Why are the name servers for my domain refusing to update?

You tried to make a name-server change and it failed with the following error:

Nameserver Change Failed

  • ns1.NEW-NAMESERVER is not responding authoritatively. Ensure the domain is configured properly.
  • ns2.NEW-NAMESERVER is not responding authoritatively. Ensure the domain is configured properly.

What this means:

The name-servers you supplied are not responding authoritatively over your .co.za domain. This means that a DNS zone does not exist for your domain on your host's name-servers.

Why is this happening:

The ZA Central registry (custodian of the .za namespace) require that name-servers act authoritatively over a domain before name-server changes will be accepted. In other words a DNS zone must exist for the domain on the name-servers.

What you should do

Contact your new host  and ask them to create a DNS zone for your domain on their above name-servers.

If you need more information, read below:

The most commonly asked DNS question is about domain name servers. Name servers store the internet directory information that connects your domain name to your website and email hosting. Essentially, name servers tell the internet where to find your website and where to deliver your email. Our name servers are:


If you have a domain that you have already registered and you want to host it on another server, you will need to set your name servers for your domain. This DNS change will take a variable amount of time to propagate to the Internet from ZA Central Registry, but usually not more than 24 hours.

If you're unsure of your current name servers, a WHOIS search can help you determine which name servers are currently assigned to your domain name. Whenever you change your hosting service provider, the name server information for your domain must be updated to reflect that your site is now being served by a different IP address.

Dig can also help us understand how our DNS records look from the perspective of other machines on the Internet.

Testing authoritative nameservers

We can check the verify authoritative DNS servers for a domain by entering something like:

dig +short @your-name-server NS domain.co.za

for example:

dig +short NS @rita.ns.cloudflare.com frikkadel.co.za

The result of our test should be:


If the servers are not properly configured you'll see an empty result. When this happens, get the verbose output and send it to your hosting provider to rectify. You can get the verbose output by dropping the +short from the command line like so:

dig NS @rita.ns.cloudflare.com frikkadel-test.co.za

If the result of this test looks like this something is wrong

; <<>> DiG 9.8.1-P1 <<>> NS @rita.ns.cloudflare.com frikkadel-test.co.za
; (1 server found)
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: REFUSED, id: 28634
;; flags: qr rd; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0
;; WARNING: recursion requested but not available

;frikkadel-test.co.za. IN NS

;; Query time: 217 msec
;; WHEN: Fri Dec 18 09:34:41 2015
;; MSG SIZE rcvd: 38

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