Migrate to Cloud DNS

Cloud DNS supports the migration of an existing DNS domain from another DNS provider to Cloud DNS. This procedure describes how to complete the necessary steps: create a managed zone for your domain, export the DNS configuration from your existing provider, import your existing DNS configuration to Cloud DNS, update your registrar's name server records, and then verify the migration.

Before you begin

  1. If you have not yet used the Google Cloud CLI, set up the gcloud CLI.

  2. To specify the project name and authenticate with the Google Cloud console, run the following command:

    gcloud auth login

    You can also specify the --project parameter for a command to operate against a different project for that invocation.

Create a managed zone

To migrate an existing domain, first create a managed zone to contain your DNS records. When you create a zone, the new zone isn't used until you update your domain registration, point a resolver at it, or query one of your zone's name servers.


To create a zone, run the dns managed-zones create command:

gcloud dns managed-zones create --dns-name=example.com.

Replace the following:

  • example.com.: the DNS name
  • A_ZONE: a description of the zone
  • EXAMPLE_ZONE_NAME: the name to identify the DNS zone

Export your DNS configuration from your existing provider

To export your zone file, see your provider's documentation. Cloud DNS supports the import of zone files in BIND or YAML records format.

For example:

Import the record set

After you have the exported the file from your other provider, you can use gcloud commands to import it into your managed zone.

To import record sets correctly, you must remove the apex records or use the flags described on the gcloud tab.


To import record sets, run the dns record-sets import command. The --zone-file-format flag tells import to expect a BIND zone formatted file. If you omit this flag,import expects a YAML-formatted records file:

gcloud dns record-sets import -z=EXAMPLE_ZONE_NAME
--zone-file-format path-to-example-zone-file

Replace EXAMPLE_ZONE_NAME with the name of your DNS zone.

Verify DNS propagation

To monitor and verify that the Cloud DNS name servers have picked up your changes, you can use the Linux watch and dig commands.

gcloud and Linux

  1. To look up your zone's Cloud DNS name servers, run the dns managed-zones describe command:

    gcloud dns managed-zones describe EXAMPLE_ZONE_NAME

    Replace EXAMPLE_ZONE_NAME with the name of your DNS zone.

    The output looks something like this:

    - ns-cloud-a1.googledomains.com.
    - ns-cloud-a2.googledomains.com.
    - ns-cloud-a3.googledomains.com.
    - ns-cloud-a4.googledomains.com.

    In the output, the letter following the ns-cloud- part of the name is referred to as the name server shard. There are five such shards (letters A-E). For more information about shards, see Name server limits.

  2. Check if the records are available on the name servers.

    watch dig example.com @ZONE_NAME_SERVER

    Replace ZONE_NAME_SERVER with one of the name servers returned when you ran the previous command.

  3. After you see your change, press Ctrl+C to exit.

The watch command runs the dig command every 2 seconds by default. You can use this command to determine when your authoritative name server picks up your change, which should happen within 120 seconds.

Update your registrar's name server records

Sign in to your registrar provider and change the authoritative name servers to point to the name servers that you saw in step 1. At the same time, make a note of the time to live (TTL) that your registrar has set on the records. That tells you how long you have to wait before the new name servers begin to be used.

Wait for changes and then verify

To get the authoritative name servers for your domain on the internet, run the following Linux commands:

dig +short NS example.com

If the output shows that all changes have propagated, your task is complete. If not, you can check intermittently or you can automatically run the command every 2 seconds while you wait for the name servers to change. To do that, run the following:

watch dig +short NS example.com

Ctrl+C exits the command.

If you're not using Linux, you can use the nslookup command.

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