Vanity Nameservers: What are they and how do I set them up?

A vanity nameserver is a name server that is branded to a website of your choice, instead of our public name servers. This can make your site appear more professional, by masking the fact you’re using our name servers.

Setting up vanity name servers on shared hosting, would be much different than running your own custom name servers on either a VPS or dedicated server. As these run completely separate from our public name servers.

With vanity name servers you are just hiding or masking the hostname of our public name servers, but the IP addresses and the physical servers handling your website’s DNS requests would still be our public name servers.

Why use vanity name servers?

When you do a Whois lookup on your domain, or if you use our domain routing tool, anyone can see the name servers that your domain name points to. For instance if your domain was example.com here is what you’d see:

Before vanity name servers:

NS1.INMOTIONHOSTING.COM NS2.INMOTIONHOSTING.COM

After vanity name servers:

NS1.EXAMPLE.COM NS2.EXAMPLE.COM

Using vanity name servers allows you to hide the fact that your website actually relies on our public name servers.

Setting up Vanity name servers on shared hosting

To setup vanity nameservers, you need to create two A (address) DNS records pointed at our public name server IP addresses. Typically you’ll point one for ns1. and one for ns2. followed by your domain of choice, but the DNS records you create can be anything of your choosing, so long as you also register those hosts with your domain Registrar.

The steps below go over setting up vanity name servers on the example.com domain:

  1. Login to your cPanel.
  2. Under the Domains section, click on Simple DNS Zone Editor.
  3. Select your domain name from the Domain drop-down.

    Under the Add an A Record section, fill in these values:

    Name: ns1
    Address: 74.124.210.242

    When clicking off of the Name field, it will convert to the format ns1.example.com.

    Now click on Add a Record, you should see a success message of:

    Added Record ns1.example.com. > 74.124.210.242

  4. Still in the Simple DNS Zone Editor.

    Under the Add an A Record section, fill in these values:

    Name: ns2
    Address: 70.39.150.2

    When clicking off of the Name field, it will convert to the format ns2.example.com.

    Now click on Add a Record, you should see a success message of:

    Added Record ns2.example.com. > 70.39.150.2

  5. After that, down under the User-Defined Records section you should now see:

    ns1.example.com. A 74.124.210.242
    ns2.example.com. A 70.39.150.2

  6. If you registered your domain name through InMotion Hosting you can use our guide on changing your domain nameservers in AMP, to switch your domain from using our public name servers to your new vanity name servers.

    Otherwise you’ll need to let your domain Registrar know about the name server change, and you can follow our guides for updating nameservers for domains registered elsewhere if this is the case.

    You need to let them know that you’re trying to run name servers from your domain name. This typically involves going to a section in their control panel labeled something along the lines of maintain name servers under this domain, it can also be referred to as domain hosts, or glue records.

    Once you’ve registered your new vanity name servers with your domain Registrar, it can take 24-48 hours before they become fully active. After they’ve become active you can go ahead and point any of your other domains that you have hosted with us to these newly created vanity name servers, instead of our public name servers.

Once you’ve registered your new vanity name servers with your domain Registrar, it can take 24-48 hours before they become fully active. After they’ve become active you can go ahead and point any of your other domains that you have hosted with us to these newly created vanity name servers, instead of our public name servers.

Thoughts on “Vanity Nameservers: What are they and how do I set them up?

  • Hi,

    I have followed your instructions, yet when doing a nslookup of my domain, after allowing dns propagation, it still shows the public nameserver.

    • Changes to DNS may require up to 24 hours before they apply. Additionally, you need to make sure that you have cleared your browser cache. If you continue to have the same problem, then you will need to contact our live technical support team for review of the issue.

  • How to switch back from a vanity name server back to my public name server when my website is ready to go to the public? Thank you! 

    • Vanity nameservers should work publically. I’m not sure how your set up is that you would need to switch back. Ideally, you should just need to change the nameservers in the domain registrar.

  • I am planning to install a SSL certificate on the Business Hosting Pro plan, as there is a dedicated IP address assigned if we do so. Can we have a Custom Name Server instead of Vanity Name Server? Do you support .au domains hosted with Netregistry? If so, is the setup process similar to How to Add Custom Name Servers

     

    Thanks in advance,

    Sue.

    • Hello Sue,

      Yes it is similar to using custom name servers. We can not manage .au top-level-domains, but you should be able to point them to our servers using the name servers. Please see Using Custom Name Servers.

      If you have any further questions or comments, please let us know.

      Regards,
      Arnel C.

  • Many thanks for this info, but i have an issue here which is after following all these steps and when i’m trying to update the NS in godaddy with my new names it showing me the following error

    You must enter a registered nameserver.

    One or more invalid nameservers.

    • Step 6 above should allow you to register, or glue the records. If your domain is registered with us, Live Support should be able to walk you through this step.

      Thank you,
      John-Paul

  • Can vanity nameservers be used with a VPS package ? Or is therea similar option ? I dont see that option in the spec of the vps packages (in some other companies vps packages I see it stated as “custom nameservers”). Can you please shed some light on this and explain what the options are in the case of a vps package (and if it includes extra costs).

     

    Thank you.

  • You should include instructions at the top about adding the nameserver domain as a parked domain first, in order to see the domains dropdown in Step 3.

    • Hello Chris,

      Thank you for your comment. I have updated the article to reflect the correct Nameserver names. You may have to clear your browser cache before seeing the changes.

      If you have any further questions, feel free to post them below.
      Thank you,

      -John-Paul

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