Once you’ve registered your business’s domain name and signed up with a great web host, the next step is to point your domain to your hosting account. This is often called setting your domains DNS (Domain Name System), and it’s a critical step in getting your business live on the web. It might sound a bit technical, but this tutorial’s all about keeping things simple!
We’ll start things off with a run-through of the process. I’ll cover some fundamentals about domain DNS and also discuss a few technical aspects—it’s good stuff to know. After that, we’ll jump right into the steps for adjusting your domain’s DNS. Specifically, I’ll give you the steps that outline how to edit a domain’s DNS that’s been registered with NameCheap, the domain registrar I use for all my web projects. You can point your NameCheap domain to a few top web hosting companies, including Web Hosting Hub and WP Engine.
By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have your business domain name pointed to your web hosting account, meaning that when someone types in
yourcompany.com, they’ll be taken right to your site.
There’s some great stuff ahead, so let’s get going!
If you’d prefer video over written steps, I’ve inserted a video tutorial below, which walks you through the steps to point a domain name registered with NameCheap to website space that’s hosted with Web Hosting Hub. Alternatively, you can check out my video on pointing a domain to SiteGround, or the one I did that outlines pointing a domain to WP Engine. Just trying to cover all the bases here!
I want to make sure that you understand what editing domain DNS info is all about, and how it works.
First off, and I’ve mentioned this in other tutorials, but setting up a website is a process: 1) Register your domain, 2) Set up your hosting, 3) Point your domain, and finally 4) Set up your business email. So this tutorial is all about the third step in the overall process, pointing your domain name to your web space. It’s very useful to know how to handle these four steps, because it gives you the ability to set up and control your business’s website by yourself.
A few different phrases, or terms, are used to refer to editing your domain’s DNS. It’s sometimes called editing your domain’s nameservers, setting your domain’s A-Record, or just simply setting your domain’s DNS. All these phrases mean the same thing: Pointing your domain name to your web host.
Actually making these changes to your domain is fairly straightforward, but admittedly it can also be the most technical step in the overall process of setting up your website. As mentioned above, I’ve outlined all the steps here, so all you need to do is simply follow along.
Specifically, you’ll be pointing your domain to the folder on your web host’s server that contains your website. Oftentimes, this folder is called
public_html. This folder is on what’s called the root-level of your domain, meaning the very top level. Typically, our domain name will be looking for a file in this folder called
index is a website’s homepage, so if it’s found, it’ll display in the visitor’s web browser. Cool!
Worth a mention too (just in case there’s any confusion) is this: Every hosting company will support the ability to point domains to their servers. When you sign up for web hosting, the hosting company will provide you with the information you’ll need for setting your domain’s DNS or A-Record. The settings you’ll need to make depend on which web hosting company you’re using. They’ll also give you a temporary URL to access your new site until your domain’s DNS change is complete.
Typically, your web host’s instructions will say something like, "Set your domain’s A-Record to the following IP address…" or "Set your domain’s nameservers to ns1.webhostinghub.com and ns2.webhostinghub.com"—something like that. If your host’s instructions are unclear, their customer support will be able to help you along too. If you checked out my tutorial on choosing a great web host you know that we purposefully selected a hosting company with excellent customer support. So if you get stuck, they’re there to help.
Bear in mind too that it can sometimes take 24 or even 48 hours for changes to your domain name to propagate, or resolve, across the web. If it’s the A-Record that your web hosting company instructed to change, this typically only takes a few minutes to resolve. This means that it’ll take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days before your domain will properly point to your web hosting space. That’s just how it works.
Okay, with all of that out of the way, we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and go edit your domain’s DNS. Let’s get to it…
Alright, we’re ready to go and edit your domain’s DNS info. To make these changes to your domain, you’ll have to head back to your domain registrar and log into your account there. Then, you’ll have to edit the settings for your domain.
Now, because there are a few different combinations of domain name registrars and web hosting companies, I can’t cover every possible scenario. But what I’ll do below is provide information for pointing a domain name registered with NameCheap to a few different web hosts
For simplicity, I’ll assume that you’ve already registered your business domain name with NameCheap.
These steps will be very similar for other domain registrars, too. You can often do a quick Google search to find the steps needed for your specific combination of registrar and web host. I’ll provide some examples below, and if you need further assistance, you can always contact your domain name registrar. They’re there to help!
Okay, let’s get started…
To edit your domain’s DNS info: Hosts like Web Hosting Hub, SiteGround, and others, will instruct you to change your domain’s DNS. So first, scroll down to the Nameservers section; then from the NameCheap BasicDNS drop-down menu, choose Custom DNS. In the two fields that appear, insert the nameservers your web hosting company provided you with.
For instance, with a site hosted with Web Hosting Hub, this will be
ns2.webhostinghub.com. If you’re using SiteGround, they’ve provided information about pointing your domain to their servers right here. Other hosts will provide you with their DNS info when you sign up with them.
When you’re finished, be sure to click the green checkmark to save your changes.
To edit your domain’s A-Record: This method is often used with WP Engine and some other hosting providers. If you’ve been instructed by your host to adjust your domain’s A-Record, click the Advanced DNS tab at the top. On the next screen, click the red Add New Record button and choose A-Record from the pop-up menu that appears. Finally, insert the IP address that your hosting company has provided you with.
That’s all it takes to point your domain to your web host. Now, you just need to sit tight until the domain resolves. If it was the domain’s A-Record that you were instructed to change, go mix up a coffee, and by the time you get back to your computer, your domain should be pointing correctly to your website.
On the other hand, if it was your domain’s nameserver that you were instructed to change, it can be a little anticlimactic. You set and save info for your domain, and then just…wait. Again, it’s going to take 24-48 hours, often less, for this kind of change to propagate across the web. So, until then, just sit tight.
So that’s how to point your business domain to your web hosting. I hope you were able to successfully get your domain’s DNS edited.
Here’s a recap: We talked about how the process of editing your domain name’s DNS works, and also covered some of the technical stuff behind making these changes. Then, we got right into making these changes by walking through the steps to point domains registered with NameCheap to various web hosts.
Now when I’m doing this kind of change, I’ll check the domain every once in a while (simply by trying to navigate to it in my web browser) to see if it’s resolved yet.
Our domain name has been registered, our hosting plan is set up, or domain is pointing to our hosting account (or it’s in the process of resolving). What’s left? Well, we’ve gotta sort out how we’re going to handle our business’s email, and how to connect to our website via FTP.
I hope you’ll join me for those tutorials. I’ll see you there!