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Query about PlusNet DNS capabilities (web forwarding, TXT records, ANAME or ALIAS records)

TimDSMoss
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Registered: ‎08-02-2021

Query about PlusNet DNS capabilities (web forwarding, TXT records, ANAME or ALIAS records)

I'm in the process of moving my website, currently hosted by PlusNet on 2 custom domains (the.com and .co.uk) flavours.

I've got it working for www.<sitename>.com and www.<sitename>.co.uk by 

- adding a www CNAME record (for both domains) in the PlusNet DNS management pages

- switch the webspace DNS setting from "Default" to "Other"

 

So far so good, but the site no longer works if I type in just <sitename>.com or <sitename>.co.uk into the browser.

i.e. the root/apex domain isn't pointing to the new provider.

 

My query/queries are:

(maybe @bobpullen or @Gandalf  know the answer)

 

  1. (I doubt it but...) Does PlusNet DNS system support CNAME flattening: Introducing CNAME Flattening: RFC-Compliant CNAMEs at a Domain's Root (cloudflare.com)
  2. (I doubt it but...) Does PlusNet DNS system support ANAME or ALIAS records?
  3. Is it possible to add TXT records via ticket with support/NetOps??
    • Or are TXT records not possible at all?

 

I'll have a followup question/request depending on the answers to the above 😂

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Tim

12 REPLIES 12
bobpullen
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Re: Query about PlusNet DNS capabilities (web forwarding, TXT records, ANAME or ALIAS records)

Hi Tim,

You cannot create CNAME records for the root domains, so to answer your questions...

  1. No
  2. No
  3. No

I imagine you probably need to create an A record for the root domain to point it to the new host.

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

edagr
Interested
Posts: 1
Registered: a week ago

Re: Query about PlusNet DNS capabilities (web forwarding, TXT records, ANAME or ALIAS records)

Hi 

I have been having a similar problem redirecting traffic to our new server, which is not Plusnet.  

its been 10 days of frustrating calls to Plusnet where I am assured its now been done correctly but still no redirect is actually happening.  

We have changed to A record which we have been told must have www. at the start and a . at the end, but still nothing.  

Do we need to change the C record also?  

Thanks

ed

 

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TimDSMoss
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Posts: 26
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Registered: ‎08-02-2021

Re: Query about PlusNet DNS capabilities (web forwarding, TXT records, ANAME or ALIAS records)

Thanks for the speedy reply @bobpullen 

Regarding (1)

I was aware that a DNS RFC compliant DNS server won't allow

CNAMEs for the root domain, but this post:

Re: Domain Forwarding - Plusnet Community

suggested PlusNet CAN, and the Cloudflare one suggested that they can do it (even though in contravention of the RFC)

 

Regarding (2) - which is apparently an alternative to root domain CNAMEs

I'd not head of ALIAS / ANAME records until recently but they are "a thing"! 

Again was just wondering if PlusNet system supports them.

 

 

Regarding (3) - which is nothing to do with root domain CNAMEs

My query about TXT records was only somewhat related (down to the fact the provide I'm using would prefer to use a "magically" (uniquely/randomly) named TXT record they specify to validate that I own the domain.

I can't add one via the web portal - so was wondering if Support/NetOps can do it - or if the system just doesn't allow them

(which would be kind of odd since TXT records are RFC compliant!)

 

 

I'm guessing it' still NO for (2) and (3) but curious about what the solution was for (1) for the othe PlusNet user

TimDSMoss
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Re: Query about PlusNet DNS capabilities (web forwarding, TXT records, ANAME or ALIAS records)

I can't help you determine what has actually been done

but you can check to some degree using a tool like this:

https://dnstools.ws/lookup/example.com/A/  - look up whether there's an "A" record for "example.com"

https://dnstools.ws/lookup/example.com/CNAME/- look up whether there's an "A" record for "example.com"

You'll see the "A" record one shows the IP address(es) for the A record and the CNAME one shows an error i.e. there is no CNAME record in this case.

Edit these URLs to change "example.com" to your domain name and see what you get

 

In answer to your question you don't want both a CNAME and an A record

- might not even be possible to have both.

 

CNAME record will point to another domain name (which in turn will point to your server)

- great if the IP of your server might change, but requires its name to be registered somewhere as an A record.

