When you have a website, you want people to find it easily using a domain name, like “company.com,” instead of remembering long numbers. To make this happen, you need a DNS (Domain Name System) system.
DNS is like your contact list on your phone. When someone types a domain name into their web browser, DNS translates that name into the correct address of the website or service. It’s like looking up all the contact information from a person’s name.
Using DNS for your domain offers several benefits:
- Flexibility: With DNS, you can control and manage different settings for your domain. For example, you can point your domain to the right server where your website is hosted or set up email services.
- Reliability and Speed: DNS allows you to distribute traffic across multiple servers. This means that even if one server is busy or has a problem, your website or service can still be accessible. It also helps to make sure that your website loads quickly for visitors.
- Scalability: DNS is designed to handle a large number of requests. So, if your website becomes more popular or you need to add more services, DNS can drive the increased traffic without any issues.
- Easy Management: DNS lets you separate the management of your domain from other services. For example, you can host your website on one server and your email service on another. DNS makes it easy to connect everything without any confusion.
When onboarding clients, one common mistake we often encounter is the misuse of nameservers to point domains to their websites. Nameservers are a fundamental component of the Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure and are responsible for translating domain names into IP addresses. They help route traffic to the appropriate servers hosting a website.
Using nameservers to point domains to websites may initially seem like a convenient and straightforward approach. But the problem arises when the client decides to switch their website host service. This could happen for various reasons, such as finding a better hosting provider, needing more resources, or seeking additional features. If the client solely relies on nameservers to connect their domain with the website, changing the hosting service can become a complex and time-consuming process.
When a website host switch occurs, the client would need to update the nameserver information for their domain, which usually involves changing the nameserver addresses to the new ones provided by the new hosting service. This process is not instantaneous and can take some time due to DNS propagation, during which the updated information needs to be propagated across DNS servers worldwide. This propagation period can vary from a few minutes to several hours or even up to 48 hours in some cases.
As a result, during the DNS propagation period, some visitors may still be directed to the old hosting service, while others may be directed to the new one. This inconsistency can lead to a fragmented user experience, with some users seeing the updated website and others seeing the old version or encountering errors.
But most importantly, when you point your domain to a website using nameservers, it also affects the domain’s email services. Typically, email services are associated with the same domain name used for the website. So, if you change the nameservers to point the domain to a new website host, it can inadvertently disrupt the email services as well. And in a world where email is our core communication in business, it becomes a disruptor in normal business activities as well.
To avoid this issue, it is recommended to use other DNS records, such as the “A” or “CNAME” records, to connect the domain to the website instead of relying solely on nameservers. By using these records, the domain can be easily reconfigured to point to a different hosting service by updating the specific records associated with the new server’s IP address or domain name.
In summary, while using nameservers to point domains to websites may appear convenient initially, it can cause complications when changing the website host service. It is advisable to utilize alternative DNS records along with nameservers to ensure a smoother transition in case of future hosting changes.
In summary, using DNS means you have control and flexibility over your domain, ensuring that people can find your website or service easily on the internet without disrupting where and when you decide to change services.