If you are new to creating a website and purchased your domain name and web hosting separately, you’ll need to point your domain to your web hosting provider to get your website set up.
In this guide, we explain step-by-step how to point a domain to your web hosting account.
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What you Need to Point a Domain to your Web Host
Before you can follow this guide, you’ll need to have done a couple of things first.
Note: If you purchased your domain name and web hosting through the same company, there is no need to point a domain to your web host. You’ll probably only need to install WordPress.
You have Purchased a Domain Name
Since you are reading this guide, we will assume that you have already purchased a domain name.
If you haven’t purchased a domain name, we recommend reading our guide on how to choose the best domain name registrar. This guide will help point out what to look for in a good domain registrar before you go and make a purchase.
You have a Web Hosting Account Set Up
A web host is a company that stores all the files and data that make up your website. Your web host is where all your website files live. It is also responsible for delivering that data to people who visit your website.
If you haven’t set up a web hosting account, you will need one before you can point a domain anywhere. We recommend reading our guide on how to choose the best web hosting provider for your website. This will help you understand what to look for in a great web hosting provider and how to get started choosing one.
For more reading, check out our guide on: The difference between a Domain name and Web Hosting
How to Point a Domain to your Web Host?
To be sure visitors can reach your website, you need to point your domain name from your domain registrar to your web hosting servers where your website will live.
No matter what domain registrar and web hosting provider you used to purchase your domain name and web hosting through pointing a domain can be broken down into three simple steps.
Now let’s look at how to do that.
Step 1. Get your Web Host’s Nameserver Values
First, you’ll need to locate the DNS (domain name server) settings on your web hosting provider. Once you find these settings, look for the nameserver values.
This information is typically sent in a post-purchase email after you have completed the signup process. You can also find this information somewhere in your web host’s documentation.
The easiest way to get your nameserver information is to contact your web hosting provider’s customer support and ask them for it.
The example below shows what nameservers will often look like where ‘exampledomain’ will be replaced by your web host’s domain name or some other domain they use for their servers.
Name Server Examples:
A web host will usually provide two or more nameservers. Once you’ve found them take note because you’ll need to enter these into your domain registrar’s control panel.
Step 2. Apply the Nameservers Values to your Domain Name
Next, you’ll need to go and log in to your domain name registrar. Once you are logged in, you need to look for an option to set or change your domain’s name servers.
Every registrar will have a different control panel meaning it will be different for each company. Unfortunately, there is no standard way of doing this. So try the following to get to the page that lets you modify the name servers.
- Look for some way to display all of your domains on the registrar’s site. Usually, this can be found on a ‘Domains’ page, ‘My Domains’ page, ‘Domains Manager’ page, ‘Domain List’ page, ‘Manage Domains’ page, or something similarly named.
- Select the domain you want to set the name servers. Look for a manage, edit, or modify button next to your domain and click it. Sometimes you can even simply click on the domain name.
- Some domain registrars will have a ‘Manage DNS,’ ‘DNS,’ ‘Nameservers,’ ‘Name Servers,’ or some similar menu link or button.
- Look in your domain registrar’s ‘Help’ or ‘FAQ’ documentation. This procedure is so common that they are likely to have some sort of guide to help with this.
- If you still can’t seem to find it, you could contact customer service, but who knows how long it will take them to reply, and when they do, most likely, they are going to send you a link to the documentation.
Basically, you need to find your domain and enter its settings screen, then look for a way to manage, modify, edit, change, or set the DNS or Nameservers.
Once you have found the correct page to manage your Nameservers for your domain, you will most likely see a form where you can enter things like ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ Name server. The exact names can be different. The idea is to put your ns1.exampledomain.com into the first spot, ns2.exampledomain.com into the second spot, and so on.
A domain name should have at least two name servers associated with it. Registrars can have anywhere from two to six fields for name servers. No matter the case, simply enter what you have into the correct fields.
If you have four nameserver values from your hosting provider, but your domain registrar only has two fields, enter the first two into the appropriate fields. And if your hosting provider only provides two nameserver values, while your registrar has six fields, enter what you have into their respective fields and leave the others blank.
Step 3. Wait up to 72 hours for DNS Propagation
Finally, when you have set the nameservers on your registrar, you have officially pointed your domain to your web host. You’ll need to wait for your domain to connect to your web host, which may take up to 72 hours. The technical terminology is to wait for DNS propagation. Once the DNS propagation is complete, you can begin setting up your website. You can test that everything is working properly by visiting your web address.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand how to point a domain to your web host. Just get your nameserver values from your web host, copy them into your domain registrar’s DNS settings, then wait for the DNS to propagate.
If you ever need to move your website to a new web hosting provider, you will do the exact same thing and change your domain’s DNS to your new web host’s nameservers.
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