The letters DNS stand for Domain Name System. This is a world-wide convention that works like the phonebook of the Internet. A phone book tells you where a person or business is located. Using DNS, your web browser can find where a website is located.

Every computer on the internet has an IP address. They are “ugly” things like 192.368.21.12 (older style) or even uglier like 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334 (newer style). Without domain names, we would have to visit websites using their IP address. Luckily, however, those people who run the Internet provide us with DNS so we can use domain names like google.com and civihosting.com instead of numbers.

What this has to do with you is relevant to any domain names that you own. If you own civihosting.com (you don’t of course because we do, but you get the idea) and the server for that site is located at 3.3.3.3 then we need to set up some sort of listing in the DNS phonebook so that everyone’s browser will know where to find our site.

This we accomplish using DNS “nameservers.” A nameserver is sort of like a page on the phonebook. In reality it’s a server that is built to manage domain name data and “pointers.” So every domain name must be assigned nameservers. Then on the nameserver machine we can designate the IP address of the website for that domain name. We can also designate a different IP address for the email service if we want, or other services.

All hosting accounts with CiviHosting come with nameservers, but you can also use third party nameservers and just their a “pointer” to point your domain name to our servers. That pointer is called an “A record” and we can of course help you with that.

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