I have a domain, its a client's. Their domain needs moving, but the current provider is being difficult/slow in providing details on all the existing DNS records.

Plus I have not been able to get in touch with the mail provider in order to get the records from from to ensure their email continues to work.

Is there a way I can get all the current DNS records so I can replicate them before moving the domain to myself?


You could do a lookup on a service like http://viewdns.info/ if the current hosting provider is not willing to give up the details about DNS records.

The functions you will need are found in these two tools:

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This should get you all the information you need to set up similar records on your new host.

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    This host is outside the domain so you probably get only very few hosts and not entire domain – Romeo Ninov Feb 5 '15 at 12:10
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    ...if zone transfers are allowed at all. – a CVn Feb 5 '15 at 12:10
  • Oddly, that site seems to be convinced that my domain is not "real domain" enough because it's not directly under a TLD, despite it having its own nameservers and even WHOIS entries. – user1686 Feb 5 '15 at 12:23
  • It apparently does not even attempt either a zone transfer or a NXT walk, and this answer has the same problem as an earlier (now deleted) answer that one effectively needs to already know the zone database contents in order to make use of it. – JdeBP Feb 5 '15 at 12:29
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    It's the totally silent fallback that fooled me when I checked it. Still, going to the self-service management UI of the old provider remains the best answer. (-: – JdeBP Feb 5 '15 at 12:59

For mail:

First, just look up the MX records – those define which servers incoming mail is routed through.

$ dig gmail.com MX
gmail.com.      3412 IN MX 5 gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.
gmail.com.      3412 IN MX 10 alt1.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.

If you must start with an empty domain, you'll receive mail fine as long as you have MX records in place.

Now for the whole domain.

There's a small chance that the domain allows zone transfers, so try that:

  1. Look up the domain's authoritative nameservers:

    $ dig gnu.org NS
    gnu.org.        298 IN NS ns1.gnu.org.
    gnu.org.        298 IN NS ns2.gnu.org.

    Windows: nslookup -q=ns gnu.org

  2. Request a zone transfer from one of them, using the special "AXFR" query type:

    $ dig gnu.org AXFR @ns1.gnu.org
    gnu.org.            300 IN SOA ns1.gnu.org. hostmaster.gnu.org. 2014031109 3600 120 1209600         3600
    gnu.org.            300 IN MX 10 eggs.gnu.org.
    gnu.org.            300 IN A
    alpha.gnu.org.      300 IN A
    alpha.gnu.org.      300 IN AAAA 2001:4830:134:3::c
    anoncvs.gnu.org.    300 IN CNAME savannah.gnu.org.

    Windows has a separate command inside nslookup:

    C:\> nslookup
    > server ns1.gnu.org
    > ls -a gnu.org

Another method is NSEC walking, though it works only with DNSSEC-signed domains and only those using regular NSEC (not NSEC3).

  • Note, however, if the domain is DNSSEC-signed, then having all subdomains is not enough – you must also obtain the DNSSEC signing keys from the current admins! So the very fact that this method works already makes it useless (except for a last-resort backup).

Anyway. Since NSEC records must (by definition) contain the 'next' existing domain name, you can look up NSEC for the domain root and follow the chain until you go full circle. ldns has a tool for this:

$ ldns-walk -f isc.org
backdraft.isc.org.      7200    IN  A
backupproxy.isc.org.    7200    IN  A
banana.isc.org.         7200    IN  A
banana.isc.org.         7200    IN  AAAA    2001:4f8:0:2::69
bcn1.isc.org.           3600    IN  NS  ams.sns-pb.isc.org.

Those are the only automated methods. If neither works, you will need to convince the current domain admins to send you the data.

Honestly I cannot even imagine them refusing to give you at least a list of subdomains; doesn't the regular "domain management" panel show them anyway?

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Unless the current provider allows zone transfers (he doesn’t ;)), you cannot reliably get all records for a domain and all its subdomains.

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  • If you run the commands from machine inside the domain i.e. defined as host you will get them (this is standard config) – Romeo Ninov Feb 5 '15 at 12:07
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    @RomeoNinov I don’t know what you mean by “inside the domain”. I guess you’re confusing it with Active Directory or something like that. – Daniel B Feb 5 '15 at 12:09
  • you have domain, named. example.net. You login in server www.example.net and exec the command. This host is inside the domain! – Romeo Ninov Feb 5 '15 at 12:12
  • @RomeoNinov: No, it’s not. I can name any PC www.microsoft.com, no problem. That doesn’t mean it gets any more access to microsoft.com than a PC named www.example.com. – Daniel B Feb 5 '15 at 12:14
  • We talk about server, which have record in DNS, not name of the server!!! – Romeo Ninov Feb 5 '15 at 12:15

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