Using an outside DNS provider....

I’m new to Virtualmin and have been an avid user of Webmin.
I am in the planning stage of implementing Virtualmin on Centos 5.2 for a college. The idea is to have students become “Resellers”, so that they can manage their own limited number of web-hosting accounts and emulate a “Web-Hosting-Provider”, for lack of a better definition.

The "virtual servers", akin to "<VirtualHost>" are to be accessible from the internet, meaning that domain names will have to be registered. I am thinking of having just a few registered domains and then using sub-domains to spread the load.

Before I try to set up the main and slave DNS servers locally, I would like to try and use an outside DNS provider.
I point the domains at the registrar to the name servers of the DNS provider, in turn pointing to the public/(static) IP of the college.

Would I disable DNS in Virtualmin or keep it enabled for local use?
What exactly are the caveats for not having DNS enabled locally?
Is this a workable solution?

Some of the reasons for trying it this way, are possible issues with having enough resources, resistance in opening the firewall to the additional DNS protocol on another server. I am also dealing with a primarily windows environment and am concerned about zone transfers.
Nothing insurmountable, but I want to keep it simple.

Oops, sorry…not sure how the double post came about.


Yeah, if you wanted to use external DNS servers, I’d disable it locally (which would be done by going into Features and Plugins and unchecking “BIND DNS domain”).

While you could leave that enabled, I think you’re just asking for trouble to be maintaining two lists of addresses across two different DNS servers.

It’s certainly a workable solution.

What you lose is the integration with Virtualmin – the fact that normally, Virtualmin would create/manage all those IP addresses for you, as well as allow users to modify their DNS records through the Virtualmin interface.

So, you’d just need to come up with another way to add those records to your external DNS server.

Thank you Eric,
for the speedy reply.

The records for the domains and sub-domains would be set up semi-permanently at the DNS provider. The students would get a list of sub-domains to choose from, with the domains named with interesting fictitious business names.
At the DNS provider, there is a way to delegate responsibilities to certain domains, much like the "Reseller" accounts in Virtualmin. Like this, the master administrator can wipe the records and have the students create them from data given to them.

This would all have to happen under supervision and could become quite an administrative burden, so I am contemplating keeping the records permanent and removing the option as described above.

So, from your reply, I gather that Virtualmin will still properly configure the virtual servers in httpd.conf, set up user directories (home/%user%/public_html) and mail but without the auto-configuration for DNS. Then as long as DNS on the outside will resolve for browsers, the sites should be accessible.

Would there be any additional manual configuration changes needed?

I appreciate your help in answering my questions. I wasn’t sure about some of these details despite reading most of the posts concerning DNS.


Hey Richard,

Well, if you need a hand coming up with interesting fictitious business names, just let me know, that sounds like fun! :slight_smile:

But, in regards to DNS – you should be fine in that regard.

You’d disable DNS in Virtualmin, but you can otherwise go about creating websites/email addresses and the like with no problem – it’ll use whatever IP addresses to do so that you assign to a given Virtual Server (the same as would happen if you were to host DNS locally).

You’ll of course want to test that, as perhaps there’s some setting in the mix I’m not thinking of – but in general what you’re asking is fairly straight forward to accomplish, you shouldn’t have a hard time at all doing that.

Good luck!