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their own nameservers. In their documentation they may say you need to use something like ns1.yourwebhost.com and ns2.yourwebhost.com - If you use these, you need not bother about webserver ip address or any other settings, just configure your domain to use these and you are all set. 2> nameserver provided by registrar that you register your domain with
If you use this option, you will need to know ip address of your webserver (provided by your webhost). As you will be using nameserver provided by your registrar, you will need to set it up to point to correct ip address for your website by creating a DNS entry. The ip address for your webserver is called as A record and ip address for your mail server is called as MX record, CNAME records are used if one domain needs to be similar to another domain, but you do not need to understand these options for a basic setup. Many top notch domain registrars in industry provide advanced DNS management like forwarding your domain to another site, subdomains, email id management, wildcard dns etc 3> third party nameservers
This is an option that very advanced domain managers prefer when they wish to have more features and greater control over their DNS records which may not be provided by registrar or webhost.
Now a days, line between web hosts and domain registrars is fading as most domain registrars are providing web hosting and most web hosts are providing domain registration. If you purchase your domain registration and web hosting from same company, chances are that you may never need to do any setup at all.
What to look for in a registrar
It is always a good idea to register your domain with a domain registration site rather than with your webhost so you can be able to shift your webhost in case you need to without loosing your domain.
A good domain registrar should provide you following features
- No Cost Domain Forwarding - To Point your domain to anywhere you choose, you can even use a long free web host url and forward your domain to it.
- No Cost for Change of Registrant - Makes sure you can change registrars (transfer out to another registrar) for your domain without paying a heavy fee.
- No Cost Domain Parking - You get one page saying your site is under construction or something like that.
- Domain Name Locking - makes sure that no one can initiate a transfer request until you unlock your domain
- DNS Server Changes - You should be able to login to your own control panel and make any changes yourself
I use http://value-name.com for all my domain needs, they provide 1 year registration for $8.75 and $7.75 for a domain transfer including one year extension. They also have special prizing for bulk registrations.
Trouble Shooting Domain Name Problems
What can you do if you have trouble setting up your domain? First of all, remember that it may take up to 48 hours for your domain changes to propagate across internet. If you wish to verify settings on any domain, you can use our recommended whois tool
The whois report on any domain will tell you about current nameservers attached to that domain in addition to contact addresses, registration date, expiry date and date when last modifications were made to that domain record. If nameservers are not correct then you know you have to change them by logging into your domain name control panel or by contacting your registrar support. If name servers that are shown are correct, then you can use nslookup tool (Advanced DNS Lookup) from same page to determine ip address being returned for your domain by any nameserver. Here you should enter one of nameserver that you find in whois output and see what ip address it returns for your domain name.
If it does not return an ip address then nameserver has to be configured to point your domain to correct ip address, or you may be using wrong nameserver.
If it returns an ip address, You can try typing ip address directly into address bar of your web browser, if it gives a 404 page not found error, then either ip address is wrong or webserver is down. If it returns some generic page but not your webpage, that is all right, this is to be expected unless you are using a dedicated ip address. Make sure that IP address returned is correct one that your web host is providing to you. If you are sure that ip address is correct and still your website does not show when you type in your domain name in address bar of your browser, then it may be that other people are able to access your site and only you are not able to access it because your local nameserver does not resolve your domain or resolves it wrongly. In that case, if you can find out nameserver your local machine is using, you can enter that nameserver in nslookup tool at and see what ip address it is returning. If your local nameserver is returning wrong ip address all you need to do is wait till dns changes propagate to your local nameserver, If your local nameserver is returning right ip address, then you must contact your web host to inform them that their webserver is not configured to handle your domain.
We have covered a lot of ground here, from registering a domain to setting and trouble shooting it. Even if you never need to configure a domain, understanding concepts behind what goes on behind scenes when you type a domain name in your browser should make you feel good about yourself. And if you are one of those people who eat domains for breakfast, this article should give you a head start into advanced configuration options available and with a little practice, you will be well on your way to become a Jedi Knight of domain management. May force be with you, always.
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