Custom / Vanity DNS servers... are they required?

Hi folks,

I’m playing about getting Virtualmin setup on an Amazon Lightsail Ubuntu instance and I have run Webmin/Virtualmin instances on Amazon EC2 Ubuntu instances in the past.

It would seem that almost all the recent Virtualmin setup guides and videos out there (from DigitalOcean and the like…) mention the prerequisite of setting up custom nameservers (e.g. ns1.yourdomain.tld, ns2.yourdomain.tld) and then proceed with setting the hostname and FQDN on the instance. I have set the hostname and FQDN on instances in the past without too much trouble (granted it seemed to grind Lightsail instances to a halt?!) but reading up on establishing custom nameservers is just a minefield of conflicting and outdated information.

I’m having a hard time understanding one, why custom nameservers are needed and two, what exactly defines a custom nameserver. Are they 2 x A records pointed at the static IP of the instance… are they GLUE records that need to be setup with the registrar… are they aliases pointing to the Lightsail / EC2 nameservers?

To explain what I will be running on this particular instance: 1 single Wordpress website, 1 primary and 2 additional domains pointed at it (all resolving to the primary domain), 2 or 3 email mailboxes for the primary domain (undecided on config but likely send / receive via IMAP). Will the likes of this be dependent on getting custom nameservers in place?

Thanks in advance folks and apologies for the noob question


You do NOT need to run a nameserver at all with Virtualmin. If you’d prefer you can simply disable DNS, and host your DNS records for instance at the domain registrar, however the reason most DO host DNS records is it makes setting a lot of DNS related stuff up quick and simple.

If you’d like to discuss this and anything else further, I invite you to a direct conversation over Skype or WhatsApp. Drop me an email if you’d like to setup some time to go over any questions you may have about setting Virtualmin for your needs.

Thanks Peter,

As it happens I have a Virtualmin instance running on EC2 without BIND / nameserver and it runs without issue. Any DNS records for the website hosted on the instance were managed in my registrars control panel.

Something was telling me however that BIND becomes necessary if I begin sending and receiving email from this server, configuring DKIM / DMARC, etc… Hopefully I am mistaken as tbh, I would prefer to use AWS Lightsail nameservers as opposed to running my own on my single instance, with single static IP too


As previously mentioned, you do NOT need to use DNS on Virtualmin if you’d prefer to use an externally hosted DNS service.

When it comes to DKIM, the key itself will be generated locally on the machine hosting email, so if this is the Virtualmin machine it will create the private / public key pair, and further it will sign the outgoing messages. However, you can copy the “public” key found Virtualmin to the external DNS server being used.

DMARC is similar to SPF in that it’s a record you create independently, which tells other providers how to deal with email that doesn’t validate, and where to send a report accordingly.



Where do you find the DKIM “public” key that needs to be copied to the external DNS?