If you have a web hosting account or are now planning to get into the world of blogging, you have probably come across the term nameservers. But you might not know what they mean because your web host did not explain what they are. A nameserver is a critical thing that your website/blog will not work without.
Simply put, the nameserver refers to the server owned by your web host. Hence most at times you will see the name server is in the form ns1.yourwebhost.com, ns2.yourwebhost.com.
The nameserver tells your browser who is hosting your website/blog. Your browser then sends a request to the server owned by your web host. The server responds to the request by sending the requested page straight to your browser.
Let’s see how your browser interacts with your server technically.
1. You type ‘www.example.com’ into your browser.
2. Your browser will look up the nameservers of www.example.com
3. The namservers ‘ns1.yourwebhost.com’, ‘ns2.yourwebhost.com’ are retrieved.
4. Your browser uses the name server to look up the IP address of your website.
5. Your browser gets the IP address response: 176.89.657.901
6. Your browser sends a request to the IP address for the page.
7. The web server then sends the requested page to your browser.
Please note that every website has an IP address. Computers use the IP address to interact with your server. It will be difficult for humans to memorize the IP address for every website we visit. Therefore, for human readability, web addresses are used (www.example.com) instead of IP addresses.
Why Would You Want To Change Your Nameservers?
Now that you know what the nameservers are, lets see why someone would want to change the nameservers pointing to a domain.
The most obvious reason is when switching to a new host. As I said earlier, the nameservers tell your browser who is hosting your website/blog. Therefore, it will be wise to change it when switching your web host.
Another reason you would change your nameservers is when adding more security to your website. Here is how?
When you sign up for a web performance and online security plan, they will ask you to point your nameservers to theirs (at least at CLOUDFLARE). As a result, every traffic coming to your site will be routed through the security company before it gets to your server. This helps the security company to check the incoming traffic whether it is a legitimate one before it gets to your site.
GoDaddy is the largest domain registrar and they also offer hosting services. If you want, you can decide to host your website over there after registering your domain name. But if you decide to purchase a hosting plan from some place else like Bluehost or Hostgator, then you have to change your nameservers. Here is how?
After registering your domain name and logging into your GoDaddy account, this is how your account area will look like.
Now, as shown in the image above with the arrow, click ‘manage‘ and the next screen will show all the domain names you have registered and are currently under your management as shown below. In my case, I have registered just a single domain hence you can only see ‘isaacanim.com’.
Now click on the gear icon which is pointed with arrow #1 then click ‘Manage DNS‘ which is pointed with arrow #2. An image of the next screen is shown below.
As you can see in the image above, you can now change your nameservers.
Please note that you must first contact your webhost so you can be sure of the nameservers you are supposed to use. Wrong namesevers will disable your website/blog and you might lose a heavy amount of traffic.
You also have to know that some additional settings has to be done in your cPanel inside your webhosting account. With that, it depends on the type of webhost. You would have to contact them for that.
If you have not purchased a domain name yet, you might want to take look at this post where I explain how to stay safe when registering a domain name.
How did you find this article? If you have any other suggestions, let me know in the comment section