How To Point A Domain Name To A Website Hosting Account

Once you register a domain name, you need to point it to your hosting account in order for your website to display. How is this achieved? It’s not all that difficult.

Pointing a domain name is also known as “delegation”. A couple of other examples of jargon you’ll need to know about in connection with delegation are the terms are “name server” or “DNS server”; which are essentially the same thing.

A DNS (short for Domain Name System) server translates a name into numbers. You add your website host’s name server numbers to your domain name’s settings. That tells the Internet browser or other application where to search for the website for the related domain. At the other end, the web hosting server receives the request, looks at which name it is associated with on the server, searches for and then retrieves the right pages. All this happens automatically and incredibly quickly.

Each domain name needs to have the details of 2 name servers recorded. These are known as primary and secondary DNS servers. The secondary setting is there just in case the primary server is not functioning or is inundated with requests.

So, how do you get these DNS server details?

When you opened your website hosting account, your host probably provided the details in a “welcome” email. The DNS server details will usually follow this sort of format:

ns1.srv2320.com.au (primary DNS or name server)
ns2.srv2320.com.au (secondary DNS or name server)

If you no longer have these details, just ask your web host for them – they may even be listed on their web site.

You’ll then need to visit your domain registrar and log into your domain name administration interface. When logged in, search for options such as “delegation” or “nameserver” – try the domain registrar’s help or search feature if these aren’t apparent.

In the nameserver editing screen, there should be 2 or more boxes where you enter the nameserver details. Note that only the first 2 need to be entered in most cases, the rest can be left blank. Be sure that the primary DNS server goes n the first box and the secondary in the second.

With that done, save the changes and you should be set.

Bear in mind that it can take up to 24 hours for the new information to propagate throughout the Internet. During this “propagation” window, in some locations your domain name will be linked to your website hosting account and in other location it may not be until later on during this phase. Once this 24 hour time frame is over, the name should be fully associated with your web hosting account from any point on the planet.

Michael Bloch currently consults for Domain Registration Services, an Australian registrar – start your or review their plans