Setting up a free secondary DNS for Mail-in-a-Box

August 3, 2016

Introduction

When setting up your Mail-in-a-Box you are ask to point your nameservers of your domain to your newly setup box. On some domains this fails because they require two unique nameservers. Then you have leave the control of the nameserver to your hoster and set your records by hand. This sucks! Mail-in-a-Box v0.04 has added the possibilty to add a secondary nameserver that is fully under your control thus enabling you to host nearly any domain on your own.

Providers

When searching for a secondary dns provider I found this really awesome listing of free secondary dns providers. I quickly decided that I adopt the recommendations as they seemed resonable and I'm no expert on DNS.

puck.nether.net

puck.nether.net supports IPv4 as well IPv6 and implemented DNSSEC. So it supports all of the nice features of DNS security. Some drawbacks on them is that they have only one location and their webinterface is rather elementary. It also seems that this service is maintained by a private in person. So if you like support, maintenace etc. you should maybe not rely on them.

BuddyNS

BuddyNS has different server locations (US, Germany, Russia, India, Canada and Australia) and supports IPv6. Unfortunately they don't support DNSSEC. As this service is run by a company you can buy additional requests etc. So if your email is important you should choose them.

Setup

In this guide I'm using example.com as the Domain and 123.123.123.123 as the IP Address of your server.

Setup Mail-in-a-Box

Firstly setup Mail-in-a-Box as described in the Guide and skip the Configuring Your Domain Name step for now.

Setup with puck.nether.net

Go to your admin control panel and open the Custom DNS Panel and enter puck.nether.net in the Hostname-field under Using a Secondary Nameserver and click Update. Then open https://puck.nether.net/dns/login and either create a login when you have no one or login to your already existing account. Then go to Add a domain and your domain and the IP of your Mail-in-a-Box.

Setup with BuddyNS

When setting up BuddyNS you first have to choose which secondary nameserver you like to use from the list of possible nameservers. Either you could their recommandation tool by clicking on Recommend me or you choose it on your own. A good rule of thumb is to choose your secondary on another continent than your main server. In the example I will use d.ns.buddyns.com. Go to you admin control panel and open Custom DNS Panel and enter d.ns.buddyns.com in the Hostname-field under Using a Secondary Nameserver and click Update. Then go to https://www.buddyns.com/activation/ and enter your email, domain and ipadress and submit the form. This is bassically everything you need to do for BuddyNS. You can go Zones to view additional information.

Finsh setup

Then go to your domain provider and add only one glue record for ns1.box.example.com pointing to 123.123.123.123 (You find detailed instruction in the Mail-in-a-Box Guide). Then change your nameservers to ns1.box.example.com and puck.nether.net or d.ns.buddyns.com depending on your choice. If you chose puck.nether.net as your provider you can addionally add DNSSEC records. That's all! You can visit whatsmydns.net now and enter example.com, choose NS from the list and click Search to check if your new nameservers already propagated all over the world. Ideally every response should be ns1.box.example.com and puck.nether.net or d.ns.buddyns.com depending on your provider.