Migrating 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: creating a managed zone for your domain, importing your existing DNS configuration, and updating your registrar's name server records.

Before you begin

If you have not used the gcloud command-line tool before, first set up gcloud SDK.

Next, run the following command to specify the project name and authenticate with the Cloud Console:

gcloud auth login

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

Step 1: Create a managed zone

To migrate an existing domain, first create a managed zone to contain your DNS records. Note that when you create a zone, the new zone won't be used until you update your domain registration, explicitly point some resolver at it, or directly query one of your zone's name servers.


To create a zone, use the following command:

gcloud dns managed-zones create --dns-name=example.com.
--description=A zone examplezonename

Replace the following command options:

  • example.com.: The DNS name
  • A zone: A description of the zone
  • examplezonename: The name to identify the DNS zone

Step 2: Export your DNS configuration from your existing provider

Note that you must consult your provider's documentation to learn how to export your zone file. Cloud DNS supports the import of zone files in BIND or YAML records format.

For example:

Step 3: Import the record set

Once you have the exported 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 in the gcloud tab.


To import record-sets, use 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=examplezonename
--zone-file-format path-to-example-zone-file

Replace the following command option:

  • examplezonename: The name of your DNS zone

For detailed information on using the dns record-sets import command, see the command reference page.

Step 4: Verify DNS propagation

You can use the Linux watch and dig commands to monitor and verify that your changes have been picked up by the Cloud DNS name servers.

  1. Look up your zone's Cloud DNS name servers:

      gcloud dns managed-zones describe examplezonename

    Replace the following command option:

    • examplezonename: 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. As documented here, there are five such shards (letters A-E).

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

    watch dig example.com @your_zone_nameserver

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

  3. Once 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.

Step 5: Update your registrar's name server records

Log into your registrar provider and change the authoritative name servers to point to the name servers you saw in step 4. At the same time, make a note of the time to live (TTL) 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.

Step 6: Wait for changes, 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, you're done. 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.

Next steps