Configure Dreamhost to act as a DNS for your Posterous Custom Domain

Posterous added the ability to have a custom domain point to your posterous blog back in summer 2008.  To setup your domain with posterous is relatively simple.  You need to go to your posterous settings for your blog, and add your domain in the “Custom domain name” text box in the “Addresses and such” section.  Then it is necessary to go to your DNS host for your domain (quite often this is hosted by the company you registered your domain with), and add “A type” records for your root domain, and the “www” prefix if you want that to forward as well.  In my case the registrar I used for zittlau.ca does not provide DNS services, so the use of a third-party DNS service was required.

I had previously been using editdns’s free DNS service, but due to recent DDOS attacks they have decided to limit the free services that they will be continuing to provide.  Fortunately the same week as this announcement there happened to be a deal on dreamhost to get one year of hosting, including a domain registration for ~$10.  I jumped on the opportunity to move my DNS over to dreamhost, and get the additional benefit of a proxy which I can use to listen to pandora/last.fm from Canada by appearing to be in the US  (I’ll make a post about this later).  

I unfortunately ran into some issues when I attempted to configure the DNS to forward to posterous.  Dreamhost had already assigned A type records to point to their own server as “Non-editable”.  When I attempted to added A type entries to point to the posterous IP (67.207.139.81), zittlau.ca worked correctly and forwarded to posterous, but www.zittlau.ca would not forward.  Doing some checking using nslookup, I discovered that zittlau.ca had setup my custom IP as it’s primary DNS entry, but that www.zittlau.ca was still using the dreamhost webhost as the primary IP address, and my custom IP as the secondary.  

Through some searching I was able to figure out that what I needed to do to remove the web hosting from the domain in Dreamhost.  I’ve attached an image that shows the somewhat scary “Delete” button that needs to be clicked to accomplish this.  Be careful following this procedure if you already host a website at your domain on Dreamhost.  It is possible that clicking this button could delete your files from dreamhosts server, so make sure you back them up first!  If you’re like me and have just moved to dreamhost, or are adding a new domain that doesn’t have a site yet built for it, then you are free to go ahead and click that button.

Clicking this button dreamhost removes the web services from the domain, along with the “Non-editable” DNS entries that are likely causing conflicts.  At this point you should be able to go add A type entries to point to the posterous IP for both the www subdomain, as well as the root domain.  Without the web hosting and the “Non-editable” A records, these should now become the primary DNS resolved IP addresses so that users will be forwarded to your posterous when they visit them (once a few hours have passed for the DNS changes to propagate).

After following this procedure, now the nslookups for both zittlau.ca and www.zittlau.ca resolve to the expected posterous IP (67.207.139.81), and my domain behaves as expected, forwarding users to my posterous blog.

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  • Ricardo Barra

    Hi,Thanks for your post. Maybe you can help me… I have a domain called http://www.ricardobarra.cl and want to redirect to my posterous blog: http://chuqui.posterous.com(The dot “CL” is because I am from Chile, but it acts the same as if it was a .com or .net domain)In my Posterous settings, I filled the “Addresses and such” section with “chuqui” in the first textfield, and “ricardobarra.cl” in the second field. (I also tried witht “www.ricardobarra.cl”).I checked the “Verify name server” option, then click on Save, and Posterous shows an error:”Oops. We ran into 1 problem!Try to fix these issues and try again.* Virtual host has no nameservers (NS records) set up”…even though I already put “67.207.139.81” in the IP Number of the Primary DNS Server at my registrar. Also, in my registrar, I put “www.ricardobarra.cl” in the “Name of the server” field (for the Primary DNS Server section).Now, if you type http://www.ricardobarra.cl in your browser, you will be redirected to Posterous home page, not to my personal blog.Did I do something wrong? Would you please help me?Thanks in advance,Ricardo

  • Ben Zittlau

    Hi Ricardo,The problem you are running into is that it appears your registrar does not provide a DNS service. This is not uncommon, but it means you need to find what is called a “domain name system” (DNS) host for your domain. There are many alternatives out there that offer this form of service, though most of them do require some monthly fee. An example of a free service is editdns.net, though as I mention in the original post they starting to limit the services that are available for free. Once you have setup a DNS host, they would provide you with the server host name or IP address to put into the “Primary DNS Server” field in the settings at your registrar.To give some background theory, what happens (and I’m paraphrasing a bit here) when someone puts “www.ricardobarra.cl” into their browsers address bar is that a request will be sent to a name server for the “top-level domain” .cl. This is turn is going to redirect the person who’s looking for your page to the DNS server which you set up for your domain (this is the component you’re currently missing). Finally once you’ve configured your new DNS host correctly, this will direct the individual to your blog at posterous.I hope this has helped.Ben

