So, you've designed your website, added content, and hit "publish". Congratulations! All you have to do now is to sit back and wait for droves of users to come galloping toward your website, thirsty for its offerings... Still waiting? The cruel reality for many new websites is that sometimes, driving traffic is a bit harder than you might initially think - especially without an advertising budget or a team of people able to dedicate hours to promotion day to day. In this blog post, we'll...
Domains 101 – Everything a New Website Owner Should Know
Domain names are a part of the system we use to distribute and locate information on the web. Every website has a domain name and most of us browse through them everyday, yet we seem to know very little about them.
What is the difference between a domain and a URL, how do I get a domain name for my website and how do I control it? Read about it in our short introduction to the world of domain registration.
Domain – A domain is the name of the website, like imcreator.com facebook.com etc. In order for your site to be available on the internet it needs to have an address where it can be reached.
subdomains are a part of the main domain name. If you own a domain name ‘mysite.com’ you can create a subdomain like ‘mobile.mysite.com’ and connect it to another part of your site.
When your site on IM Creator is ready to go live, you can choose to connect it to an existing domain, if you have one, or buy a new one through us.
URL – A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) contains the domain name but is more specific. It can contain a page of the website (domain.com/page.html), an image or other parameters . It tells the browser where to find the exact information, like a map of the website with instructions.
Nameservers – As the name indicates, nameservers are the computer servers holding all the information regarding the domain and has DNS software installed. The name servers handle all queries regarding domain from local computers. Every domain has at least two nameservers which indicate where that domain is managed. You can change the default nameservers if you want to control your domain’s DNS from another control panel. In IM Creator, there is no need to change the nameservers and you can simply change two DNS records instead, the empty A record and the www CNAME. You can see more on how to change the records and connect your site at imcreator.com/existing_domain.
DNS – Domain Name System. These are the technical records behind the domain name and URL. They are used to connect the domain name to the actual website you’ve created. They translate the names as they are typed in the address bar to numbers and codes that the browser can read and work with. The DNS contains different types of DNS records, each controlling another part of the domain uses.
The A records controls the naked domain’s location (when someone types in your domain without www) while the CNAME controls all of the domain’s subdomains location, including www. Other records can control email services and other advanced options.
So where is your site located and how do you assign a name to it?
Hosting – A service storing your actual website’s information. When you are uploading images, text, files and design information to your site, it all needs to be saved somewhere. Website hosting provides space to all your site’s information.
Hosting can be provided separately or in addition to other web services, like registrars or website builders. All sites built on IM are hosted on Amazon’s global cloud services. However, if you have a hosting service you’d like to use, you can download your site and host it there. See more about this option here.
Registrar – The official entity responsible for the management and reservation of internet domain names. This is where all the information regarding the domain names is kept and where you control your domain settings.
Most registrars provide access to a control panel where you can control the location you want the domain to point to. This is done through changing the DNS records. This can sometimes be tricky so don’t hesitate to contact your host or registrar for assistance.
To find out who your registrar is you can go to whois.net. If you already know who it is, but can’t locate the control panel you might find this post helpful.
For a more detailed explanation of the difference between a Registrar and Hosting company, click here.