Domain Names & Web Hosting
QUESTION: If I purchase a domain from a hosting service, can I change or use a different hosting service?
ANSWER: Absolutely! Although most hosting services provide a “free” domain name if you purchase hosting services from them, that is not the only way to acquire a domain name. This “Domain Forwarding Guide” will step you through the process:
Domain Forwarding Guide
The domain purchase can be SEPARATE from acquiring your hosting service. You can purchase (actually “lease” is a better term since you have to pay yearly or lose it) a domain name from practically any hosting company. This is what you do — Especially if you want to host your own website (either on your own local server or, some remote server or service). Usually, a “.com” domain name costs about $15 per year (see the NOTE below). Hosting service prices usually start at around $5 a month and can reach many thousands of dollars – so be sure to select “domain” and NOT “hosting.”NOTE: Since modern browsers and search engines often DEFAULT to (or, assume) the “.com” domain — unless you specifically enter “.net” or whatever, AND, since many Internet users assume that ALL domain names end in “.com” and may type it automatically, — you would be VERY wise to get a domain name with “.com” on the end – or have people not find your site.
However, in order for your new domain name to have any real value, you must “forward” it to your website. The process is really pretty simple but can be confusing if you are not familiar with some additional facts about “Domain Name Server” (DNS) technology:
How DNS Works
- All nodes (computers, phones, tablets, servers, etc) on the Internet have a numerical address called an “IP Address.” “IP” stands for “Internet Protocol” and can be taken to my the Internet, in general use. This IP Address is generally constructed of four sets of 3-digit numbers separated by three “dots” (periods). Each of the 3-digit numbers can be in the range of 0-255. And example would be 123.456.789.000 and each address will be unique over the entire Internet.
- Since humans can not easily remember such addresses, the powers that be have devised a “translation” scheme whereby we can use more common alpha/numeric phrases as Internet addresses. These phrases are called “domain names” and are the ones that we use to find the site that we want to visit, “google.com” or “bishoptec.com” is all that we need to type into our browsers in order to visit that site. (As stated in the NOTE above, if you just type “raywaldo” into your browser, it will automatically add the .com portion.)
- The device that links the IP Address to the Domain Name is the “Domain Name Servers.” (I use the plural since there are a LOT of those servers on the Internet.) The DNS servers maintain a cross reference list of all the registered Domain Names and their associated IP Addresses. Ideally, all DNS servers are linked together and share / sync their data so that, regardless of which server your browser contacts, it will (almost immediately) be directed to the correct IP Address for that Domain Name.
So, the actual process is: 1) purchase a domain name 2) acquire a server to host the website 3) forward the domain to the new website.
How to Forward a Domain
So, you have purchased the ultimate “cool” domain name and you have a hosting service ready to serve your wonderful new site. Now, how do you “forward” your Domain Name? Each hosting service will be unique in the exact steps – and each should provide instructions for the process. Our guide (below) explains how to forward your domain if you purchased it from 1and1.com (other companies should be similar):
Using the 1and1.com control panel to forward your domain:
Upon successful purchase of a domain name, 1and1 (or, the company from which you purchased the domain) will send you an email with your User ID and a link to your Control Panel, as well as a link to set your choice of password.
- Either click on the link in the email or type in the address for your hosting service directly into your browser
- Sign in to your Control Panel
- If you are presented with a “package” to select, then click on the “1&1 Instant Domain” link (or similar).
- When you are at the “Home” page, there will be a Menu Bar across the top. Click on “Domains” or, if available, “Domain Center“
The image below is representative:
- Tick the check box on the left of your new domain name.
- Click on “Domain Settings”
- On the drop-down, select “Edit DNS Settings“
The image below shows the “Basic DNS Settings” page:
Under the “Basic DNS Settings” heading, tick the button next to “Other Name Servers” –
- Under “Name Server Settings” in the field “Name Server 1“, type in the first Name Server for your new website. In my case, that would be “ns.myhosting.com” (without the quotes).
- Next, click the dropdown for “Additional Name Servers” and fill in the fields for the 2nd and 3rd servers, if your hosting service has them. In my case, it would be “ns1.myhosting.com” and in the next field, “ns2.myhosting.com“
- Click “Save” (at the bottom) and then answer “Yes” to confirm and you are done!
If you would like to offer a step-by-step guide to perform this action using other hosting services, leave me a comment below.