What Is A Domain Nameserver?

After registering your own domain name, the following step you need to take will be to make certain that you point/direct your domain name to the nameservers of your web host. So, what is a domain nameserver?

A better question might be, why do you need to know? The response is, you do not…unless of course you happen to be running a website. In the event that you are, you are going to come up against nameservers eventually. Whenever that day arrives, knowing just what they are and how they function will prevent you from being caught off guard.

For instance, when you set up your website with a web hosting service , they may present you with the numbers for two nameservers. If so,  what exactly do you do with them? Any time you proceed to register your website name (for example, mrsnipes.com), the domain name registrar will ask you for the numbers of two nameservers but you may not know what they are, or where to find them. Well, stick around for a basic explaination of what nameservers are and how they work.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, the nameserver has something to do with the domain name for your website and the server where your website is hosted. To fully grasp the connection between the two, you first need to understand what a Internet protocol (IP) address is. How do computers locate each other on the world-wide-web ?  Each computer and server on the web is designated a unique IP address number composed of four one to three-digit numbers separated by periods. The IP address for mrsnipes.com is 174.121.3.252

Of course, when individuals would like to go to your website on a server, they don’t type a long chain of numbers into their web browser. Who can remember all those numbers for every internet site they like? Instead, we make use of domain names, which are generally much simplier and a lot easier to remember. But how does a pc know which domain name is connected to which IP address? Well, that’s what the nameserver does.

When a visitor’s request for a specific domain name comes through, the nameserver looks up the domain name, cross-references it with the IP address of the web hosting server, and then forwards the visitor request to that server. If you have a dedicated server (an entire server all to yourself for your website) the visitor request ends there, and the person is able to see your website in their web browser. If you are sharing a server with several other websites, then your hosting company’s DNS servers take over and redirect the visitor request to the part of the server where your account and website are located.

A few web hosting firms take care of all this for you, setting up both your website and your domain name all at the same time. In these instances, the complex linking of domain names, IP addresses, and nameservers is handled silently behind the scenes. Other internet hosting providers require you to register your domain name yourself. In this scenario, your web host  will supply you with the IP addresses of the two nameservers that they maintain. Then, when you attempt to register your domain name, the registrar will request  your hosting company’s two nameserver IP addresses, so that they can link your domain name to your hosting company’s server.  An example of two nameserver addresses would be: ns289.hostgator.com & ns290.hostgator.com

Learning about nameservers and comprehending how they operate will become quite beneficial when you need to switch your website hosting provider. You can change which provider hosts your website, and transfer all your files over, but until you update your domain name registration with the IP addresses of your new web host’s nameservers (can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to three days), no one will be able to access your website. When someone types the web address for your site into their browser, they’ll be aimed at your old hosting company’s server and since your website is no longer there, they’ll get an error instead of your home page.

A bunch of people will stay with a hosting company they’re not satisfied with or is too expensive because they are not sure how to change their domain name registration to point to their new web hosting provider. Knowing how to handle domain names and nameservers allows you the capability and flexibility to switch to a less expensive or better quality website hosting provider whenever you need to.

See below for a domain name resource and a web hosting resource:

GoDaddy.com – World’s No.1 Domain Name Registrar

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