 

A record will point to an IP address (the public IP address of your server)

- great if  your server has a public IP address that isn't likely to change

 

Hope that helps a bit

 

Tim

 

 

 

TimDSMoss
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Re: Query about PlusNet DNS capabilities (web forwarding, TXT records, ANAME or ALIAS records)

Possibly PlusNet Support can send you a "zone" file - that will list all the records on their DNS server for your domain

 

will help you determine if the record(s) added are

a) present

b) correct/what you actually want

 

Would be awesome if the web portal could show this are allow it to be requested via a button and have it emailed to the account email.

From what I can tell,

depending on whether "Other" or "Default" are selected (for email or web) sections in the DNS management page in the portal

although records may be displayed in the table of records, they may (or may not) get filtered out from what actually goes onto the DNS server/system

 

 

TimDSMoss
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Re: Query about PlusNet DNS capabilities (web forwarding, TXT records, ANAME or ALIAS records)

Whilst curious to learn more (my previous reply), and it may be useful for others if the answers are written down here in the community

I suspect the answer is still NO in all 3 cases

 

So I think my best solution will be along the lines of this one here:

Fixed: DNS Forwarding for Google Sites - Plusnet Community

I'd be happy with that

 

My particular challenge is that I have 2 custom domains (the .com and .co.uk) flavours

 

Currently (after switching web DNS settings from "default" to "other" - only way I could get the "www" CNAME to go through)

the root domains don't seem to have any DNS records.

 

I'd need them both to point back to homepages,plus.net (or its relevant IP addresses)

and then I think I'd need 2 sub-direcotories within /htdocs/

e.g. /htdocs/dotcodotuk/ and /htdocs/dotcom/

So I could put different ".htaccess" files in place (one in each folder)

 

 

Or can I use something like this in a single .htaccess file?

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
  RewriteEngine On
  RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain.co.uk$
  RewriteRule (.*)$ https://www.newdomain.co.uk/$1 [R=301,L]
RewriteConde %{HTTP_HOST} ^domain.com$
RewriteRule (.*)$ https://www.newdomain.com/$1 [R=301,L]
</IfModule>

which would avoid having 2 folders, 2 .htaccess files, and more less config on the PlusNet side since it should work for both domains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TimDSMoss
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Registered: ‎08-02-2021

Re: Query about PlusNet DNS capabilities (web forwarding, TXT records, ANAME or ALIAS records)

Alternatively, can PlusNet SUpport/NetOps change the virtual server config on the back-end to be something like:

 

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName mydomain.com
    ServerAlias www.mydomain.com
    redirect 301 / http://www.website1.net/
</VirtualHost>

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName mydomain.co.uk
    ServerAlias wwww.mydomain.co.uk
    redirect 301 / http://www.website2.net/
</VirtualHost>

<VirtualHost *:443>
    ServerName mydomain.com
    ServerAlias www.mydomain.com
    redirect 301 / http://www.website1.net/
</VirtualHost>

<VirtualHost *:443>
    ServerName mydomain.co.uk
    ServerAlias wwww.mydomain.co.uk
    redirect 301 / http://www.website2.net/
</VirtualHost>

 

 

bobpullen
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Re: Query about PlusNet DNS capabilities (web forwarding, TXT records, ANAME or ALIAS records)

@TimDSMoss - I think we need to take a step back here.

What exactly are you trying to achieve? In your original post, you suggested that you were trying to host your domains externally but in your latest posts you're talking about redirecting things to the Homepages platform.

Please can you provide some clarity?

Are you using email for either of these domains and if so, who is hosting it?

The typical method of pointing root domain/www traffic is to have an A record for the root domain that points to a server IP address and then a www CNAME record that points to the root domain. e.g: -

domain.tld.    A          1.2.3.4
www            CNAME      domain.tld.

 

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

TimDSMoss
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Re: Query about PlusNet DNS capabilities (web forwarding, TXT records, ANAME or ALIAS records)

@bobpullen thanks for getting back to me.

In the mean time I've got it all working as best as it will ever be.

 

To clarify though, as per my original post:

I'm in the process of moving my website, currently hosted by PlusNet on 2 custom domains (the.com and .co.uk) flavours.

I've got it working for www.<sitename>.com and www.<sitename>.co.uk by 

- adding a www CNAME record (for both domains) in the PlusNet DNS management pages

- switch the webspace DNS setting from "Default" to "Other"

 

So far so good, but the site no longer works if I type in just <sitename>.com or <sitename>.co.uk into the browser.

i.e. the root/apex domain isn't pointing to the new provider.

