'm not sure that Google Apps/email is a good example of what Andy has just announced. The people who are interested in DNS editing may well have set Google email up some time ago, following the very specific instructions to do a very specific thing.

    What we have now is a lot more open-ended.

  5. It would be particularly neat if the most recent (as I write this) request for help in these forums turned out to be a case for DNS editing:
    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/change-permalink?replies=1

    Even an explanation of why it's not a case for DNS editing might be enlightening...

  6. Thanks for this sticky. I wrote this yesterday.

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/new-dns-editing-feature-and-a-question?replies=0

    I am not interested in email hosting feature but I am interested in finding out (1) is domain registration anonymous, and (2) a CMS type website could be setup here on WordPress.com with a static landing page and typical blog as a tab, etc.

  7. The only thing holding me back from moving is the lack of web redirects... previously, on no-ip.com, I could have mail.hpka.net redirect to my Google Apps login page...

  8. Markel, thanks for your contribution, but I'm not sure that Google Apps/email is a good example of what Andy has just announced. The people who are interested in DNS editing may well have set Google email up some time ago, following the very specific instructions to do a very specific thing.

    What we have now is a lot more open-ended.

    Absolutely true, but Google Apps is probably the most common usage that will be seen of custom DNS - and now it has a little more flexibility to it than it did before.

  9. I got two of my questions answered:

    WordPress.com does not offer anonymous/proxy registration
    A sub-domain can be mapped with the blog hosted here. This is what I was wondering about in a CMS type website. However, I am still wondering if a true CMS website could be setup here on Worpress.com, for example, can a landing page be static page and a tab become a blog? I can possibly think that it is now possible but an example would be nice.

    Thanks.

  10. Your landing page can indeed be a static page.

    Currently, there are limitations to what you can do with the navigation area on themes, but the menu management system that is part of the upcoming 3.0 release of self-hosted WordPress will be finding its way here to WordPress.com, which will give you more flexibility.

    WIth subdomains, note that you can also map a subdomain to a blog here automatically if you have already mapped the primary domain here. I do this myself. :)

  11. @hpka

    Custom domains on Google Apps are now supported, since you can add CNAME records to your DNS.

  12. Is there a customer support phone number for WordPress.com that I can call. I'm having major problems related to domain mapping and DNS editing.

  13. @pettm

    We do not offer phone support. Please file a support ticket by using the contact form at http://support.wordpress.com/contact/ and one of our staff will be happy to help you.

    If you are comfortable with the question being publicly accessible, you can feel free to leave it in this thread so others can learn from it, as well.

  14. Hi,

    I've a problem with a domain i've bought on WordPress.
    I've added ns1.mydomain.com on the external website (securepaynet.net), but each time i've tried to change nameservers, ns1.mydomain.com is taking like a "Nameserver not registered", why ?

    I've seen we could edit dns records in WordPress only few minutes ago so I've changed it and I've added a record "A ns1 IPSERVER". May in less than one hour could work ?

    I don't really understand why i've this error message "Nameserver not registered.". All it's okay on my dedicated server, just securepaynet which is still blocking dns editing.

    I've sent a message to the support but i don't have answer yet so if somebody can tell me where is the problem, it would be great.

    PS : Sorry for my poor English.

  15. @korobur

    The nameservers for a site should be provided by your hosting provider and are almost never going to be the same as your domain. If you are trying to map to a WordPress.com blog, the correct nameservers are:

    NS1.WORDPRESS.COM
    NS2.WORDPRESS.COM
    NS3.WORDPRESS.COM

    Otherwise, you will need to contact the hosting provider of your site to receive the proper nameserver addresses.

  16. I am almost a bit embarrased that I need assistance with this since I know how to set up DNS servers in Win2k3, however, admittedly have little experience with exchange. So, my question is simple. I currently have the e-mail address: [email redacted] and would instead like to have the following e-mail address:

    [email redacted]

    What code would I need to enter into the DNS Editor in order to make this active. I thought I understood the purpose of this DNS Editing feature at first, but it seems like what it really is providing is a FORWARDING service to your actual e-mail provider. When the user responds, would they receive an e-mail from "[email redacted]" OR "[email redacted]" which is hosted on gmail?

    Any help appreciated!!

    Thanks.

  17. Hi - I need an idiots guide please.

    I am trying to edit DNS for email.

    What I want is unique domain name email to match my WordPress.com blog which will forward to a gmail account.

    I have already mapped by blog to a unique domain purchased from 123 and have also purchased their email option. 123 have told me to input this:

    mx0.123-reg.co.uk.
    mx1.123-reg.co.uk.

    Into the DNS record, but when I 'validate without saving' I get this:

    "We can't save these records because they don't look right to us. Check the errors below. Please contact support if you are unable to resolve the problem.

    1. This does not match any of the DNS record formats.

    2. This does not match any of the DNS record formats."

    I'm not the most technically minded of people - if anybody could explain in the simplest possible terms how I can fix this it would be appreciated!

    Thanks

  18. @ethanandersen

    The Custom DNS option doesn't provide email forwarding, it provides a way for emails to make their route to an email host that is expecting email addressed to that address. Your best bet to accomplish what you want is to use Google Apps for Domains to set up email for your domain.

    @propertidy

    Take a look at the instructions in the Custom DNS editor. The mail records have to be formatted in a specific way. In your case, you can do this:

    MX 10 MX0.123-REG.CO.UK.
    MX 20 MX1.123-REG.CO.UK.

    MX records have to declare their type, have a preference value, and then list a host. If preference values aren't provided by your email host, you can "make them up" but should keep the same order as given by your provider.

  19. Thanks Markel

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