Admin Tools DNS Technology

DNS Helpful Tips

DNS or Domain Name System is the index off of the public internet. Allows you and computers to lookup computer addresses with human names. But also does much more than that.

  • Authorizes email as legit
  • Lets systems and people know what services are available
  • Sets up system redundancy for fail-over and fail back
  • Provides an authentication mechanism
  • And so much more…

For example lets say you want to tell a company like zoho that you own a dowmain name. Zoho can say, OK if that is you domain name, then prove it by updating the domain DNS and add some data that only I(zoho) know about. If you own the domain only you can update the DNS. Here is my my secret data. So I would go into my DNS manager, and add the secret code in my DNS. Then Zoho would query the my DNS record to see if their secret is there. If it is them the assumption is I own it.

That type of task or transaction is common when doing things like buying a domain name, and then hosting your email for your domain name in a cloud service like Zoho. What they will do is ask you to create a TXT record in your DNS.

DNS Records have types. Below is how you would or Zoho in this situation would query DNS to see what txt records exists for a domain. Keep in mind everything in DNS is public to the world, so never put anything that should not be shared with the world in it.

To check a TXT record in nslookup

jaywalker@Jays-Mac-mini ~ % nslookup -type=txt

Non-authoritative answer:    text = “”    text = “v=spf1 ~all”

Another type that exists is what is called SOA (Start of Authority). Ever domain name has a single master DNS Record. Then that master DNS record is copied throughout the world so that where ever you are in the world, you have a DNS server close to you with information to lookup the computer IP address of a human DNS Name by service type. What is actually copied is who the SOA is, then if the DNS name is looked up one time, that info is cached. But more on that later.

Find Start of Authority DNS Server

jaywalker@Jays-Mac-mini ~ % nslookup -type=soa

Non-authoritative answer:
    origin =
    mail addr =
    serial = 2021092400
    refresh = 28800
    retry = 7200
    expire = 604800
    minimum = 600

Authoritative answers can be found from:

Caching and the Design of DNS

Like we said earlier, SOA’s are the master record of a DNS name. And what is copied all over the world to other DNS servers is the SOA to Domain name list to top level domain servers.

Whats a Top Level Domain?

.com or .us or .net or .org

Top is all the way to the right, everything to the right of the very last period.

So if you have a domain name like the top level domain name is .com and your domain name is And there is a server out there that has all the SOA server to your domain name index on it.

Root Servers

Root zones are authoritative name servers that serve the DNS root zone. Most people call them “Root Servers”. Its basically a bunch of servers around the world.

OK, so we are going to get a little in the weeds here. When I say a bunch of servers I mean hundreds. For example SCJohnson out of Racine Wisconsin in the US has some root servers. All of this information is public information. And the Governing authority IANA has an agreement with SCJohnson about how they will manager their root servers. There is a lot of work and responsibility when running a root server, take a look and explore the agreements in the link below.

Root servers have every SOA for every top level domain name. In addition to some top level domain name A(CNAME) and AAA Records. For example, there are servers a-m(13 servers) for the .com domain name.

com.		172800	IN	NS
com.		172800	IN	NS
com.		172800	IN	NS
com.		172800	IN	NS
com.		172800	IN	NS
com.		172800	IN	NS
com.		172800	IN	NS
com.		172800	IN	NS
com.		172800	IN	NS
com.		172800	IN	NS
com.		172800	IN	NS
com.		172800	IN	NS
com.		172800	IN	NS

Here is how a query works. We will use the example of sherry turns on a computer, opens a web browser, and navigates to

  • Sherrys computer web browser will look at the computers storage memory(cache) for a existing dns lookup for Lets say Sherry never went to the web site before, sherrys computer will now look at the computers network configuration, and find out what the DNS servers are on sherrys computer. And send a query to the DNS servers. Probably a local internet service providers computer. Sherrys computer will not send that query to that area DNS Server. Lets say the computers DNS IP is which belongs to
  • The internet service providers(ISP) DNS server lets say has never looked up, in that case the dns server will reference a root server to find out what DNS server in the world has master DNS Record. If the charter DNS server had looked up the domain name, the ISP DNS server would have simple returned the IP address to sherry. The ISP will reference the list of Root Servers which exist on every DNS Server starting with the first one. If offling or busy, the next root server is tried. The Root server tells the ISP DNS server to try the server This server will know what SOA DNS IP(Start of Authority Domain Name Server Internet Protocol Address).
  • You might as, how does the ISP DNS server know what the IP of the is? good questions, the Root servers always have the lookup IP address of all top level domain name DNS servers.	172800	IN	A
  • So now the ISP DNS server reaches out to and asks the question, What is the SOA for And the IP responds with Now the ISP DNS server sends a query to and asks whats the IP of the host name which responds to the ISP DNS which is cached on the ISP DNS server ffor the amoutnof time in the expire setting of the domain name (TTL), the the ISP DNS forwards that response to Sherrys computer, which in tern also caches(remembers) the IP address lookup for
  • If the domain name is tried again for Sherry or anyone else who uses the ISP DNS server, the cached record is used instead of having to back to root servers and then a SOA server.

