Secondary DNS

Table of Contents

Getting started

Before setting up Secondary DNS with our systems it will be necessary for you to choose, activate, and gather information for the secondary DNS provider you will be using.

At this moment, we simplify this process by providing pre-configurations and step-by-step guide for 3 providers:

We plan to offer pre-configurations for other providers in the near future. Note that you can configure Secondary DNS with any provider by choosing the custom option. Once you know which provider you are going to use and have a made the necessary configuration on their side, you should continue with this guide.

It is possible to configure Secondary DNS on all domains whether they delegate to us or not, but if you have pointed delegation elsewhere you will need to point the domain to DNSimple before the configuration will take effect.

Also, if you do not have your domain registered with us, you will need to update the delegation of your domain at your registrar to use the secondary name servers you have chosen. If you set up the secondary name servers and delegation at your registrar will need to change from:




Remember that you will need to revert this step if you ever disable Secondary DNS for your domain.

Enable Secondary DNS

Getting started with Secondary DNS is possible from the DNS section of the domain management page.

DNS management page

You will then be presented with a page where you can choose your secondary provider. If your provider is either Dyn, DNSMadeEasy, or EasyDNS, you are one click away from completing the configuration. Otherwise, select the custom option. You will then be presented with a page for providing the names for NS records as well as the IP addresses which should be allowed to have access for the zone transfer. These details should be retrieved from your secondary DNS provider.

Selecting a pre-configuration will prepopulate the correct values for you. Just click on the “Enable” button at the bottom of the page.

If you choose the custom option, you’ll be prompted to enter the NS records as well as the IP address for the zone transfer.

Once you submit the form with the proper details, you will be redirected to the domain management page with updated details.

Updated DNS management page

If your domain is registered with us, we will replace whatever delegation you have set for the domain with our name servers and the secondary name servers you’ve configured. This means if you are delegating to another provider for your DNS, the values at the registry will be updated to match the NS set on the apex zone of your domain as represented in our record editor.

Behind the Scenes

Once Secondary DNS has been correctly setup for a particular domain every zone change will be replicated on the Secondary DNS provider. All existing records will be copied over. Including not only standard records but also DNSimple custom records like ALIAS and URL. These will be resolved and the resulting value will be pushed to the secondary.

Until Secondary DNS is disabled for a particular domain all record changes that you make on DNSimple will be synchronized to your Secondary DNS provider automatically.

Edit Secondary DNS Configuration

Once you have set up Secondary DNS, it may be necessary to tweak details about your configuration. This is accomplished from the same link as initial setup.

Reconfigure Secondary DNS

Disable Secondary DNS

If you no longer wish to use Secondary DNS via AXFR, you can simply click the button

Delete Secondary DNS Configuration

AXFR Name Server Details

In order to setup your secondary provider, you will need to give them the server which will respond to AXFR queries (also known as DNS zone transfer). Some providers will ask for a host name while others will ask for an IP address.

The host name for the DNSimple AXFR server is The IP address on that node is Please prefer the host name whenever possible. If the IP address should change, we will inform you in advance using your account email.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Secondary DNS and why do I want it?

    Secondary DNS is when you use a special protocol called AXFR to automatically transfer your zones to a secondary dns provider whenever they change, allowing you to both DNSimple nameservers as well as another DNS provider’s nameservers at the same time.

    This allows you to have an active redundancy in your domain name resolution. If an issue were to come up with DNSimple you would still have active resolution with your other provider. This disaster prevention is very valuable to any products that need high uptime. It is important to remember that when secondary DNS is enabled, those nameservers may be used at any time by resolvers, not just in the case where an issue arises resolving names through our nameservers.

  2. Can DNSimple serve as a secondary DNS provider?

    While DNSimple cannot synchronize zone changes from other name servers using AXFR, you can combine our secondary DNS feature with our API or UI to have zone redundancy with other DNS providers. See DNSimple as a Secondary DNS provider.

  3. How can I check that my secondary DNS configuration is correct?

    If you are using one of the secondary DNS providers for which we provide prepared configuration, please let us know if you experience trouble. Otherwise, you should be able to find the proper values with in your provider’s documentation and should also be able to test the configuration on their end.

  4. How can I test that secondary DNS is working?

    Once you’ve added the proper configuration and verified with your secondary provider that they are able to make AXFR queries and receive zone transfers, you should be able to make a query to one or all of the secondary name servers with dig by pointing it at the secondary name servers. For example, if you wanted to check the resolution for and had added as a secondary DNS server, you could execute dig to check the records you’d set with DNSimple on the apex domain. If there is any difference between the response and what you get from DNSimple, you’ve likely misconfigured something.

  5. Is the order of the name servers relevant?

    The order of name servers in your registrar, whois record, NS record set, or secondary DNS configuration does not matter at all. Resolvers will make requests against the name servers in your whois record by randomly selecting one or multiple name servers provided there and the order does not matter.