Domain name server – why do you absolutely need one?

Domain name server (DNS) and domain names, are really techy sounding names that you’ll hear when you start looking into setting up your website. Often it’s enough to put people off building their own site.

But actually, when you know what they are and why you need them, it becomes a lot less scary – and that’s why I’ve written this post.

What’s a domain name server?

So any computer or phone or tablet connected to the internet is given a unique address, called an IP address, when it connects. It’s made up of numbers and dots that aren’t very user friendly.

So someone came up with the concept of domain names.

Domain names

A domain name is basically a user-friendly URL that maps to an IP address.

Here is the URL for my homepage, it has 2 parts.

https://, is the domain name. It points to a certain place on the internet where the files for my website live.

Domain name server

A domain name server is basically a computer somewhere that, when you enter a URL in your browser, converts that URL name into an IP address.

How do I get a domain name?

Getting a domain name is really straightforward, actually choosing a domain name the hard part.

To get a domain name you need to buy one from a domain name registrar. They can cost anything upwards of 99p, depending on which registrar you buy it from and how sought after they think the domain name you want is.

Domain name registrars

There are literally loads of domain name registrars around. In the past I’ve bought domain names from places like Namecheap and I’ve also bought domain names from hosting companies too like SiteGround and Lyrical Host.

Other places you can buy domain names are (I’ve never used any of these services to buy a domain name so these are not recommendations):
Bluehost (free domain when you buy hosting
HostGator (free domain when you buy hosting)

How do I hook up my domain name, domain name server and my website?

Once you’ve bought your domain name, you’ll need to buy a hosting package. I know this can sound a bit scary too, but a host is just a computer somewhere that’s going to hold the files for your website.

Somewhere within the control panel or options for your hosting package you’ll find the domain name servers for your website.

For my host, SiteGround, the names of my servers can be found by logging in, going to the My Accounts tab, clicking Manage Account and then clicking the Information and Settings tab.

Once you’ve found the settings for your domain name servers, you’ll need to copy them over to your domain name registrar.

I registered with 1&1 IONOS. So to hook my domain name up to the domain name servers that have the files for my website I juts head over to 1&1, log in to my account, click to manage my name servers, and then add the details I found on my host.

It can take up to 24 hours for DNS changes to take effect, but that’s pretty much all there is to it.

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