Mastering My Domain

Regarding the domain issue in my last post, here’s what happened:

I got this new host and did the whole “Using a domain I own and I’ll change my nameservers” thing (let’s suppose my domain is Then I canceled later that night. A couple days later, I joined again but couldn’t use my domain as my hostname because it was still tied up in their records so I had to use as a placeholder and put in a support ticket so they could fix things on their end.

In the meantime, I logged in via ssh using my IP address.

After they fixed things on their end I still needed to do something on my end.

What I Needed To Do

Instructions in the ticket said to edit this file: /etc/sysconfig/network and “Modify the HOSTNAME= value to match your FQDN hostname.”

So I googled “FQDN” and, after some reading of What’s a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) and what’s it good for?, thought my FQDN hostname was “www.” Fortunately, I read a little more and learned

hostname -A

would tell me my hostname is actually

I downloaded the file via ftp and opened it in SublimeText because, as I said in the last post, nano scares me. A couple things gave me pause when I opened the file. There was no HOSTNAME to modify. That’s okay, I can type that. But the example in the instructions looked like this:

Everything (all two lines) in the actual file looked like this:


With the values in quotes. Their example looks like that–without quotes–because they told me do it in nano, right? Let’s go with that.

But, another thing … why does my server tell me it is temp-groovydomain when there’s nothing in this file? Is it based on whatever the host-peeps did on their end? Let’s go with that, too.

Instructions also said I’d “want to reboot once that is complete to make sure it stays as needed.” I could use the button in the control panel (such as it is) but I’m all about this learning experience, so, based on The One Page Linux Manual I found on the Intertubes I type reboot in the terminal and …

Connection to closed by remote host
Connection to closed


So I went to my Spartan VPS Control Panel and clicked the Reboot button. I have no idea how long to wait. After fidgeting a while, I refreshed my control panel and saw:


Before I noticed my server’s status was a green Online. , I kinda panicked because while looking at the graphs for a clue as to shutting down or rebooting (I know, c’mon … gimme a break, it’s my first day) I noticed they still had (with the hyphen) but then I noticed up toward the top it said the Hostname was and I realized the graphs were almost an hour old.

I’ll start including my actual domain name once I have some security in place — my first task(s) after I’m finished with all this domain stuff. Which I’m not.

I knew I had more to do already but you’ll probably benefit from the “and what’s it good for?” bit from the previously quoted FQDN article:

In general, an FQDN is required to make a computer, device, entity, etc. accessible on the internet; however, defining an FQDN locally isn’t sufficient to bring it online. You have to update the DNS record in the DNS settings so the DNS knows the specific location of that specific device.

What Everyone Needs To Do

What makes this part confusing for me is my new host is not my registrar and I’m too cheap to transfer. And I’m up for as many learning experiences as possible. Normally, it would be as easy as transferring it and–maybe–having to type in some nameservers. A support dude I chatted with said,

“If your domain was registered at another company, you could either use your registrar’s nameservers, or a free provider like”

I totally did not and do not understand how I can use a different registrar’s nameservers if the site is hosted somewhere else. Also, if they can stay the way they are, why would I need to use (and how would I use) “a free provider like” whomever.

I have some learnin’ to do.

He also said, at a different time,

“This plan type does not have nameservers provided by default, and you can use a free service like”

And also,

“If you’d like to point the domain’s IP address ahead of time … [and gave me my IP address]”

I don’t know exactly what “point” means.


Here’s my To-Do list as I understand it right now (I think):

Change the nameservers your domain points to. Simply, I choose either “use default” or “use custom” and, if the latter, type something in Nameserver 1, Nameserver 2, etc. but I don’t understand what this does or how it works.  You “point” to whatever name server you want. Whatever I want? Support at my new host says I can use my registrars name servers which I don’t understand. Wouldn’t they then just continue pointing the domain to my old site at my old host? What about custom name servers? So shouldn’t I create a custom name server first?

“Set up A records” which I now know “associates your domain name with the server’s IP address.” So that’s what an A Record is. Then what’s a name server? Another confusing bit is that I find option under Advanced Zone Editor through my hosting cPanel. When I click “documentation,” I see an alert telling me “Advanced Zone Editor” is deprecated and to use “Zone Editor” in the cPanel instead. My new host states in one of their Domain Management tutes:

If your registrar does not have DNS management tools that allow you to create A records, you can search for free DNS management solutions that allow you to use their name servers to configure A records.

So is one of those “free DNS management solutions”?

Do I have to have a custom name server?

Is “set up a records” the first thing I should do? I ask because I can’t register nameservers (see below) until after I set up “a records” and I would assume you can’t point to a nameserver (see above) that hasn’t been registered … unless creating and registering aren’t the same thing. In an article called “How to set a domain’s name servers to point to [our] Hosting” there’s a subhead, “WHEN to set your domain’s name servers” followed by:

If you already own a domain that you purchased from a different registrar or hosting company, you can change the name server (DNS) settings for the domain so they point to [Our] Hosting’s servers.

If you can spot the “when” in that section, let me know.

Wait a second. McKerracher’s VPS Tutorial states,

“change the nameserver settings (“A records” and “MX records”) that relate your domain name to your new IP address.”

Is it just me or do “A records” and “pointing” … wait … I need to do BOTH “point my domain to a nameserver” AND “point my domain to my IP address”?


Register Nameservers is an option available at my registrar under domain management. According to my new host’s documentation, this should be done “after you have verified that your domain has the correct A records configured, you can register the name servers.”

According to “How to configure custom name servers,” you:

  1. Add A records for the custom name servers
  2. Register the custom name servers with the domain’s registar

Where and when do I create these custom name servers for which I’m adding A records?

How is it that I’ve never seen a book or anything about all of this?

Set up a DNS Zone. The above Zone Editor has sections for Zone Files and Zone File Records. I think that’s … this? An unhelpful support person who provided me with tons of incorrect info told me to do this so maybe … I don’t need to worry about it? Or something?



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