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Making DNS Changes to the Domain Bought from HostGator

In this article, we 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 RecordsThese point 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 are what need to be changed. (e.g. domain.com -> mail server).
TXT RecordsThese are custom records which 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 into your Customer Portal.
    If you are unable to login, 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 update 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).

The following DNS will be covered:

  • A Record

    To add A records:

    1. Log into cPanel.
    2. In the Domains section, click Advanced Zone Editor.

      HostGator cPanel - Advanced Zone Editor

    3. Select the domain from the drop-down menu that you wish to use.

      Add Record

    4. Go to the Add a Record section.
    5. Under the Type drop-down menu, select A.
    6. Enter details in the Name, TTL, and Address fields.
    7. Click Add Record to save. If you scroll down the page, the new record should look like this:

      A Records

  • CNAME Record

    To add CNAME records:

    1. Log into cPanel.
    2. In the Domains section, click Advanced Zone Editor.

      HostGator cPanel - Advanced Zone Editor

    3. Select the domain from the drop-down menu that you wish to use.

      Add a Record

    4. Go to the Add a Record section.
    5. Under the Type drop-down menu, select CNAME.
    6. Enter details in the Name, TTL, and CNAME fields.
    7. Click Add Record to save. If you scroll down the page, the new record should look like this:

      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.
  • MX Record

    To add MX records:

    1. Log into cPanel.
    2. In the Email section, click MX Entry.

      HostGator cPanel MX Entry

    3. Select the domain you wish to use from the drop-down menu.

      MX Record

      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.
    4. Go to the Add New Record section.
    5. Enter the Priority and Destination
      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 to use when delivering emails.
    6. Click Add New Record.
    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 into cPanel.
    2. In the Email section, click Authentication.

      HostGator cPanel Email Authentication for DKIM and SPF

    3. In the SPF section, you will see the current raw SPF record associated with your account. 
      SPF Record
    4. You can use the Advanced Settings to update the information. If you opt to make changes, click the Add button.

    5. Enter the necessary details (host or IP address) in the pop-up box. Click OK.
    6. Click Update at the bottom of the page to save your changes.
  • TXT Record

    To add TXT records:

    1. Log into cPanel.
    2. In the Domains section, click Advanced Zone Editor.

      HostGator cPanel - Advanced Zone Editor

    3. Select the domain from the drop-down menu that you wish to use.

      Add a Record

    4. Go to the Add a Record section.
    5. Under the Type drop-down menu, select TXT.
    6. Enter details in the Name, TTL, and TXT Data fields.
    7. Click Add Record to save. If you scroll down the page, the new record should look like this:
      TXT Record 
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 fully propagate.
If you need assistance with your DNS zone changes, please contact us via phone or Live Chat with your account details, and be prepared to verify your identity for the protection of your account.