Getting Your Registered Domain Online (Part Two)

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.

DNS Configuration

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 (204.50.14.2)

Secondary Name Server: NSB.NEWDAYDNS.COM (204.50.22.2)

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.

IP Addresses Explained

On the internet, every server is given a unique number, or what is called an IP (Internet Protocol) address. This number can be regarded as a ‘telephone number’ which will allow other computers to find and gain access to files regardless of where they are. The IP address is equivalent to 4 bytes (32 bits), and each byte is known as an octet and can have a value of between 0 and 255, so IP addresses are written in the form of numbers, such as 123.456.78.9.

IP addresses of 32 bits allow in theory more than 4 billion unique addresses, but in actual fact, the real number is much less. Certain varieties are set aside for special purposes so the number of available IP addresses is restricted. Web sites can however get around this limitation by using shared hosting or virtual servers. Instead of using one server for one web site, shared hosting can enable several sites (sometimes hundreds) to be hosted on the same server. Each of these sites will have the same IP address, and they will be uniquely identified by their domain name (e.g. mydomain.com).

With the introduction of version 6, there are plans to expand the number of IP addresses (We currently use version 4) of the Internet Protocol. IPv6 has IP addresses which are 128 bits wide. This will give you an almost unlimited number of unique addresses, but will also take several years to carry out because of the very costly process of upgrading the Internet infrastructure.

Shared hosting explains the problem of limited IP addresses for web sites, but there is also a requirement for IP addresses for each personal computer which connects to the Internet in order to browse the web or to send emails. Rather than allocate each PC a unique IP address, Internet Providers is able to use a system of ‘dynamic addresses’. This implies that each time you connect to the Internet through a dial-up or DSL modem you will be assigned a different IP address.

We have previously discussed how to use a web hosting company in order to host a web site, but there are no reasons why you cannot host a site on your home computer. For most people, though, the biggest technical difficulty is that they connect to the Internet using an IP address which is dynamic. Dynamic addresses make it more difficult to host a web site from your home. As the IP address is constantly changing, nobody would be able to find your site unless you somehow inform them of your current IP address. There are many dynamic DNS services, nevertheless, which will allow you to assign a domain name to a site with a dynamic IP address. Every time you are given a new address your computer will automatically notify the service, which will in turn update its DNS (Domain Name Server).

Hosting your web site on your computer at home, however, might not be a good idea. The computer will need to operate server software and will need a high speed Internet connection. Your home Internet connection might probably be a lot slower than those used by hosting companies, so it is possible that your web pages load more slowly – especially if they have many graphics. If you have a smaller personal site with little visitors, however, it may be possible to host your own site. You can obtain dynamic DNS as either a free or a subscribed service.


Martin Redford 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.