First dedicated server, somewhat overwhelmed


we’ve just purchased our first dedicated server, and none of us have any real experience managing them.

We’ve been able to transfer a few of our sites on to the dedicated and the DNS have all resolved and the sites are now online,which was easy enough.

however I think we need to properly configure the DNS for the domains but frankly we have no idea. At the moment every A record is just the server IP, which i’m sure is wrong.

we received this message this morning:

SMTP error from remote mail server after initial connection:
host []: 554  Message declined - No PTR record found for

im aware that this is to do with reverse DNS lookups, but i don’t know how to fix it, or what settings I should be changing.

Is there info you could provide that may help, or any recommended beginner reading resources?

thanks .

As Karl says, reverse DNS (PTR records) are typically handled by your server provider. You will be responsible for the forward records. Sites like DNSStuff ( can provide you with some DNS diagnostics. There are similar sites that are free but I don’t have a list handy.

In terms of management, you may want to consider finding a server management company. Many companies provide both subscription based and hourly support basis. As a new dedicated server owner, I highly recommend you know who to call, their procedures, capabilities and rates before a critical issue arises.

I’ve seen many issues escalate into major outages because new servers owners did not have the right support team behind them. I’ve seen some un-managed server providers make matters worse because their staff is not well trained for system administration.

I’m sure it’s not wrong, but the way you are supposed to set it up :slight_smile:

Take a look at for info on PTR records.

I have 2 dedicated servers and i dont have a clue on how they even work i have a guy who only specialises in servers and has been doing it for years and only charges from $15 per server per months to manage them its just not worth me loosing sleep over it,he has a direct IM and email solely for contacting if you have any problems.

The guy name is Jamie and his contact details are in my signature i wont allow anyone to go near my servers except him.

Good luck and hope you get it sorted

If you’re new to managing a server, I would suggest looking into getting a control panel installed. Most dedicated hosting providers will offer this at an additional fee, however, a control panel can definitely help with the learning curve.

You can also enlist the services of a server management company. They are usually pretty affordable and can assist you with most of the changes you wish to make on the server. This solution allows you to focus on other things while you have expert eyes and handles to manage the server.

Control panel recommendations are either cPanel or Plesk. As for server management, I would check out Platinum Server Management.

thanks for the above.

yeah we have Cpanel installed, but also obviously have access to the actual server - “WHMaccelerated”, so we have access to DNS settings, mail config, apache etc

it’s all a bit like…wow, what now?

all the power and options to configure the server and we’re just sat twiddling our thumbs trying not to break anything.

any good e-books or “servers for dummies” that could be useful? thinking of taking a crash course or something to get up to speed

You can check out the user guides from cPanel:

Also, for any new cpanel account you create with WHM, the DNS should already be configured for you. Usually, you do not have to edit the DNS, unless you have specific changes needed to be done for a certain domain name.


Reverse DNS pointers will in 99.9% of cases need to be setup by the company that you rent the server from - it’s not something you usually setup from your server, it’s handled by their own authoritative DNS servers for the IPs.