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A guide to understanding Nameservers

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Posted by on October 18, 2019 in , |
What are nameservers

First, let’s start by answering the question on your mind. “What are nameservers?” Simply put, namesevers or Domain Name System, DNS is a system that converts domain names that are easily remembered by humans into the equivalent numeric addresses known as Internet Protocol, IP.

Nameservers also identify and locate the physical computer systems and resources on the internet. But that’s not all there is to Nameservers. Let’s take a closer look at Nameservers or DNS.

What are Nameservers?

Nameservers are servers that have a Domain Name System or DNS. They are like a phone book for computers that converts domain names into Internet Protocol, IP addresses, which makes browsing websites on the internet a quick and relatively effortless task.

For example, typing in hostname.com is much easier than having to memorize it.

What Do Nameservers Look Like?

Generally, your web hosting service has two Nameservers linked to it. They look alike, but they are in fact different and usually look like this:

  • ns1. Hostname.com
  • ns2. Hostname.com

Who Gives Me My Nameservers?

You will get your host nameservers from your hosting provider when you place an order for hosting service. They will also tell you which one you should use. However, if you are in doubt as to what to do, contact customer support and they will happily tell you what to do. The rule of thumb is, when in doubt, find out!

How Do I Check My Nameservers?

Checking your nameservers is quiet easy. All you have to do is enter your domain name on the WhoIs database. Your domain information, including the nameservers, will pop up for you to read and familiarize yourself with.

In the UK, the publicly available WhoIs database is available through Nominet WhoIs and top-level domains such as .com and .net, can use ICAN WhoIs to check their nameservers.

Can I Update My Nameservers?

Absolutely, the process is however, different based on the hosting provider you use. While some of them will allow you to do it yourself by logging into your account and accessing the domain management area, others ask that you to contact them directly and they will do it for you. But, do note that it’s best to do nameservers changes at night or on the weekend, because the process, known as ‘DNS propagation’, can take up to 48 hours to complete.

Why Domain Names have Two Nameservers

They act as a backup for websites. They are put there to protect websites from experiencing downtime – which could cost their reputation, customers and millions of dollars in lost sales. Downtime could even cause some businesses to close their door.

So it’s important to have two nameservers. Actually, it’s not just a nice to do, it is the acceptable standard used to prevent domains from going offline.

Can I Register My Own Nameservers

Yes, you can. Reseller hosting allows individuals to buy server space in bulk and sell them back using their own branding. So, if you have a reselling hosting space, opting to register your own nameservers is a great decision.

Benefits of owning private nameservers

There are several benefits to having a private nameservers that are connected with one domain, instead of being linked to a hosting company. Here are a few of those benefits:

  • They keep your reseller status a secret – this allows you to rebrand the hosting as your own and under your domain name.
  • Helps Clients Identify your site – they make it easier for customers to remember your nameservers when they are the same as your domain.
  • Enhanced security – It causes your customers to feel more secure when they see that the same nameservers in your domain and website are the same.
  • Easy to change host providers – Your clients will not have to update their nameservers and this makes it easy for them to switch from one hosting provider to another.

Why Change Your Name servers

There’s a myriad of things that could cause you to want to or be advised to change your nameservers. These are some of the main reasons:

  • If you plan to host your domain with a company other than the one you purchased the domain from.
  • When your provider’s speed, price and downtime become intolerable, you may want to migrate to a different host. This is a good reason to change your nameservers.

But bear in mind that the hosting server for your website changes when change your DNS name server. The change will not be visible to visitors to you site though because the URL they use to access the site will not change. Additionally, changing your nameservers does not affect your Search Engine Optimization, SEO, rankings, contrary to popular belief. The process to change your nameservers is quick and easy and so, the likelihood of your SEO rankings being affected is considered slim to none.

Why Are Nameservers Important?

Nameservers act like an address book or the number on your house. They tell the internet where your website is physically located. Regular users of the internet are accustomed to just entering information and getting results, almost instantaneously, often forgetting that there’s a lot of work that goes on in the background to make everything possible.

“Nameservers are major players in the background process.”

The internet launches a search for the nameservers, when a domain name is entered into a browser. When it makes contact with the server, a request is then made for the files from the website you have entered and in a split second, the information you seek appears on your screen. You didn’t have to worry about memorized the IP address or do any of the hard background work, because nameservers simplify the process for you.

Summary

Languages are currency and while humans speak theirs, the internet and computers speak their own and most people do not know of or understand how they communicate, but systems and tools like namesevers make it so that you don’t have to learn the computer language and codes.

Nameservers convert numbers that make no sense to the regular individual, into plain, simple and easy formats that are easy to read and understand.