DNS hosting is rarely talked about in casual circumstances. For most of us, the most we encounter DNS is when our internet is not working, and we probably don’t even realize that DNS matters. Personally, I always encountered a DNS error when trying to get online when I was in college. I could never figure out what the problem was or how to fix it. The error window never gave a full explanation of what the problem was. And anytime I could actually get online to look it up, I would only see a vague description of how it deals with the connection to a server and that it has nothing to do with me or my computer.
This was infuriating, quite frankly. It was common for me to spend hours or even a day or two without an internet connection. When I finally decided to just give up and call my ISP, they told me to just reset my router. They made sure to let me know that I need to wait a minute or two before plugging it back in. You bet I set a timer to make sure.
This method would work more often than not. The only explanation I ever got from my ISP is that doing that forced my router to make a fresh connection instead of it trying to get a broken one working again. As far as why it did not work every time, the only response was a shrug.
It might not be life-changing to learn more about DNS, but my experience showed me that it definitely doesn’t hurt. There is a little bit of detail involved with how it works. But if you break it apart, it is a little easier to understand and avoid errors in the future. So if you are curious to learn more about DNS hosting, feel free to use the table of contents below.
Table of Contents
What is DNS Hosting?
Domain Name System (DNS) is behind every domain on the internet. It is responsible for determining how visitors reach your website. It also controls how you get new emails to your domain-based email address. A basic explanation is that DNS links a website’s domain to its IP address. Domains are casual and easy ways for us to remember website names. When our computers look for websites, they are only looking for IP addresses. So they need to know what people mean when they type your domain into their address bar.
Think of your domain name as a set of casual directions. For example, imagine you were telling someone without a GPS how to get to your house. You are likely to give them casual and referential directions. We are talking about things like, “after going down the highway for a while, you will see a billboard for McDonald’s. Take the next exit and turn right at the second light.
Directions like that work fine in the right context. If your visitor is on the right part of the right highway, they can follow those directions correctly. But what if they do not have that context? You tell them those directions while they are at home. They do not know what highway you are talking about, so they do not even know where to begin. DNS is kind of like that context in regards to finding websites. So let’s say now your visitor tells a friend those directions. If that friend understands what highway you mean, then they can just drive your visitor to your house without a problem.
Is DNS Hosting the Same as Web Hosting?
The DNS record that connects your domain to your IP address is not the same as your web hosting. It can’t be. The DNS is what figures out where your site is being hosted so it can connect visitors. There are specific servers, name servers (or nameservers), that exist to cache that locational information. Someone enters a domain and hits enter. Then the request is sent to a name server that searches its database for a matching IP. If a link is found, the user’s computer is directed to the website. If a link is not found, other name servers can search their databases.
So that is how web hosting and DNS hosting are different. So now, you might be thinking, “I am already paying for web hosting, can I get cheap DNS hosting?” The good news is that you probably don’t even have to. It is common for web hosts to manage the name server for you. However, there are options for having your own private name server.
How to Set up a DNS Server for Web Hosting
As stated above, the work is typically handled by your web host. All you have to do is have a domain name reserved through a registrar, subscribe to a web host, and launch your website. Everything is handled behind the scenes. Usually, you are able to at least see the configuration in your hosting dashboard. Depending on the host, you can often find a section in your dashboard settings for your DNS or nameserver. You might also be able to put in your own name server if it is allowed.
In that case, you will need to access the settings of your website hosting or domain. The difference will mostly be whether or not your website host offers DNS hosting as well. While most do, it is not a guarantee. Regardless, it will be controlled by internal settings.
To start, log into your host dashboard or your registrar account. Navigate to your settings menu. You should see an option for DNS or Name Server. When you select that, you should be able to see what name servers your website is currently using. If not, they might be blank, or you might see an alert prompting you to enter the details. There should be two separate blanks, and each one should either be editable or have a button that makes them so.
This is where you put in the address to your name server. They often look like a typical domain with NS and a number after. This tells your website where to store the information that lets computers know where your website is. There are two options because you always want to make sure that you have a backup in case the first name server goes down. Now all you have to do is save the changes.
How to Transfer DNS Hosting
Just like with setting up your DNS, your web host typically does the leg work with transferring your DNS. You will often see your DNS move when you switch to another web host. They will want to use their own name servers instead of leaving your DNS with your old web host. And to be fair, your old web host does not want to keep your DNS hosting.
However, in situations where you want to transfer it manually, you can follow the guidelines in the previous section. You might decide to do this if you want to run your own DNS hosting for some reason. In that case, you can enter the dashboard and settings of the location that is currently hosting your website. Then, simply navigate to the appropriate DNS or name server section. There, if able, you should see the ability to edit your name servers.
The Best Option for DNS Hosting
Your best choice for DNS hosting is to trust it to the professionals. Pick a managed WordPress host that gives you peace of mind for quality and price. At WP Super Host, we have our engineers developing the best possible hosting at affordable prices. There is no reason to break the bank to get a hosting package that is best for you.
WP Super Host goes the extra mile to get you the best performance. Our websites use CDN for local caching to increase speed. Also, we have a speed report available for your website that gives pointers on how you can potentially get faster speeds.
All of our features are available for all packages. This includes how we monitor your hosting for WordPress updates, plugin issues, and uptime. We have your back with free, automated, daily backups and 24/7 customer support. And since we have talked about editing your hosting configuration, we should mention that our intuitive dashboard was created to give you easy control of your web hosting.
When you are ready to take advantage of great web hosting with amazing features, then check out WP Super Host. We even have a system set up to make migrating your website very easy. Take a moment to look at our pricing page and find the package that fits you best.
DNS hosting is a crucial part of the internet in general. It is a little concerning how little it is discussed. I understand that it is a little more complicated than your typical topic of conversation. However, an issue with DNS could leave you digitally stranded without any idea of how it works.
Even with understanding it, it is usually in your best interest to let professionals handle it. Your website host is experienced in handling it, and they are set up to do so. There is no reason to take on extra responsibility for nothing. But now, if there is ever a DNS problem, you can at least have a better idea of what is going on.