If you’re a cPanel or WHM user with multiple nameservers, you might be wondering how to connect your servers in order to share data and records between them more easily. By creating a DNS cluster within WHM, you can achieve exactly that. In this guide we’ll take a look at DNS clusters, the advantages they provide, and the process necessary to set them up on your servers.
*Note: if you’re a WHM user looking for more specific information on setting up DNS records on your server, check out our guide on How to Create DNS Records in WHM.
New to DNS? Check out our beginner’s guide, DNS Configuration: Everything You Need to Know, for more general information on the Domain Name System, related terminology, and few advanced DNS settings.
What is a DNS Cluster?
A DNS Cluster is a cPanel and WHM feature that allows users to group multiple nameservers together. Server clusters allow nameservers to share records, regardless of physical separation. In other words, if you have nameservers set up in different geographic locations, DNS clustering can allow you to maintain DNS functionality should one of your servers fail. In this way, not only can you safeguard your website, ensuring it remains accessible, but additionally, with multiple nameservers, you can even reduce the time between when your users make a URL request to when they access your site.
Configuring a DNS Cluster
To set up a DNS cluster in WHM, just follow these steps:
- First, you will need to log in to the WHM control panel using your username and password. You can access your WHM panel by entering the following URL into your web browser:
https://(my server’s IP address):2087
or, if A records have already been propagated for your server, you can use:
- On the main page of your WHM panel, locate and click on the option for Cluster / Remote Access.
- Click on Configure Cluster.
- To enable DNS clustering for this server, click the checkbox next to Enable DNS Clustering, then click on Change.
- After your changes have been saved, click the link to Return to Cluster Status.
- Scroll down the page until you see a section labeled Add a new server to the cluster. Type in the IP address of the server you wish to add to the cluster in the blank space next to Server IP Address.
- Click on Configure.
- This will bring up a new screen, which will be used to create a Trust relationship between this server and the others in the cluster. To establish the relationship, you’ll need this server’s Remote Access Key. This is how your servers will communicate once the cluster is established.
- Scroll down until you see a link that says “You can quickly fetch the Remote Access Key from” followed by a URL. Click on this link.
- On the new page that opens, you’ll see a long list of numbers and letters forming the Remote Access Key for your server. Select all, either by highlighting all the text or by using CTRL+A. Once you’ve selected everything, copy it by right-clicking or using CTRL+C, and return to the previous page.
- On the Trust Relationship page, paste the Remote Access Key into the appropriate field, either by right-clicking or by using CTRL+V.
- Once you’ve finished filling in the fields, click on the Submit button to finish establishing the trust relationship.
- Return to the Configure Cluster page, locate the nameserver you just added to this cluster, and click on the DNS Role drop-down menu. Change the DNS Role to Synchronize Changes.
*Note: this does not enable reverse synchronization between the servers. If you want all of your nameservers to send DNS changes back to your main server as well, you’ll need to repeat this process for all applicable nameservers, setting their DNS Roles to Synchronize Changes.
- Now that your main server is set up, to finalize your cluster, you must repeat this process for all the nameservers you are adding to the cluster.
*Note: if you don’t want DNS changes made to your external nameservers to automatically update your main server, you can set the DNS Roles for these servers to Standalone. So long as your main server is set to Synchronize Changes, any DNS changes made to the main server will be automatically updated on your other nameservers, but changes made to those servers will not effect the other servers in the cluster.
- Once you’ve added all your nameservers to the cluster and set their corresponding DNS Roles, your cluster is ready to go.
And there your have it! Your nameservers are connected and your DNS records will now update automatically across your cluster.