Issues with DNS settings from custom domain

Greetings!

I have a domain (zivkarmi.com) registered with Dreamhost, and wanted to connect it to my site recently published to Netlify. My Netlify site is at zivkarmi.netlify.app.
In Dreamhost, I created a CNAME record for www with value set to zivkarmi.netlify.app..
This worked for pointing www.zivkarmi.com to the Netlify site. However, it didn’t work for just zivkarmi.com.

After some reading and discussion with Dreamhost support, I came across a Netlify help article that said I should create an A record. So in addition to the CNAME record, I also have an A record for my domain on Dreamhost pointing to 104.198.14.52.

While I was working on the solution with Dreamhost support, I also at some point selected Netlify DNS for my domains. I now have the following settings under Settings > Domain Management > Custom Domains:

Now, for the issue: Going to www.zivkarmi.com correctly loads the website, over HTTPS. However, entering the URL without the www. results in a “Your connection is not private” error. I would prefer that this URL redirect directly to the https://www. version of the website, but instead it simply redirects to https://zivkarmi.com, and displays the error.

I should also mention I have a _redirects file in my site root, but I am not sure if it is setup correctly, or if it is even working. When I download the deployed version of the website, there is no _redirects file present. The contents of that file are as follows:

# Source --> Target
http://zivkarmi.com/*         https://www.zivkarmi.com:splat      301!
https://zivkarmi.com/*        https://www.zivkarmi.com/:splat     301!

# Redirect for SPAs
# Source: https://docs.netlify.com/routing/redirects/rewrites-proxies/#history-pushstate-and-single-page-apps
/*                            /index.html                         200

Thank you in advance for any help. I am happy to provide further information if needed.

@zkarmi Welcome to the Netlify community.

You probably don’t need your first two redirect instructions, but either way, have you tried fixing the first one so the syntax is correct?

http://zivkarmi.com/* https://www.zivkarmi.com:splat 301!

should be:

http://zivkarmi.com/* https://www.zivkarmi.com/:splat 301!

By the way, you are still using DreamHost for your DNS, not Netlify.

@gregraven Thank you! I missed that slash. That fixed the issue!

However, if I should be setting up the DNS settings differently, I’d rather get that resolved. The domain is still registered with Dreamhost, so shouldn’t the DNS be managed through them?

@zkarmi Either Dreamhost or Netlify can handle your DNS. In most cases, it’s just down to personal preference. If it’s working and you’re happy with it, there’s no need to tinker with it.

I spoke too soon. It’s not actually working. So let’s say I want to manage it through Netlify. If I selected Netlify DNS for the domain, and in the Domain Management > Custom Domains panel it says Netlify DNS for both, as shown in the screenshot above, what else do I have to do to switch management over to Netlify?

@zkarmi

First, go into your Netlify dashboard for that site and click on the green Netlify DNS button / link that you show in your first post. That will take you to a page, at the bottom of which will be listed the names for four Netlify DNS servers. It will look like this, but probably with different values:

So, do not use these values unless they are specified by Netlify for your site. Make a note of the four name servers because you will need that information in the next step.

Then connect to your Dreamhost dashboard: You have to use your Dreamhost dashboard to switch your DNS from Dreamhost to Netlify. If you have any DNS entries in Dreamhost such as e-mail server, etc., make a note of them because you will need to re-enter that information in your Netlify dashboard. Dreamhost will ask for the names of the name servers you wish to use, at which point you will enter the Netlify DNS server information you found in the previous step.

Once you have made the switch and specified the Netlify name servers, it will take anywhere from a few minutes to 48 hours for this change to propagate through the worldwide DNS system.

While you are waiting for this to happen, you can make any additional entries (such as MX, TXT, CNAME, etc.) through your Netlify dashboard to replicate what you had as entries in your Dreamhost dashboard. I’m not seeing any additional entries, but you may have some that I did not find. You should not have to make entries for any A records, as Netlify will take care of those.

Here are the docs, in case you missed them:

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Hi, @zkarmi. I’m basically here to +1 what @gregraven already said.

Right now there there is an SSL issue for zivkarmi.com (but not for www.zivkarmi.com). The solution for this is just to renew the SSL certificate with the button labeled “Renew certificate”.

However, that button won’t work because of the issue @gregraven is pointing out.

You can see the inactive zone when logged in here:

Because the DNS zone is inactive, it will prevent us from being able to create or update SSL certificates for this custom domain.

There is more information about how to detect and fix this type of issue in this support guide:

Would you please read the support guide above and try one of the two solutions described there (which are to delete or activate the zone)?

If this doesn’t fix the issue, please let us know.

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@gregraven @luke
Thank you both for the comprehensive replies! Upon further consideration, I went ahead and used the “delete the Netlify DNS for the domain” approach, as I didn’t feel confident about moving over all my DNS records. I’m pretty strapped for time right now (hence taking a few days to get back to this) and the idea of creating a sticky situation with DNS settings scared me. :sweat_smile:
I know there might be some issues with branch deployment to subdomains, but that seems to be the only major downside to not managing my records through Netlify, is that correct? And I also saw that there are solutions for that as well.

Thank you again, I really appreciate the time taken to write out these explanations, and I’ll be referring to these responses when I have a chance to make the DNS change over to Netlify.

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The branch subdomains work but the SSL is not longer automatic. It still works but with a manual process. (In other words, you contact support and say “I need SSL updated for these subdomains” and we do it.)

The manual branch subdomain SSL process (if you are interested) is documented here: