Table of contents

Domain Name System (DNS) records

The GOV.UK Infrastructure team is responsible for managing several DNS zones.

By default, zones are managed using DynDNS.

The following zones use both DynDNS and Amazon Route 53 as dual providers:

  • digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk.
  • govuk.service.gov.uk.
  • performance.service.gov.uk.
  • service.gov.uk.

The following use Route 53 and Google Cloud DNS:

  • publishing.service.gov.uk

If zones are managed with two providers, then both sets of records must be updated in both providers

DynDNS

Use the Cabinet-Office account. Once you have a Dyn ID, you can login here.

Amazon Route 53

Use the “production” account. Speak to Infrastructure if you require access.

Google Cloud DNS

Use the “production” account. Speak to Infrastructure if you require access.

Records for GOV.UK systems

There are a few domains that we use:

  • alphagov.co.uk is the old domain name that GOV.UK publishing used to live on. We maintain records that point to Bouncer so that these URLs redirect.
  • publishing.service.gov.uk and govuk.service.gov.uk are where GOV.UK lives. We should probably only have one of those.

Making changes to publishing.service.gov.uk

We use a Jenkins job that publishes changes to publishing.service.gov.uk. The job uses Terraform and pushes changes to the selected provider.

To make a change to this zone, begin by adding the records to the yaml file for the zone held in the DNS config repo.

When this has been reviewed and merged, you can deploy the changes using the “Deploy DNS "Jenkins job.

Changes should be deployed for each provider separately, and you should first run a "plan”, and when you’re happy with the changes, run “apply”.

Please note that due to the Terraform state being held in an S3 bucket, you will require access to the GOVUK AWS “production” account to roll changes for both Amazon and Google.

You will not require credentials for Google Cloud. These credentials are stored in Jenkins itself.

DNS for the gov.uk top level domain

Jisc is a non-profit which provides networking to UK education and government. They control the gov.uk. top-level domain.

Requests to modify the DNS records for gov.uk. should be sent by email to naming@ja.net.

  • gov.uk. is a top-level domain so it cannot contain a CNAME record (see RFC 1912 section 2.4 and the page on the GOV.UK bare redirect). Instead, it contains A records that point to anycast IP addresses for our CDN provider.
  • www.gov.uk. is a CNAME to www-cdn.production.govuk.service.gov.uk., which means that we do not need to make a request to Jisc if we want to change CDN providers. Just change where the CNAME points to.

Generally, members of the infrastructure team have authority to email Jisc.

Delegating service.gov.uk domains

At the moment we’re also responsible for delegating DNS to other government services.

The request will arrive by email or Zendesk from a member of the GOV.UK Proposition team. The request will contain the service domain name that needs to be delegated and more than one nameserver hostname (usually ns0.example.com, ns1.example.com).

In both Dyn and Route 53, create a new node for the service domain underneath service.gov.uk and add NS records for that node.

We do not manage DNS for service domains. If you get a request asking you to add anything other than NS records, it should be rejected. This is so that we’re not the single point of DNS for government.

There are ongoing plans to move this responsibility to a different part of GDS.

Delegating DNS to other Dyn customers

Dyn support say this about delegating DNS to other Dyn customers:

In order to delegate a subdomain to another Dyn Customer, you will also need to create the subdomain as a Child Zone within your account. Once this is created, we can then transfer the Child Zone into the Ministry of Magic account.

If the Ministry of Magic had attempted to create this zone within their account manually, it will give them an error stating that the ‘Parent Zone exists within another account’.

Follow these steps:

  • Open a ticket with Dyn support with the name of the domain to transfer
  • Create a new zone in our Dyn account for the subdomain
  • Create a TXT record on the zone: Case 000001234 with Dyn support - delegate to Ministry of Magic

In order to revoke a domain that’s been delegated in this way, open a ticket with Dyn. As we have control over the parent domain they should be happy to reverse the delegation.

Other weird bits of DNS

If you receive a request to change any other DNS that hasn’t come from the GOV.UK Proposition team, send it to them using the Zendesk group “3rd Line–GOV.UK Proposition”.

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