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How to Point Your Domain to Your Server (Setup DNS)

DNS connects your website URL and your hosting server

Let's say you've come up with the domain name you want to use for your new WordPress site and have registered it - maybe somewhere like Uniregistry (what I use) or GoDaddy. What's next? How do you "connect" or point your domain to your web hosting account / server and get your new site up and running?

This is where DNS comes in.

DNS stands for "domain name system" or "domain name server". The later phrase, "domain name server", suits us best in this instance. Basically, what happens is that when someone types your domain into their internet browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, etc) to view your site - let's say www.codecoffee.com for example - DNS translates that domain into a IP address. That IP address then leads to the server on which your site is hosted and your website is "served" (basically, displayed) to your readers.

So, thanks to DNS, instead of having to remember different IP addresses like 134.18.17.126 for Gmail, 202.45.104.56 for your favorite news site and 94.104.222.104 for Facebook, for example, you just need to remember the URLs (domains) for those sites, obviously being www.gmail.com, www.bbc.com (depending on your preference!) and www.facebook.com.

Anyway, back to how to set the DNS for your new domain... The screenshots below might differ slightly depending on where you registered your name, but the settings are the same.

Uniregistry

In Uniregistry, you want to head to the "NS / DNS Records" screen as seen below and scroll down to the "DNS Records" section.

Click on "New Record" and then add two new records as below. We don't need to get into too much detail here, but basically what the various settings do is add the link between your domain name (e.g. codecoffee.com) and your web hosting server IP (e.g. 203.45.192.56). Make sure the "Type" is "A".

Make sure you save your changes and you're done!

You might need to wait some time for the settings to be propagated (spread) around the internet, maybe up to a few hours. Sometimes the changes happen very quickly though (like 5 minutes). You can use this tool to check. Just enter your domain into the box and click "Search". If your change has been propagated, the IP address of your server will show up next to each flag. You don't need to wait for all the flags to show the correct IP address, just a handful, and the rest should follow quickly.

GoDaddy

The instructions for GoDaddy are more or less the same as above. Just navigate to the "DNS" screen of your Domain Manager and click "ADD". Then fill in the details exactly like we did above.

45.33.58.122 is the IP address of the server that CodeCoffee is hosted on, so you can see I entered that. Once you save everything, your screen should look similar to that below. Just remember that you can always check the status of your DNS at DNSChecker and the "A" type (technically, it's a "record") is the one we are interested in for the purposes of building our WordPress site.

That's it! You've now successfully setup the DNS for your domain. You can proceed to installing WordOps and setting up WordPress.

Written by Matt

I've been running web hosting servers and building websites for myself using Wordpress for 14 years. My network of sites get a TON of traffic and I use various models to monetize them - mainly display ads and affiliate marketing. Along the way I've picked up hundreds of tips and tricks that I think would be useful for anyone looking to make a website and here is where I'm going to share them. Find me on Twitter too.

7 Comments

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  1. I’ve been using CloudFlare for many years now for my DNS, updates are almost instant whereas making changes at the registrar can take several hours. I remember it being that way, has it improved? The additional benefits of CloudFlare make it a no-brainer for me, I recommend everyone to use it.

    • I've never actually used it TBH. I have looked into it many times, but figure with WordOps and CDN I am getting the fastest setup possible anyway.

  2. I appreciate the very clear guide! I’m very new to all of this and I have been trying to set up my first WordPress website. My domain is registered at GoDaddy so I followed your steps, changing the IP address and the nameserver values and, just like that, my website is accessible! Time to set everything up and learn some more.

  3. I’m almost set up with my first WordPress website thanks to the guides here, DNS was just done and seems to be working just fine. A question for you: What is “TTL”? I’ve looked up what it stands for but I’m still not sure what it does exactly. Is the default of 1 hour okay or should I increase or decrease it? Just trying to make sure everything is as optimal as possible.

    • 1 hour is OK. It's short for "Time to Live" and is basically how long the servers will check for any changes to your DNS. When you are moving your site to a new server, then you can set it very low for example, so that they will spot the change quickly. Otherwise 60 minutes is fine.

  4. I’m also using CloudFlare for my DNS needs but I’m not sure whether I should be mirroring the records between it and my registrar, Namecheap. Everything is working okay it seems but I just want to clarify this. Loving the blog, really useful information I’m finding! Your recommended plugins post was especially helpful.

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