You’ve finished revising your website and you’re ready to get it up and running. You give your approval to go live, but then your web designer starts asking you about hosting and DNS information, and you have no clue what they’re talking about.
We’re going to explain what each of these things are, why you need them and answer some frequently asked questions.
It’s easy to forget how impressive a feat of technology and engineering the internet actually is. In a few seconds, you can access information from the other side of the world, quickly and easily. This means a lot of people assume it is simple, but there is a lot going on under the bonnet. We’ve done our best to simplify the information below and used metaphors we hope you find helpful.
You can think of hosting as similar to paying rent, but for your website. You pay web hosting to store all of your website’s files and data on a server connected to the internet. You technically don’t have to pay hosting, if you have a spare server you can set up, configure and maintain yourself, but unless you work in that field, it’s going to be a lot less hassle to pay a company to host your website for you.
At the end of the day, the internet is just an enormous network of connected computers. So that these computers are easily identifiable, they are each assigned a string of numbers called an IP Address.
The OurAuto website is stored on a server with this IP Address: 184.108.40.206
Computers have no problem remembering long strings of random numbers, but us humans find that a bit difficult. That’s where Domain Names come in.
The domain name is what you type into the URL bar to visit the website. OurAuto’s domain name is ourauto.com.au, which is a lot easier to remember than 220.127.116.11.
You can think of your domain name payments as a similar to the cost of registering a business name or trademark — not strictly necessary, but you’re not going to see success without one.
DNS (Domain Name Systems)
DNS Servers do the work of converting Domain names to IP addresses.
You can think of DNS as similar to your phone’s contact list, or a phonebook. You put in the name of your friend (the domain name) and the DNS brings up the correct phone number (IP address) so that you can call them (visit the site)
Usually, the company that handles your domain name registration also looks after your DNS, but sometimes, two different companies look after these separately.
How to find out who manages your Domain Name and DNS
If you have business emails, you definitely have a domain name. Hopefully, you can talk to whoever bills you for these and they should be able to help you out.
You can also use an online tool called a Whois Lookup, which can help you figure out who is looking after your domain name.
Here is a Whois Lookup, just type in your domain name, and it will return a long list of information. The info you’re looking for is Registrant Contact Name, and Tech Contact Name and Tech Contact Email.
But I Already Paid For My Website!
That’s true! And if you got your website with OurAuto, you own it completely. Hosting and DNS are just the cost of making it accessible on the internet.
Hosting And Domain Management With OurAuto
If we built your website, you are free to do whatever you want with it. You can go with any company for hosting and DNS, and we’ll happily send you and your hosting company a copy of your website files. Like we said, you own your website outright.
If OurAuto will be hosting and managing your domain name, we install and configure the website for you, and do everything we can to take the hassle out of the go live process.
If You Don’t Already Have A Domain Name
Then we handle everything. OurAuto will buy the domain name in your name and set up your new website!
If You Have A Domain Name And You’re Moving Domain Management To Us
We will need you to contact your current DNS company and request a Domain transfer key, which you then pass on to us. If you’re not sure who your current DNS company is, you can use a Whois Lookup, or talk to us and we’ll find out for you.
If You Are Hosting With Us, But A Different Company Is Managing Your Domain Name
We just need the contact information of the company or person managing your domain name. We then send them the right settings (IP Address of the hosting server) and they then point your domain name at your new website.
Benefits of Hosting With OurAuto
We encourage our customers to choose the best hosting plan for them. You can definitely find much cheaper hosts if you want, but we have found with a lot of these companies, you get what you pay for.
Hosting with us means we handle installation and configuration of your site on the server, and your site receives premium security plugins and basic SEO Keywords. It also means your site is regularly updated and backups are frequently taken. We also will happily make small changes to your website for you, at no extra charge.