DNS Nameservers

Information about domain names are stored in the Domain Name System (DNS).

When you register a domain name you need to advise the world where your website is hosted. Doing this ensures that when someone types in your website address they are directed to your website.

To do this, you need to modify the “Domain Name System Nameservers” of the domain. This term is commonly shortened to “DNS Nameservers” or “DNS Servers” as it refers to changing the NS (Nameserver) DNS record for your domain.

Changing Your Domain's DNS Nameservers

Each domain registrar gives customers access to a user control panel from which they can modify domain settings. The user interface that is displayed will obviously vary according to the service you use to register domains; however most domain name registration companies offer the same options so you should have no problem customising things, whether you register domains with GoDaddy, Enom, Hover, or whoever.

One of the settings options you will see is for modifying your DNS Nameserver settings.

Be sure to choose the option to use your own “Custom Servers”. Choosing to use the domain registrar's own servers allows you to use their email system and other features, but that is not the option you want to select if you are looking to point your domain to your website's hosting space.

DNS Server Settings
A typical DNS Nameserver modification screen.

Typically, you will need to add two DNS servers to your domain, but there is functionality to add more name servers if necessary.

When you sign up for a website hosting account, the hosting company will send you an introduction email that has information about the package you purchased.

This introduction email will either reference two IP addresses or two nameservers. This information can also be found in your hosting control panel.

You should enter this information into your DNS Nameserver settings page.

For example, if your hosting server's IP addresses are 55.666.777.889 and 55.666.777.889, you need to enter the IP address 55.666.777.888 as the primary nameserver and 55.666.777.889 as the secondary nameserver.

Many hosting companies use what is sometimes referred to as vanity or branded DNS servers. This means that their brand is used in the DNS. For example, you may need to enter ns1.hostingcompany.com as the primary nameserver and ns2.hostingcompany.com as the secondary nameserver.

If you are in doubt of what to enter, please contact your website hosting company and they will confirm the DNS nameservers you should use.

For more information about modifying records, please read my article on DNS Records.