Pointing Your Domain Name to Your Website

If you want to establish a web presence you will need a domain name and a web hosting company. (If you haven’t bought your domain name yet, you can compare registrars here, and you can compare web hosts here.) If you buy the domain from the web host, pointing the domain to your site will be automatic, but many users buy a domain first and then look for a web host later – or they move the domain from one host to another. These users must “point” the domain to their website.

Your domain name must be translated to the location of your website, and this is done by a domain name server (DNS). The location of your website is defined by numbers called IP addresses (such as 217.34.31.127), and the DNS translates your domain name www.yoursite.com to the IP address recognized by the computers.

So you must link your domain name to the web host’s name servers in order for your website to be found by your visitors. You can find out the name servers your web host uses from the email they sent you when you joined, from their help files, or by simply asking them what name servers to use for your domain. There will be at least two, but there may be several of them, and you will need to enter the names into your domain registrar’s system.

When you have the list of DNSs, log into your domain name registrar’s system using the login details you created when you signed up. Every registrar’s system is different, but you should be able to find an option to set or change your domain’s name servers. If you have trouble locating the DNS settings, try the help files or FAQs, but generally it should not be too difficult to find the page, because it’s something everyone has to do.

When you find the page, you will be able to enter your primary and secondary name servers, and possibly up to six. Use the names from your list. The primary name server name will usually begin with ns1, the secondary ns2, and so on. If you have more names than you can enter, don’t worry, just enter the ones you have in the right order.

As soon as you’ve entered the DNS information and saved it, you are finished. It may take a couple of days for the Internet computers at large to update their information, but you’ve done all you need to do. Except design and build your website of course. How you do that is up to you, but if you aren’t an experienced webmaster it’s probably best to start off with your web hosting company’s site building tools and templates.