Registrar / Host / DNS
Updated: Mar 6
Now that you will buy your first domain, it might be helpful to know the meaning of those three terms, Registrar, Host, and DNS.
What is a registrar, a host, and a DNS (domain name server), and why should you care? When you buy a domain for the first time, it's helpful to know the difference, so here we go.
Once you have decided on a website address, feel free to purchase it from any registrar. Regardless of the choice of extension, be it top-level, country code, or generic, you can obtain any domain from a registrar of your choice.
Initially, the registrar will assign their proper domain name server to your domain and will not change it unless it is requested by the domain owner, who is the only one who can change it.
Everything is clear, but where does the name server come into play?
To find the answer, we need to go back to hosting. As you know and explained elsewhere on my blog, the host is the one who publishes your website.
The domain hosting industry is very competitive, and every host wants to have your business offering services for next to nothing, and to throw in a free domain in the process.
Why should you decide to host your domain away from the registrar from whom you bought the property? There could be several reasons, and the choice is entirely yours.
Let's give an example. Some registrars do registrations and registration only, but no hosting. However, to get your website online, you need a host. That's where a name server comes in.
Your new host will advise you of the name server, looking similar to these examples:
Every registrar has its proper domain name server. Changing the name server for your domain is free. It's at the registrar where the change of the name server to your host's name server takes place. It's all you need to do to have your website published.
Keep in mind that it is at the registrar where your domain needs to be renewed, not at the host, unless you transfer it to your host.
While this sounds confusing, managing your domain is natural when the registrar and host are not the same. You only need to do this once, unless you want to change hosts again.
For more information, please get in touch with your registrar and host. Questions? Contact me, and I'll be happy to help.