  • Ricardo Barra

    Hi,After some weeks, I must thank you for the help provided. Best wishes,Ricardo

  • Ricardo Barra

    Hello again, Ben.Hello,I am struggling with my domains, can you help me? I have my blog at http://chuqui.posterous.com and also have 2 domains: placerdigital.cl and placerdigital.net (let’s forget about the ricardobarra.cl mentioned before)I want to do the same thing you did with zittlau.ca, but with placerdigital.cl AND placerdigital.net So… I opened an account in Dreamhost, but don’t know how to do it. I already added an “A Record” for placerdigital.net and put the 67.207.139.81 address, but it’s not working.And for the placerdigital.cl domain, I try to add that domain, but Dreamhost says “You can’t add that domain: already in our system”, although it is not listed in the “Manage Domains” section…I will appreciate your help. And… am I able to use those 2 domains go to my Posterous blog?Thanks.

  • Tim Chemacki

    Thanks for this post, it’s just what I was looking for!I’m actually trying to add my Posterous blog to a subdomain hosted on Dreamhost, but the concept is the same. Instead of deleting hosting for “mydomain.com”, I deleted it for “subdomain.mydomain.com” and added the appropriate “A” records for “subdomain.mydomain.com” and “www.subdomain.mydomain.com”. Now I’m waiting for the changes to ripple through the system…

  • Ben Zittlau

    Tim;Glad I could help. I haven’t tried using a subdomain yet, but as far as I know you’re exactly right and once the DNS changes have propagated through it should work as expected.Ricardo;Posterous currently only allows you to configure domain for each blog. However, this does not mean that you can’t use both your domains to forward users to your blog, but the domain that you configure to be the main domain will be the one that will appear in users address bars. In other words one domain will work as I’ve described, but the other domain will be “forwarded” to it. To accomplish this, choose which domain you want to be your primary domain and configure it as explained in the post. Once you have done this, go into the DNS settings for the other domain and create a “CNAME” record for it, with the value of the *other* domain. E.G. if you decide placerdigital.cl will be your primary domain, create a “CNAME” DNS record for placerdigital.net with a value of placerdigital.cl. As far as your issues with placerdigital.cl already being in dreamhosts system; if it’s not listed for you that would suggest some other user has added it. If you are the legitimate owner of the domain I would contact dreamhost support to have them straighten out the issue.Regards,Ben

  • Tim Chemacki

    Hi Ben–I just wanted to follow-up to let you know that this worked for the subdomain as well. It took a few hours for the propagation to complete, but it works now.

  • Ricardo Barra

    Thanks a lot, Ben.Now I have placerdigital.net working fine for my Posterous blog. I will do what you suggest with placerdigital.cl, but the good thing is that I understood perfectly your explanation. Regards.

  • Jo Jordan

    Hi Ben, I hope you can still remember the in-and-outs of Posterous and Dreamhost and I hope you can check my logic for me!1. I have a Posterous blog2. I have a spanking new Dreamhost account.3. I have a WordPress.com blog (the free version)4. I have registered a domain name which is up and running.MY PLAN, which I am beginning to think was ill conceived. ran like this.1. Link my registered name to my Posterous account. So jojordan.posterous.com would become jojordan.org.2. Set up a domain called blog.jojordan.org and self-host my wordpress blog on Dream host.I understand from your advice that I can achieve 1 quite easily (and to do so I must delete the blog set up already)My question is whether I will then be able to set up a blog with a subdomain name. Bearing in mind the domain name is now linked to posterous, can I host a subdomain on Dreamhost?This really is a Dreamhost question, I know, but … well we won’t go there. Any advice? I get the feeling I have got my plan wrong!

  • Jo Jordan

    I didn’t sign off very well there.Many thanks if you are able to help,Jo

  • Ben Zittlau

    Hi Jo,Fortunately this should actually be quite easy to setup with Dreamhost. Once you have your base domain setup for posterous, simply go into the “Manage Domains” section of the Dreamhost control panel, and click on the “Add New Domain/ Sub-domain” button. Here just setup your sub-domain as usual (i.e. in the “Domain to host” box put blog. jojordon.org), and it should be added to your list of domains. Install your wordpress blog on your sub-domain, and once the update DNS entires propagate you should be good to go!Regards,Ben

  • Jo Jordan

    Thanks Ben.I’ll have a go. Last instructions I followed wiped out my entire account it seems!

  • Justin Maxwell

    Thanks for this post. Right now mine is just redirecting to posterous.com — not sure why — but I’ll try again tomorrow.

