How to Create Vanity Nameservers

Nameservers are the special type of servers that tell other computers where to find your website. The name of your nameserver is listed in your DNS records and, by necessity, is available to the public. The name of the nameserver often includes the name of your service provider, such as ns1.gandi.net.

Some website owners prefer to use a vanity nameserver, also sometimes called a branded or custom nameserver, which allows you to create a custom name to display on your DNS records. Behind the scenes, there is no technical difference between a vanity nameserver and the ordinary nameserver. The only difference is the name that is displayed in the DNS records.

This tutorial will explain how to create your own vanity nameserver at Gandi.

Introduction

By the end of this tutorial you will have the following nameservers:

  • ns1.$domain
  • ns2.$domain
  • ns3.$domain

Where $domain is replaced with your domain name.

In this example the domain is initially using LiveDNS without a particular configuration.

Step one: Retrieve the current nameserver’s IP addresses

To find your current nameservers, you can use the following command in a command line interface:

dig NS $domain

If successful, you will see a list of multiple nameservers and their IP addresses. The nameservers will follow the pattern ns-00-x.gandi.net. For each record, make a note of the IP address.

If you do not see a list of nameservers, then you can look each nameserver up individually. You can find a list of your nameservers by finding the domain in your account and going to the “Nameservers” tab.

You can then use the following commands to find the IP address for each domain name. Replace “ns-x-a.gandi.net” with the name of the nameserver.

dig +short A ns-x-a.gandi.net
dig +short AAAA ns-x-a.gandi.net

Step two: Create the glue records

On the glue records interface, create 3 glue records with the IP addresses that were returned by the dig command. The glue records should look like the following, but using your own IP addresses instead of the ones used in the examples.

  • ns1: 173.246.100.228 2001:4b98:aaaa::e4
  • ns2: 213.167.230.242 2001:4b98:aaab::f2
  • ns3: 217.70.187.146 2604:3400:aaac::92

Step three: Update the LiveDNS records

Warning

After updating the LiveDNS records you will not be able to edit your DNS records until you have set your domain to use external nameservers in step four. Double check your changes for accuracy before submitting the changes.

You will need to make the following changes to your DNS using text mode. Create the following records, making sure to replace the examples with the IP addresses of your nameservers you found in step one.

@ IN NS ns1
@ IN NS ns2
@ IN NS ns3

ns1 IN A 173.246.100.228
ns1 IN AAAA 2001:4b98:aaaa::e4
ns2 IN A 213.167.230.242
ns2 IN AAAA 2001:4b98:aaab::f2
ns3 IN A 217.70.187.146
ns3 IN AAAA 2604:3400:aaac::92

Step four: Update nameservers at registry

In the nameservers tab of your domain, change to external nameservers. Enter the names you just created.

Your nameservers should be as follows, replacing $domain with your domain name:

  • ns1.$domain
  • ns2.$domain
  • ns3.$domain

The process is now complete. Like all changes to DNS records, these changes may take up to 48 hours to fully propagate throughout the domain name system.