Demystifying Web Hosting: A Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up Your Domain and Nameservers

What is a Nameserver?

A Nameserver is like a phone book for the internet. When you type a website’s domain name (like www.example.com) into your browser, the Nameserver is responsible for translating that human-readable domain into the unique numerical IP address that points to the actual location of the website on the internet.

Think of it as a translator that helps your computer understand where a website is located based on its name.

Setting a Domain Name to a Hosting Provider

When you want to set up a domain name to host a website, you typically follow these steps:

1. Choose a Domain Name

Decide on a unique and memorable name for your website. This will be your domain name (e.g., www.yourwebsite.com).

2. Register the Domain

Register your chosen domain name with a domain registrar (companies like GoDaddy, Namecheap, or others). You’ll need to pay a small fee, giving you the right to use that domain for a specific period (usually a year, but you can renew it).

3. Choose a Hosting Provider

Select a hosting provider where your website’s files and data will be stored. Common hosting providers include GoDaddy, Bluehost, or AWS.

West Bay Web uses and recommends A2 Hosting. We trust them with our own hosting and almost always recommend them to our clients. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, A2 Hosting offers hosting plans for every budget and every needCompare hosting plans and choose one that suits your needs and budget.

Be sure to read our article, “Why You Should Never Allow an Agency to Host Your Website

4. Set up Hosting Account

Sign up for a hosting account and follow the provider’s instructions to set up your hosting environment. This may involve creating an account, choosing a hosting plan, and configuring basic settings.

5. Get Nameserver Information

Once your hosting account is set up, the hosting provider will give you Nameserver information. It typically looks like a pair of domain names, such as ns1.example.com and ns2.example.com.

6. Update Domain with Nameserver

Go back to your domain registrar’s website where you registered your domain. Look for a section called “DNS settings” or “Nameservers,” and enter the Nameserver information provided by your hosting provider.

7. Wait for Propagation

It takes some time for the updated Nameserver information to propagate across the internet. This process can take a few hours to 48 hours. During this time, your website may not be accessible to everyone.

Once the propagation is complete, typing your domain name into a web browser should now lead visitors to your hosted website.

Remember, the exact steps might vary slightly depending on your chosen registrar and hosting provider. Still, these are the general principles involved in setting up a domain to host a website.