Using External DNS Servers

Although Plesk provides all the instruments to run DNS on your server, you also can host the DNS zones on an external DNS server. This may be your own separate server or a third-party DNS service such as Amazon Route 53 ( or DynECT (

There are two situations:

  • You use only an external DNS server.

    You can use Plesk completely without the Plesk's DNS server, and use an external DNS server instead. In this case, you cannot manage zones through Plesk.

  • You use both an external DNS server for storing the zones information and Plesk's DNS server for managing zones through Plesk.

    If you want to use an external DNS service, there is no need to switch off the local DNS server. The local DNS server can be switched either on or off - in both cases the management of zones takes place on the Plesk's DNS server, and the changes in zones are then propagated to the external DNS.

    By default, Plesk is unable to automatically propagate changes in DNS zones to external DNS servers. To make this possible, you should write an integration script. The script should communicate with the DNS server’s backend (like API) and apply all DNS zones changes occurred in Plesk. To learn how to prepare such a script, refer to the document Developing Extensions for Plesk 12.5, section Integration with Third-Party DNS Services.

When you use an external DNS server, and at the same time the Plesk's local DNS server is installed, all Plesk features related to DNS are supported and work as usual, namely:

  • DNS template, zones, and records management by means of the Plesk GUI, command-line utilities, and API requests.
  • APS applications that use the DNS aspect.
  • Other services that use DNS, for example, DomainKeys spam protection and Sender Policy Framework. To learn more, see the sections Antispam Tools.

Therefore, users can still change DNS settings of domains even if the local DNS service is switched off unless the local DNS server is uninstalled. This is true for domains created before you switch off the local DNS service.

Integration with Amazon Route 53

If you want to use the Amazon Route 53 DNS service with Plesk, you can install the corresponding extension. Starting from Plesk 12.0, the extension is available in the Extensions Catalog in the Plesk GUI.

To integrate your Plesk with Amazon Route 53:

  1. Go to Home > Extensions > Extensions Catalog.
  2. Find the Amazon Route 53 extension and click Install.
  3. In the list of installed extensions, click the extension name (Amazon Route 53).
  4. Specify your Amazon security credentials and enable the service.

Note that when you use Amazon Route 53, DNS zones are managed by Plesk unless you uninstall the DNS server component from Plesk.

Important: If you add or edit zones manually on an external DNS server integrated with Plesk, such as Amazon Route 53, these changes are not visible in Plesk, and can be overwritten or deleted by Plesk. You should manage zones only on the Plesk's DNS server. Plesk's DNS server acts as a primary (master) DNS server that propagates DNS zone changes to an external server.

If you want to manage your DNS zones manually in Amazon Route 53, you should remove the Plesk's DNS server component and its Route 53 integration from Plesk.

To use Amazon Route 53 exclusively:

  1. Remove the Amazon Route53 extension (Extensions > select Amazon Route 53 > Remove).
  2. Uninstall the Plesk's DNS Server using the Plesk Installer (Tools & Settings > Updates & Upgrades).
  3. Turn off the integration with third-party DNS by running the command:

    plesk bin server_dns -—disable-custom-backend

Subscription Transferring Issue

If you transfer subscriptions from Plesk with a local DNS service to Plesk with an external DNS service, the DNS zones of the domains are not transferred to the external name servers automatically. You should create the zones on the name servers manually.