Domain names are an integral part of websites no matter what if you’re on shared hosting, dedicated hosting, or even Virtual Private Servers (VPS). Plans like VPS often give high performance and more granular control such as having full root access.
Owning a domain is only the beginning and you also need to be familiar with how to configure and maintain them. All of this is part of overall server configurations which you will need to be familiar with.
This is usually done either through the control panel of your web host or by using tools offered by your domain name registrar. Through these dashboards you can perform activities such as renewing, transferring, validating your domain name as well as configure nameservers.
What is a Domain?
Domains are the human-friendly way for people to access websites. They are linked to IP addresses which are the unique identifying numbers of each device (and their location) online. Rather than having to remember long strings of numbers, it is easier to remember a domain name.
Think of the relationship between domain names and IP addresses in the same way as actual addresses. For example, a home might have an address, but it actually has a set of GPS coordinates as well. The latter are much harder to remember since they are also made up of long strings of numbers.
Domain names are made up of two parts, the name, followed by a period and the extension – for example, Google.com. The name can be anything you want, while the extension will typically represent what type of website it is. Some common examples of domain name extensions are .com, .net, .org, .biz, and .info.
Where to Get One?
Domain names are readily available all over the Internet. Almost every single web hosting service provider will sell them, or you can buy them directly from a domain name registrar. Irrespective of the source you buy it from, all domain names are invariably managed by domain name registrars.
One thing to note though is that not all domain name extensions are available at all places. Some will only sell certain types of extension while others may offer more exotic choices. They will also offer different prices and have varying levels of domain management features.
The provider which you get your domain name from will also offer the use of a name server.
What are Name Servers and Domain IP Address? How can I see my Current Ones?
You can see your website’s IP address once you log in to your web hosting control panel.
In the context of domain names and web hosting (any kind of web hosting, even if you signed up for WordPress hosting), name servers are an integral part of the Domain Name System (DNS). They are what helps translate the domain name to match it with the corresponding IP address.
To showcase this, let’s consider things from the point of a website owner. When you purchase a web hosting plan, you will be provided with the IP address for your website. When you purchase a domain name, you then configure it to link to your website’s IP address.
As the pivotal point in all this, you are aware of the links in your mind. However, the rest of the Internet doesn’t know. That’s where the name server domes in – to direct anyone typing in your domain name towards the actual IP of your website.
If all of this has already been set up for you – don’t worry, you can still check up on all the information. To check your IP address on ScalaHosting VPS, log in to your web hosting dashboard and the information will be on the top right corner of the page under ‘General Information’.
Doing a whois lookup can provide you with some detailed domain name information.
Your name server information will be provided to you together with your domain name. FOr example, if you bought a domain name from ScalaHosting, you will be provided with this in your welcome email along with other information such as your server configuration, disk space, chosen operating system, and more.
Alternatively, you can simply do a whois lookup using a tool such as whois.domaintools.com.
How to Register Name Servers and an IP Address?
Example of a name server and IP registration in Cloudflare DNS settings.
The way you use your domain name and IP address can vary, but one method is by creating private name servers. In this situation, you will need to register them with your domain registrar.
To do this, you will have to log in to your domain name registrar or CDN dashboard and manage your DNS settings. In the settings area, create two A records, naming them ns1 and ns2 respectively. These need to be set to point towards your IP address.
How to Point my Domain to ScalaHosting and How to Find out it’s Properly Done?
Successful ping test indicating a domain name is pointing to the right IP address.
To point your domain to ScalaHosting you will again need to access your DNS settings. When creating or modifying your name server records, use the name servers provided when you signed up for your web hosting account.
If the configuration of your name server records are correct, you will be able to access your website by typing in your domain name into any browser address bar. As long as the A records you created to link your domain name to the correct IP is done, it should work.
Alternatively, you can carry out a ping test from the command line of your computer. SImply type:
Ping yourdomain.extension (e.g. ping Google.com).
If you see a series of replies stating the time taken for the response, then the records have been set up correctly. Do note that if you have just made changes to your DNS records, it may take some time for the links to work.
Do I Need to Transfer my Domain First and How to do it Properly?
You do not need to transfer your domain name to ScalaHosting (or any other web host) for it to be able to work. The configuration will work with any domain registrar you are on, including CDN service providers.
However, transferring your domain name to ScalaHosting will make life a lot simpler for you since everything will be under one roof. This will help you when it comes to billing, management facilities, and even support.
To transfer your domain name, you will need to make use of your ScalaHosting client area control panels. On the left navigation column, hover your mouse cursor over ‘My Domains’ and click on ‘Transfer Domains to Us’. Next, click on ‘Transfer your domain from another registrar’ and enter your domain name and select the extension.
Since you own the domain, you will get a message showing that the domain is taken. All you need to do from there is click the ‘Transfer’ button. You will then be asked to enter an authorization code (sometimes called auth or EPP code).
To get your EPP code, you have to access the dashboard of your domain registrar and unlock your domain. Once this is done, you can request the EPP code using the dashboard and enter that into the ScalaHosting system.
When transferring your domain anime to ScalaHosting, there are no additional fees involved except for the cost of renewal. The amount you pay will depend on the length of time you wish to extend your domain name renewal for and what domain extension you are using.
How Long Does it Take for my Site to Start Working After a DNS Change?
Once you’ve set up your name servers to point to the right IP address, DNS propagation will commence. This typically takes place within 24 hours, but on some occasions may take up to 72 hours.
Because DNS records usually do not change often, they are stored in caches to help make DNS queries faster. Each record you create in the DNS has a Time to Live (TTL) value which you can set. TTL will indicate how long the record should be stored in cache until it is refreshed.
It takes some time for any changes you make to take effect since all the DNS servers around the world will need to be updated to reflect changes in your records. This is known as DNS propagation.
How to Manage Multiple Domains Under my VPS Hosting?
Adding extra domains is easy in SPanel.
Handling more than one domain name per account is done from your SPanel dashboard. Anything past the first domain name which was used to create the account will be considered an Addon Domain.
To manage more domain names to the same site, look for the ‘Domain’ section in SPanel and click on ‘Addon domains’. Here you can specify the domain name you wish to include and specify the folder the files for that website can be found in.
Handling the configuration of the domains you have in SPanel is done using the DNS editor. Once you’ve gone into the DNS editor interface, you can simply choose the right domain you want to configure with the use of a dropdown menu.
When you’ve chosen the right domain, the record table will self-populate and you can make any amendments you wish there.
The relationship between domain names and IP addresses form the basis of allowing easy access to websites. While everything happens transparently to users, it can require some effort to get the configurations done correctly.
Incorrect entries will result in non-functional connections to websites at best, and potentially even result in security loopholes for your hosting account. Once you get it right though, it is likely that you won’t have to modify the records again.
If you’re in doubt about your abilities to handle this, consider opting for a Managed VPS plan. At the very least, you will be assured of a support team that’s able to help you with any problems that crop up. Unmanaged VPS servers can be cheaper but will require higher technical expertise in server management.
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