But for the website to be active, once the domain is registered, the domain name addresses have to be linked to the web host that you have signed up with.
DNS servers provide this link between the domain name and an IP address. Every web server has a unique IP number. For websites that are hosted on dedicated servers, the IP addresses remain unique and when someone enters the domain name or the IP address into the browser, the website will show up. However, when a website is hosted on a shared server, the IP address for everyone that shares that server remains the same. So, when the IP address is entered in the browser, the website is not shown.
This is where DNS servers come into the picture. Domain name servers are the “bridge” between the domain names and IP addresses. They allow several websites to be hosted on a single server.
Let us see how this works.
After buying a domain and registering it, the next step is to sign up with a web host and upload the web site files to the host’s servers. But even after uploading the web pages, unless the domain name servers are changed, the website will remain inaccessible and when the name is entered into the browser, it will show a page under construction or an error.
When a domain name is registered, the DNS always automatically points to the domain registrar you have registered the name with. If the domain name registrar as well as the web host is one and the same, then the DNS need not be changed. But if the web host is different, the DNS has to be changed to point to the servers given by the web host.
The DNS server information contains of two names: the primary name server and the secondary name server.
These details will be given by the web host. But for some reason, you have no idea where this information is found, you can contact their support. This is an essential step for a website to go online and become accessible on the World Wide Web.
After getting the DNS information from the web host, you will have to go to your domain registrar and change the default settings to the new DNS information given by the hosting company.
Don’t expect your site to be accessible instantly upon changing the DNS information. It may take up to a maximum of 48 hours for these changes to be effective and the site to become available.
This time is needed because the DNS is a system where there are root servers for storing the complete database of domain names and IP addresses. There are also other DNS servers to maintain only some information of the main database. When a DNS servers gets a request that does not exist in its database, it passes that request to a higher level database or another DNS server. When this request actually comes to the exact server where the matching domain name and IP address exist, then the website becomes accessible.
Now that you understand how to link your domain names to the web host, things get simplified. Remember, it is not essential to do that immediately upon registering a domain name. This can be done at any point of time.