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DNS Configuration


This is a work in progress.

DNS Versions

There are many different DNS servers 'in the wild'. Some of the popular ones on Linux are BIND, dnsmasq, and pdns. Windows has its own built-in DNS server as well as Unbound, Posadis, and more. A full list of DNS packages can be found on Wikipedia under Comparison of DNS Server Software. In addition to the various DNS packages, there are tens of thousands of Managed DNS Providers out that all have different DNS interfaces.


Because there are so many different DNS server packages out there as well as a tremendous number of Managed DNS Providers, we will focus on the concepts of DNS as well as providing examples in the 'BIND' format so you can adapt the information to your own server package or managed DNS provider.


  • We assume you have a passing familiarity with DNS. If not, you can read an in-depth article on DNS. But basically you need to know that DNS changes names (like example.tld) into addresses (like
  • We assume you already have a domain name registered and pointed to your favorite Managed DNS Provider or have your own BIND DNS server running.
  • You have a server on the internet and are about to follow the instructions in the README to get Dokku installed. Don't do the install just yet though.


Please remember that DNS relies heavily on caching. Changes you make to DNS could take anywhere from a few seconds to a few days to propagate. If you tried surfing to example.tld, then changed the IP address in DNS, it could be a while before your computer picks up on the changes.

Getting started

For the examples, we will use the domain name example.tld and the IP address

Dokku uses DNS to differentiate between apps on your dokku-powered server. If you are using the domain example.tld, and you have two apps node-js-app1 and node-js-app2, Dokku will make them available at node-js-app1.example.tld and node-js-app2.example.tld.

To get started, you need to know the IP address of your Dokku server. Connect to it and run ifconfig or ip addr to see the IP address.

Now you have to make a decision about your domain. Do you want everything and anything at example.tld to go to your Dokku server, or would you rather use a 'sub domain' for your Dokku server?

In other words, do you want your applications on your Dokku server accessible via node-js-app.example.tld or via node-js-app.myserver.example.tld?

Using a sub-domain (node-js-app.myserver.example.tld)

Using a sub-domain is easy. When you set up your server, you probably gave it a name like myserver.example.tld.

Go in to your Managed DNS provider and create an A record named myserver and put in the IP address you got from your server a few moments ago.

Hopefully your managed DNS provider also supports wildcards. Create a second A record named *.myserver along with the IP address you got from your server a few moments ago.

If you are using BIND, your zone file will look similar to this:

$ORIGIN example.tld
$TTL 5m

myserver         IN      A
*.myserver       IN      A

You can verify your changes in Linux by trying one or more of the following commands:

  • host myserver.example.tld
  • dig -t A myserver.example.tld
  • nslookup myserver.example.tld

Now is a good time to remind you that the answers you get MAY BE CACHED.

If everything is working correctly, you should also be able to query for any other name under myserver.example.tld and get back the IP address of your server. Try:

  • host test.myserver.example.tld
  • host xyzzy.myserver.example.tld

If they all return your IP address, you have set DNS up properly for dokku. You should also be able to ssh root@myserver.example.tld and access your server.

Proceed with the setup instructions in the installation documentation

Using the root of your domain (node-js-app.example.tld)

This section is a work in progress. It is incomplete.

Using the 'root' of your domain is nearly identical to the previous example.

  • hostname is under example.tld, still needs A record.
  • Update your global domain using the domains plugin.