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DNS Configuration – Changing Your Nameservers

If your domain name is registered somewhere other than with your hosting company, then you will need to tell your registrar where to look to find your hosting – this is called ‘DNS configuration’ or ‘changing your nameservers’.

Your nameservers are essentially the domain names or virtual addresses for the computer (known as a server) where your website will be stored on Siteground.  If you would like to know more about how hosting & domain name registration works, make sure to check out the post on Setting Up Hosting & Domains.

My personal preferred domain name registrar is Namecheap.com. Their interface is excellent – clear and easy to navigate, and I like to keep all of my domains together in one location, as much as possible. They also offer free Whois protection for the first year, which prevents services from accessing your personal information to send you sales information.   This lesson will walk you through changing nameservers with Namecheap to your hosting with Siteground, but the steps are similar for most registrars and hosting companies.

Step 1:  DNS Configuration in your Domain Registrar

dns configuration namecheap nameservers
The first step is to configure the DNS setting, so you will need to login to namecheap.com and click on Domain List. Click the Manage button beside the domain you want to point to Siteground.Scroll down to the section called Nameservers and choose Custom DNS from the dropdown menu.

Next, you will need to input your nameservers – so we need to go back to Siteground to find them.  Login to Siteground at https://siteground.com/go/prosperily and click on the My Accounts Tab.find primary dns server Siteground-Nameservers

Next, click Manage Account and then click Information & Settings from the tabs that appear underneath.

Scroll down to the Account DNS section and copy the first nameserver – this is your Primary Nameserver – it will look something like this: ns1.am55.siteground.biz – the address in the brackets after it is the actual server IP address – you do not need to worry about this for now, but it is good to know it is there.

Go back to Namecheap.com and paste the nameserver into the first input area. Repeat this step for your Secondary Nameserver address. Then click the little green arrow to save the changes.  

Step 2:    Making sure your host is ready to receive the domain name.

If you entered the exact domain name when you set up your hosting then Siteground should be ready to go. To double check this, go back to the Siteground Information & Settings tab and see what the primary domain is and if it matches up with the domain in your registrar. 

addon-domain-setup-with-sitegroundIf you have switched domain names or added an additional domain name, then you will need to tell Siteground that you have a new domain name that you want it to use.  We do this by creating what is called an Add On Domain. This creates a new folder in your hosting and tells Siteground that when someone types in your website address – look at this new folder. This is also how you set up multiple websites on a single hosting account.

To set up an Add On Domain, click on Go To Cpanel and under the Domains section click on Addon Domains.(Note: If you only have the StartUp plan, then you will need to upgrade to have additional Addon Domains – instead you will need to go to Information & Settings and Change Your Primary Domain – if you have any trouble with this, Siteground’s support will be happy to help you. )

Add your new domain name (without the http://www.).  The Subdomain or FTP Username is just the name of the folder that will be created – I like to keep this and the document root the same. Next, set the password and click Add Domain.

You can also check out the Siteground guide to setting your nameservers.  Every hosting company will have their own step by step guide to DNS configuration, so make sure to do a search if you are unsure.

Step 3:  The Waiting Game – DNS Propagation

Icann Whois - what's my dnsMost registrars will tell you that you will need to wait for 12 to 24 hours for the Domain Name Server to ‘propagate’ or process the change to the domain names details. In reality, it can often happen under an hour, but this is not always the case. This is a waiting game. When your domain name has propagated, you should see the Siteground holding page. You are now ready to start building!

You can also double check that your domain name has been changed correctly by looking it up on Whois – https://whois.icann.org/en. This will give you the registration details of the owner of the domain, as well as the currently set nameservers. You will often see the new nameservers displayed here before the propagation has completed, so you know that everything is changing as planned.

That is it – DNS configuration is not quite as frightening as it sounds :-)!  If you encounter any issues, get in contact with Siteground’s excellent support – part of their job is reassurance and they are exceptionally good at it!

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