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Making DNS Changes to the Domain Bought from HostGator

This article will address how you can manage a domain's DNS within cPanel and manage the name servers in the Customer Portal.

DNS Zone Functions

The following information will assist you in understanding the purpose of each DNS zone.

DNS TermsDescription
Name ServersThese assist in finding the server and correct DNS zone for a domain to get the information on other DNS zone records.
NS RecordsThese must match the nameservers being used.
A RecordsThis points the domain to an IP address (e.g., mydomain.com -> IP address).
CNAME RecordsThese point subdomains to another domain name like www and mail. (e.g. www.domain.com -> domain.com).
MX RecordsThese control where emails are sent and received. If the mail is hosted on another server, then the MX records need to be changed. (e.g. domain.com -> mail server).
TXT RecordsThese are custom records that contain machine-readable data. TXT records must be formatted according to whichever technology you are trying to use.

For more information on the purpose and use of each DNS record, please refer to the following article:

Managing a Domain's Name Servers in the Customer Portal

With domains purchased through HostGator, you may update the domain's name servers directly through the Customer Portal. Please refer to the instructions below to guide you through this process.

  1. Log in to your Customer Portal.
    If you cannot log in, you can request a reset link to be emailed to you by going here and providing your Customer Portal email address.
  2. Click on Domains in the side menu.

    HostGator Customer Portal - Domains Selected in Menu

  3. Within Manage Domains, you will see the domains you bought from HostGator along with a quick view of the following domain information:

    Customer Portal - Domains Status

    • Expiration: The domain's expiration date.
    • Renew: Whether or not the domain is set to renew automatically.
    • Lock: The lock status of the domain.
    • Privacy: The privacy protection status of the domain.
      Note: There is a yearly fee associated with Domain Privacy.
  4. To manage a domain's Name Servers, click on the domain name or the More button.
  5. In the side panel tabs, select Name Servers.
  6. Configure the name servers for the domain.
    Automatically point my domain to my hosting account — Select this if you have only 1 hosting package in your account.
    Manually set my name servers — Use this if you wish to point your website to another server or if your hosting plan is with another hosting provider aside from HostGator.

    Customer Portal - Name Server Fields

  7. Click Save Name Servers.
    Note: It takes 24 to 48 hours before name server changes are fully propagated as networks around the world updated with your domain's new DNS information. Until then, some traffic may go to the old name server(s). Please be patient once name server changes are made, as this is normal.

For more information on how to access and use the Manage Domains feature in the Customer Portal, please read the article: Managing Domains from HostGator?

Managing a Domain's DNS in cPanel

Domain Name Servers MUST be Pointed to HostGator: For the DNS changes within cPanel to properly work, the domain must be using HostGator's name servers or private name servers registered with HostGator IPs.

If you need to update individual DNS for your domain, this article will address how you can manage them within cPanel for your HostGator Shared accounts. For more information on changing DNS Zones for Reseller, WHM, and Plesk accounts, please see Changing DNS Zones (MX, CNAME, and A Records).

There are two ways to add a new DNS record:

  • Option 1:
    Click the appropriate + button in the Zone Editor section and provide the necessary details.

    This applies only to A, CNAME, and MX records.

    cPanel - Add DNS


The following DNS will be covered:

  • A Record

    To add A records:

    1. Log in to cPanel.
    2. In the Domains section of cPanel, click Zone Editor.

      HostGator cPanel - Advanced Zone Editor

    3. From the Actions tab, click on the +A record button.
    4. Add the Name and Address of an A record and click on the Add An A Record button.

      cPanel - Add A Record

  • CNAME Record

    To add CNAME records:

    1. Log in to cPanel.
    2. In the Domains section of cPanel, click Zone Editor.

      HostGator cPanel - Advanced Zone Editor

    3. From the Actions tab, click on the +CNAME Record button.
    4. Add the Name and CNAME of a CNAME Record and click on the Add A CNAME Record button.

      cPanel - Add CNAME Record

    Note: A commonly used CNAME is for www so that it loads the same website as the main domain name. For example, www.snappygator.com will point to the same website as snappygator.com.
  • To add MX records:

    1. Log in to cPanel.
    2. In the Domains section of cPanel, click Zone Editor.

      HostGator cPanel - Advanced Zone Editor

    3. From the Actions tab, click on the +MX Record button.
    4. Add the Integer and Destination of an MX Record and click on the Add An MX Record button.

      cPanel - Add MX Record

      What would happen if two MX Records have the same priority?
      The lowest-numbered priority is the most preferred. If two MX Records have the same priority, the SMTP Sending Server will select one at random when delivering emails.
    5. Suppose you require to make changes in Email Routing options. Local Mail Exchanger is the preferable option. However, you can select any one of them as per your need.
      Note: Options Automatically Detect Configuration, Local Mail Exchanger, Backup Mail Exchanger, and Remote Mail Exchanger will be displayed. For more information on which one to use, please see Local, Backup, and Remote Mail Exchanger.
    Note: cPanel is not able to display any record ending with a comment. If you include a comment, cPanel indicates no MX records and that it is defaulting to the main A record, but this is not true. While it is legitimate to have comments at the end of your records, cPanel will not understand.
  • SPF Record

    To add SPF records:

    1. Log in to cPanel.
    2. In the Email section, click the Email Deliverability icon.

      cPanel Deliverability Icon

    3. Navigate to the  Manage button of the domain you will be modifying.

      Manage domain's DKIM

    4. On the next page, scroll down and click the Install the Suggested Record button.

      Install DKIM

  • Option 2:
    Click the +Add Record button. Once the DNS Type is selected, enter the necessary details to complete, then click Add Record.
    For this method, aside from the A, CNAME, and MX, you can also add an AAAA, SRV, and TXT record.

    cPanel- Add Recprd

  • TXT Record

    To add TXT records:

    1. Log in to cPanel.
    2. In the Domains section, click Zone Editor.

      HostGator cPanel - Advanced Zone Editor

    3. On the next page, locate the domain name you need to manage.
    4. Click Manage to view the domain's complete set of DNS records.

      Email Account Manage

    5. Click the +Add Record button and select Add "TXT" Record.

      Email Account TXT Record

    6. Enter details in the Name, TTL, and Record fields.

      Email Account TXT Add TXT Record

    7. Click Add Record to save. 
Propagation: DNS zone record changes such as A, MX, and CNAME records can typically take 0 to 4 hours to resolve but are known to take as long as 8 hours to propagate fully.
If you need assistance with your DNS zone changes, don't hesitate to contact us via phone or Live Chat with your account details, and be prepared to verify your identity to protect your account.