Understanding Basics of Domains, Registrars, Name Servers and DNS

What You Need to Know

Here is a brief summary of Domains, Registrars, Name Servers and DNS.

  1. Domains are purchased through domain registrars.
  2. Domain registrars hold the name server records – i.e. ns.rackspace.com.
  3. Name Servers hold DNS records.
  4. DNS records tell web browsers and email clients where to point the query.

Domain Name

  • This is the starting point. Domains are words that correlate to computers across the world.
  • For instance, paperstreet.com domain correlates to 72.32.8.45 – our web server.
  • You must have a domain name, otherwise your web site gets an IP address like 72.32.8.45. That is not easy to remember and pretty ugly to put on business cards, so that is why we have domains.

Domain Registrar

  • You register a domain through Domain Registrars.
  • Common Registrars are GoDaddy.com, BulkRegister.com, Network Solutions, Register.com, Enom.com and even your web host probably has an affiliation.

Name Servers

  • At the domain registrar, every domain must enter two pieces of information called the name servers.
  • Name Servers tell everyone where to look for DNS records of the domain.
  • Name servers are like:
    • Dns1.name-services.com = BulkRegister
    • ns26.domaincontrol.com = GoDaddy
    • ns.rackspace.com = Rackspace
    • dns1.Stabletransit.com = Mosso / Rackspace Cloud

DNS – Domain Name Services

  • DNS is the core of every domain.
  • DNS has three main areas:
    • HOST A – a record to a specific IP address (i.e. a specific web server)
      • www.paperstreet.com – 72.32.8.45
      • Paperstreet.com – 72.32.8.45
      • Mail.paperstreet.com – 72.3.161.129
      • Host A allows for multiple subdomains (i.e. citrix.paperstreet.com or webmail.paperstreet.com or essentials.paperstreet.com).
  • MX Record (Mail eXchange)– These are the mail records. It tells computers where to send email.
    • Paperstreet.com email points to mail.paperstreet.com
  • CNAME”  (Alias)
    • This is just an alias. If you get tired of typing in the same IP address for all your Host A records, you can make one HOST A and then use the same IP address for others.
      • Ex:”  www.paperstreet.com à paperstreet.com
      • This would allow the www version of PaperStreet.com to point to Paperstreet.com and use the same IP address.

Quick Lookup

http://www.intodns.com/ – All Types of Record Info

http://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp – WHOIS


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