Now that you have selected and registered a domain name, and signed it up with a web host, you may be asking ‘what’s next?’ The following step will be that your web host will have to provide you with details on how to get your site up and running online. This information includes passwords to get into your account, paths towards directories where your files need to be uploaded, and most vitally, what your domain name servers are.
Domain name servers (DNS) offer the link between your domain name (mywebsite.com) and your Internet Protocol (IP) address. As we have seen, the IP address is a series of numbers as follows: 123.456.78.9; and, every web server has a unique IP address which, in the event of dedicated servers hosting a single domain, is the same as the domain name. A site which is hosted on a dedicated server will respond to either 123.456.78.9 or mywebsite.com by serving the webpage you request.
The majority of websites, nevertheless, are hosted on shared servers. This means that one server is a home to many different websites, each having the same IP address. So if you type in a shared IP address you’ll get an error page or will be redirected to the web hosting company’s web site. So DNS is indeed necessary for websites on shared servers. The only way to request these websites is through the domain names – they cannot be requested through the IP address.
When you first buy a domain name, it will get registered on the DNS of the registrar. And until you plan for a web host, the registrar company will habitually redirect requests for your domain name to either an error page or an ‘Under Construction’ page. Remember that there isn’t any time limit between buying the domain name and finding a host. Some people buy their domain names without any intention of building a website with them. Many people, however, do buy their domain name with the intention of working with it. For this to be possible, you will need to open an account with a web host and prepare to transfer your site to their server. Part of the process of preparing your site for publication on the World Wide Web is to bring to the attention of your domain name registrar of the DNS of your new server.
DNS configurations look approximately like this:
Primary Name Server: NSA.NEWDAYDNS.COM (126.96.36.199)
Secondary Name Server: NSB.NEWDAYDNS.COM (188.8.131.52)
You will find this information from your hosting company either in the informational package that they email to you, or on their website. If you have trouble finding the DNS it will be best to contact your web host and request it. Once you obtain the DNS information you must enter it into your account on the registrar’s website. If you have bought your domain name from the hosting company, they will usually make the proper changes for you when your account gets set up.
When your DNS is registered or modified (when you change web hosts) it will take up to 24 hours for your site to be up and running on the World Wide Web. This is due to the fact that domain names are registered in a distributed data base that is maintained on thousands of computers all over the world, and, as each computer has a small part of the database in cache, if they receive a request for an unknown domain, that request will have to be forwarded to another computer until they can find the information.
Nora Roberts is contributing editor at WebDesignArticles.net. This article may be reproduced provided that its complete content, links and author byline are kept intact and unchanged. No additional links permitted. Hyperlinks and/or URLs must remain both human clickable and search engine spiderable.