There you have it. An system designed for redundancy and efficiency and control. Does a lot of work and provides a lot of servers, and it is free. Kinda, but not really. Cost to run all this infrastructure is spread out through tons of servers like internet connections, hosting costs and so much more.

DNS SSL Technology

Adding SSL to your GoDaddy Site for Free

Security is important, and web browser makers are making SSL pretty much mandatory. If you purchase a ssl cert you will be spending some coin, plus IMHO it is more complicated that doing it for free.

I will show you how I setup my GoDaddy sites with SSL certificates using and DoDaddy DNS.


  1. DNS Hosting on GoDaddy
  2. Web Sites Hosted on GoDaddy

Tools You May Use

  1. web site Please donate for the free service relative to your income. It keeps these type of services affordable for everyone.
  2. Web site
  3. Web site
  4. Web site
  5. Command or terminal prompt with nslookup

Step 1

Log into GoDaddy and click on DNS >> Manage Zones

Type in your domain name you want to add SSL to

look for existing TXT records that are named _acme-challenge and you see any delete them

Next, go to the web site and enter that same domain name without the www in it, click “Create Free SSL Certificates”

You will have three options, choose the Manual Verification DNS option.

Then click “Manually Verify Domain” button

  • Add a TXT record
  • Copy form sslforfree the host _acme.challenge and paste into host field of GoDaddy TXT record
  • Copy the value and paste into GoDaddy TXT Value field
  • Change the GoDaddy TTL to Custom and the Seconds to 600. that is the lowest GoDaddy allows.
  • Do the same fo the www record also. It will be identical to the first one but the _acme-challenge will have .www in it also
  • No open each sslForFree verify links in a new browser tab. Normally DNS record updates are available within 60 seconds or less. You should see something like the below. Key on the first sentance “TXT Record(s) Found.” if you see that you are good.

If you do NOT see that but rather see the below error, Go To Troubleshooting below.

No TXT Record Found. Make to set the TTL to 1 second or if you cannot set the TTL then you must wait the TTL (in seconds) so it updates before verifying the domain. Contact your DNS provider if unsure.

Assuming your DNS TXT records checked out, you can now click the button “Download SSL Certificate”. This will generate the certificate, private key and CA Bundle. These three blocks of text are required to be copied and pasted into GoDaddy. It will take about 30 seconds for the certs to be generated.

Once certificate is generated

  • Go to CPanel >> Search for SSL and select SSL/TLS.
  • Now Select Manage SSL Certificates link
  • Copy and Paste your certificate in the field called Certificate (CRT) and click the AutoFill by Certificate button
  • Copy and Paste the sslforfree field called private key into the GoDaddy Private Key (KEY) Field
  • Finally click the button at the bottom Install Certificate
  • Congrats, your SSL Cert is installed.
Click SSL/TLS link
Click the AutoFill by Certificate



  1. Confirm the SOA DNS shows your text records
  2. Confirm replication is taking place throughout the world

Use the Tools to verify Replication

  1. web site
  2. web site
  3. command or terminal prompt with nslookup

Confirm SOA is Correct

SOA or Start of Authority is what I call the master DNS Record holder. This is the GoDaddy name server that holds your DNS Records (what you just changed) and those changes get replicated to hundreds of DNS servers in the world. One of which SslForFree will query to see if your TXT record exists during verification.

To Get your DNS GoDaddy DNS server name you can use Enter your domain name and click SOA Lookup. This will show you the DNS server that your master DNS Record is in. the SOA server name is the Mname.

Once you know the master SOA server name you can use a command prompt to see if the Master Server is the issue or replication of DNS is the issue.

Go to your terminal prompt or command prompt and enter nslookup -q=TXT and the mName from SOA lookup tool. Obviously replace with your actual domain name.

Example lookup

This will return either the text value of the TXT record you queried, or will return “server can’t find NXDOMAIN”. this means that your actual DNS Record may be entered incorrectly, or there is a problem with the GoDaddy DNS server, contact GoDaddy.

WARNING: GoDaddy will certainly help with the DNS, but no so much with you trying to use the ssl from SSLFor Free. The sell a product for ssl certificates, and that is what they will recommend. So keep the call about DNS only.

Once your SOA DNS server is returning both TXT records, try and refresh the sslForFree verify pages again. Could be the replication has made it to them, and you can move on to generating your cert. If not yet, check the replication of the master SOA DNS Records. Go to and select TXT for the type and enter your full TXT Record including the domain name. You should see a map with either Green checks or red x’s. If you are green, then at this point you should be able to generate your ssl certs, and copy paste the cert, private key and ca bundle to GoDaddy and install your cert.

If you are still having issues, you should probably buy the GoDaddy certificate.