How do I connect a domain name to a hosting account?

If you’re not sure what the difference between the domain name and hosting account is, you may want to read What’s the difference between a domain name and hosting account? Following my analogy of address/house in that article, you can think of this step like registering yourself at the post office so the mail-person knows how to get your mail to you. When someone types in your domain name, the request has to be dispatched to the right location to find the files that displays your website.

If you’ve purchased a domain name, hopefully you are building your new website with TrekVisual and will be choosing to take advantage of our monthly website plans that include hosting, maintenance and security monitoring. If so, you don’t have to worry about any of this because we’ll connect your domain name to your hosting account for you. Just let us know you want it done, and we’ll take care of the rest.

If you’re purchasing a domain name and will not be hosting with TrekVisual, there are some things you’ll need to do to set up your hosting account. Although this process will vary from host to host, we’ll walk you through the basic steps to introduce you to the process. We’re always available if you need help mapping a domain to a hosting account.

If you host with the same company you’ve purchased your domain name from, your domain name will most likely be automatically mapped to your hosting account.  Otherwise, your first step is to find out what the Nameservers (NS) are for the host you’ve signed up with. Most times you’ll see a section in the email confirmation you receive after purchasing hosting that tells you what your Nameservers are. I have yet to see an email confirmation that doesn’t list the Nameservers. There will usually be 2 Nameservers, and you’ll need them both.

Log in to your registrar account (the site where you registered your .com (or other) domain name). Next, you’ll need to find the settings page that will list the address of your current Nameservers. Edit the Nameservers by replacing the 2 addresses with the 2 new ones you got from your new hosting company.


Setting Nameservers on GoDaddy

Since I recommend GoDaddy for domain name purchases but not hosting, here are the steps to change Nameservers in your GoDaddy account. Note that this is accurate as of the date of this blog entry, but may have changed since.

  • Log in to your Account Manager.
  • Next to Domains, click Launch.
  • From the DNS menu, select DNS Manager.
  • Under the domain name you need information for, click Edit Zone.
  • The domain’s Nameservers display in the NS (Nameserver) section.
  • Edit and replace the pre-existing GoDaddy nameservers with the new addresses. There should be 2.

Regardless of registrar, once you’ve changed Nameservers, propagation can take up to 48 hours. Propagation is the term used for the process during which your registrar passing the DNS change to the root servers, which then spider out to ISPs around the world to update their caches.

While you might see your website complete propagation in a few minutes in the US, it can take a day or more if, for example, your ISP is in Germany or New Zealand. When I first started in web design & development in the 90s, it actually did take between 48-72 hours for websites to propagate (which bordered on miraculous at the time). Now, I’ve seen it happen within minutes. Still, be patient – if you don’t see your new website when you type in your domain name after 48 hours, you may have a problem. Contact us – we’d be happy to help.

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