Domain Names

Name Registrar

You’ll want to register your domain name before you sign up for web hosting — the web host will probably want your domain name.

You should register you domain name at a dedicated, reputable name registrar such as:

Any of these should be okay. You can basically choose one based on your favorite web interface. And you only want a domain name from your name registrar. They’ll try to “upsell” you web hosting, email addresses, etc etc. Resist all sales offers from the name registrar, especially for web hosting. Do Not get web hosting at your domain registrar. You’ll want to get web hosting from a dedicated, reputable web host. (Likewise, you probably don’t want to get your domain name from your web host.)

Domain Name Servers

After you’ve signed up for web hosting, you’ll need to go back to your domain name registrar and change your DNS to point your name at your web host.

Upon signing up, your web host should send you an email full of information. And in that email, they should list their name servers, often something like:

ns1.reallygreatwebhost.com
ns2.reallygreatwebhost.com

Armed with this info, go back to your domain name registrar and log in. Somewhere on their website is a section for managing your domains where you’ll see the option to “Update your DNS” or “Change your Name Servers.” Once you find this, you’ll see a form where you can fill in the name servers — this is where you enter the name servers for your web host.

After you give your name registrar the name servers of your web host, you need to wait for this information to “propagate” around the world. Your domain name should be “live” (pointing to your web hosting account) within a few hours of you updating the name servers. After 6 hours, if you go to your domain name and you still see ads for your domain registrar, then you should log back in to your registrar and make sure you entered the name servers exactly as they should be and make sure the registrar saved them.

If you go to your domain name and you see something like an empty directory with a couple random looking folders, you have succeeded. You have a website.


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