I’ve purchased web hosting service at TheStack, how can I point the domain name to my web hosting account?
Setting up a domain name may be easier than you may think, you need to connect it with the hosting server before you can access it.
If you’ve registered a domain name at TheStack, it’s automatically pointed to your hosting account and no further actions are required. However, if you’ve decided to use a domain name registered with a 3rd party registrar, you’ll need to point it to your TheStack server.
There are two main ways to point a domain name to TheStack:
- By changing the nameservers at your domain name registrar. This method is recommended since your DNS zone will be configured automatically. By pointing the domain name to TheStack nameservers, you’ll be able to manage the DNS zone at TheStack’s control panel.
- By pointing the domain name via A record. This method requires more technical knowledge since you’ll have to manually change the DNS records. Moreover, your DNS zone won’t be automatically updated. For example, if you create a subdomain at TheStack, you’ll have to create an appropriate A record in your DNS zone manually.
What is DNS?
The DNS (Domain Name System) converts an easy to remember address to a physical IP address. It’s like a phone book of Internet. For example, when you type in www.thestack.net in your browser, the DNS system converts this address to the actual IP address where our website is hosted.
What is a DNS Zone?
DNS zone is a file which contains all DNS records for a specific domain.
What is a nameserver?
Nameserver stores the DNS server records for your domain. Nameservers are responsible for providing the IP address of the domain name. It allows you to access websites by using domain names instead of IP addresses. By changing nameservers, you can point a domain name to a different hosting provider.
What is an A record?
A record is the most basic, yet most commonly used DNS record. A record maps a domain name or a subdomain to an IP address. It’s used to point a domain or a subdomain to an IP address when the IP address is known and permanent.
What is an MX record?
The MX (mail exchanger) record is an entry in DNS zone which specifies the mail server that is responsible for receiving email messages. For example, if you set Google’s MX record for your domain name, any email sent to your domain name will be routed to Google’s servers.
IMPORTANT: Before starting this tutorial, take into account that DNS changes can take up to 24 hours to fully propagate worldwide.
What you’ll need:
- Access to TheStack control panel
- Access to your domain name registrar
Option 1 – Changing Domain Nameservers (Recommended)
This option is recommended since your DNS zone will be auto-configured. It means that you won’t have to change any individual DNS records at your registrar. In order to point your domain to TheStack nameservers, follow these steps:
Step 1 – Finding TheStack Nameservers
For most of TheStack web hosting services, the nameservers should be:
Step 2 – Changing The Nameservers
Once you have the nameservers, you can change them at your domain name registrar. A registrar is a company that manages domain name registrations. In simple words, it’s a company where you have registered a domain name. If you’ve forgotten the name of the company where you’ve registered the domain name, use whois lookup.
Process of changing nameservers on various registrars is quite similar:
- Log in to your registrar’s control panel.
- Find the DNS change option. Depending on the registrar, it can be named differently. Most common names contain: DNS editor, Manage DNS Settings, Change Nameservers, DNS Details.
- Delete all values from the nameserver fields and input TheStack nameservers. Save changes.
- Allow up to 24 hours for DNS to fully propagate worldwide.
Option 2 – Pointing a Domain Name via A Record
Step 1 – Changing A Record
If you want to keep your DNS zone at your domain’s registrar, you’ll have to change the domain’s A record (Address Record). A record maps the domain name to the appropriate IP address and is used to locate the server from the name so that you would not have to enter the IP address every time you wanted to open your website.
The IP address for your TheStack account can be found in cPanel control panel homepage -> GENERAL INFORMATION -> Shared IP Address.
In most cases, you will have to create two A records for your domain name: one with www subdomain and one without. For instance, if you have a domain name example.com and you want to point it to 192.168.0.1 IP address, you will have to create the following A records:
It’s also possible that your www subdomain is pointed via CNAME record. In this case, you would have to change only the A record for your root domain name:
Don’t worry if you see a slightly different view at your registrar, just create values that have a similar look to the ones shown above or edit the already existing records to match your new IP address.
- Name – your domain name or the subdomain you want to point.
- TTL – short for Time to Live. Time to Live determines the period of time, after which, the server refreshes its DNS related information. The default value of most providers is 14400 seconds.
- Type – record type.
- Address – IP address to point a domain name to.
Step 2 – Changing MX Record for Email
If you have pointed your domain name to TheStack via A record and want to use TheStack servers to receive emails, you’ll have to change the MX record (Mail Exchanger) accordingly. MX record determines the incoming mail server, which receives emails sent to your domain name.
In most cases, you should be able to set the MX record in the same section. Setting the MX record is similar to setting the A record, simply change the address value to match your TheStack’s account address:
- Name – your domain name.
- Priority – this field is used to determine which address should be used to receive the emails if you have more than one MX record. The lowest number represents the highest priority.
- Type – record type.
- Address – destination / address of the server, responsible for receiving emails.
By finishing this tutorial, you have learned two ways to point your domain name to TheStack. Once DNS propagation is complete, your website will be easily accessible worldwide, this process will take up to 48 hours globally.