 

The issue was that whilst the "www" subdomains were correctly going through to the new provider, browser requests for just "<sitename>.com" or "<sitename>.co.uk" (i.e. without the "www." prefix") were showing errors.

I wanted web browser requests for these to also go through to the site hosted by the new provider.

 

In answer to your other questions:

Please can you provide some clarity?
Are you using email for either of these domains and if so, who is hosting it?

Sure thing - sorry if the original post or follow-ups were not clear. 

(There was method to my madness, which will hopefully becomre clear reading the below!)

 

YES, I'm using email for both of the domains,

The domains themselves are with PlusNet as registrar and on PlusNet DNS servers.

 

I successfully manged to route email for them away from the PlusNet email system to Microsoft M365 (Business) plan.

See here: Successful migration of email from PlusNet to MS36... - Plusnet Community

 

Mainly as a learning exercise on how to do it, how to use some up to date tech, a bit of future-proofing (PlusNet might not offer webspace forever, and doesn't support HTTPS), and mainly so I can see if the provider solution will work for an different unrelated site that is in the works... 

I wanted to see if I could transfer my website, hosted by PlusNet, accessible on HTTP (but not HTTPS) flavours of

<sitename>.co.uk
<sitename>.com
www.<sitename>.co.uk
www.<sitename>.com

to an alternate provider, namely "Microsoft Azure Static Web Apps"

info here if anyone interested: (What is Azure Static Web Apps? | Microsoft Docs)

which is all free (accepting that one or two advanced features are premium ones so not available), including automatically renewing SSL certificates.

 

The typical method of pointing root domain/www traffic is to have an A record for the root domain that points to a server IP address and then a www CNAME record that points to the root domain.

 

Unfortunately this wasn't an option because my specific new provider (MS Azure Static Web Apps) imposes some restrictions (for combination of security and architectural reasons) on how root domains (without the www prefix) are configured their end.

Getting the "www" subdomains working was a piece of cake.

  • Add the CNAME in the PlusNet portal (plain "www" on the left side and their provided name, terminated with "." on the right)
  • wait for this to propogate ... ... ....
  • Add this subdomain as a "Custom Domain" on their portal - their system verifies you own the domain by presence of the relevant CNAME.
  • A minute or so later it all working

So far so good.

Root (or apex as they call them) domains are trickier

a) architecturally the website in question gets hosted (behind the scenes) on "Azure CDN" to make if super fast for any user in the world.

b) they require a TXT record to be created (including a unique code the generate) for domain verification purposes.

 

(a) means using A records to point to the new site won't work (or not well) - there's many IPs involved, subject to change at any time, and using a standard A record would defeat the purpose of using Azure CDN

(b) isn't possible in the PlusNet portal DNS management screen

 

Their recommendations are to

for (a) use an ANAME or ALIAS record instead, or ask your DNS provider if "CNAME flattening" is an option

- both still require creating a TXT record for validation purposes.

 

They recommend that if none of options above are availabe, the to ask whether web forwarding (i.e. Redirection) is an option.

 

Hence my oringal post, and follow-up one regarding redirection.

 

 

I'll add a separate post on the scenario and solution, which may help anyone else trying to to the same or similar.

 

thanks again,

 

Tim

 

TimDSMoss
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Registered: ‎08-02-2021

Re: Query about PlusNet DNS capabilities (web forwarding, TXT records, ANAME or ALIAS records)

bobpullen
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Re: Query about PlusNet DNS capabilities (web forwarding, TXT records, ANAME or ALIAS records)

Thanks Tim, read through the docs and seems that you're right. The A record option is off the cards.

The .htaccess rewrite is a perfectly valid workaround. The other option I would have suggested would have been a 301 permanent redirect, using .htacess again (less prone to error compared to mod rewrite).

If all is working though, then a job well done 👍

Bob Pullen
Plusnet Product Team
If I've been helpful then please give thanks ⤵

TimDSMoss
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Re: Query about PlusNet DNS capabilities (web forwarding, TXT records, ANAME or ALIAS records)

Thanks for your help and response @bobpullen 

 

Agreed a redirect "rule" in .htaccess is simpler (I'll add a note and example to that effect on the other post)

 

In my case with the two domains (.com and .co.uk flavours)

I was being a bit picky and wanted requests coming in on a particular domain to get redirected to the new site on the same/equivalent domain.

The mod_rewrite rules I used detect the .com or .co.uk ending,

and do a permanent (301) redirect to the relevant "www" equivalent.