  • Tahir Akram

    Hi people;I am unable to configure my custom subdomain blog.tahirakram.com for my posterous tahirakram.posterous.com.Following are the steps that I did;1. Created a subdomain on my hosting panel blog.tahirakram.com 2. Updated name servers to point hosting provider 3. Added A record with name: tahirakram.com with value: 67.207.139.81 4. Added CNAME with name: blog.tahirakram.com with value posterous.com (read here) 5. On my posterous setting page added blog.tahirakram.com as custom domain. But it gave this error message. Virtual host is not currently pointing to the right place. We found the following: A RECORD: 216.108.235.178. Please set your DNS servers to the correct address (A record to ‘67.207.139.81’) and try againI really appreciate your help in resolving this issue. I must be doing some thing wrong thats why I stuck on it.

  • Jo Jordan

    I cannot remember what I eventually did and sadly didn’t find time to write it out.My best guess (but it is not a good one) is that you matching the DNS no 67….. to tahirakram.com and then pointing Posterous to blog.tahirakram.com. I am guessing though. I don’t know what I am doing!”Art” was very helpful and at one point he sent me this message. “My email address is arta@dreamhost.com and I can bereached Sunday – Thursday 12pm till 8pm PST.”Or just send a ticket to Posterous. They are pretty good at responding.When you have solved your problem, do you think you could write a step by step tutorial and put it here? I should have done.Hope you solve it,Jo

  • Tahir Akram

    Thanks Jo for quick reply;I have sent the said issue to posterous.I am confused over configuring both A record and CNAME for subdomain.See, as you guess: I am pointing (A, @ record) tahirakram.com to 67.xyz and blog.tahirakram.com to posterous.com.Question: Should I have to configure blog.tahirakram.com to 67.xyz? And should not configure CNAME?I dont know why Posterous didnot identifying that I have set up A record.I am not using dreamhost. And my hosting provider are not helping me out on it.I love to get some more advise. Jo, I am very thankful to you.

  • Jo Jordan

    Truthfully, Tahir, I have no idea. But I don’t think you have anything to lose by trying.Match blog.t….. to 67.x and leave CNAME out. If it works, then all done!But really, I don’t know. I struggled to do mine and when I look over the emails, they are incomprehensible.Let us know how it goes! Its midnight here. So I am packing up for the night but will look in about ten hours from now.Cheers and good luck!

  • Ben Zittlau

    Hi Tahir,If I understand what you are trying to do correctly, you want both blog.tahirakram.com and tahirakram.com to take users to your posterous blog. If this is the case you need to setup A records for both your base domain and the blog. subdomain to point to 67.207.139.81. In this case because both URL’s are on the tahirakram.com domain CNAME’s aren’t needed; CNAME’s are only required if you are trying to use two URL’s that are on *different* domains. On a side note, performing nslookups on both your URL’s currently yields:Non-authoritative answer:Name: tahirakram.comAddress: 216.108.235.178Which probably means that either they’re not setup for the posterous IP (67.207.139.81) yet, or that your changes might not have propogated yet.Let me know if anything here isn’t clear.Regards,Ben

  • Tahir Akram

    Hi Ben;You are very near. I DONT want tahirakram.com to goto posterous.I want blog.tahirakram.com to goto posterous.For tahirakram.com I am thinking to make a redirect to blog.tahirakram.com URL.Why I added A record for tahirakram.com is, because its suggested by posterous. And I dont know, what should I do for subdomain if I dont want my base URL to goto posterous.THIS IS THE POINT OF MY CONFUSION. And you question on it.Ben, tell me one thing. As Jo suggested. I think I should delete CNAME entry. And should map A record with my subdomain. That sounds appealing for me. What you think? I mean A record, blog.tahirakram.com to point 67.207.139.81.Thanks Jo and Ben, I am very thankful to you guys.See, if there is some advise for me.Tahir

  • Tahir Akram

    I have deleted CNAME.I have deleted existing A record and created a new A record that is blog.tahirakram.com to 67.207.139.81.But when I press Save Settings, it gave me following error message.to Virtual host is not currently pointing to the right place. We found the following: . Please set your DNS servers to the correct address (A record to ‘67.207.139.81’) and try again.So will it take time to propagate. Ok. I will wait. And press Save Settings after a day. If it get settled.

  • Prada shoes

    truthfully, Tahir, I have no idea. But I don’t think you have anything to lose by trying.Match blog.t….. to 67.x and leave CNAME out. If it works, then all done!But really, I don’t know. I struggled to do mine and when I look over the emails, they are incomprehensible.Let us know how it goes! Its midnight here. So I am packing up for the night but will look in about ten hours from now.Cheers and good luck!

  • Din Freebies

    I must thank you for the help provided. Best wishes

  • anjaliprasad

    Congratulations dude!!Great work…You did it so well…configure domain is really a difficult task.Pretty good blog…. I just stumbled upon your web-site and wanted to point out that I’ve honestly enjoyed reading your web-site posts…. I’ll sign up for your feed and I hope you publish another post again shortly!

  • ads1

    Thanks a lot, this is exactly what I needed. Much appreciated, if I could send a beer over the interweb I would have!