Web Design & Development

Third Party Name Servers

In a previous blog, we discussed the basics for launching a website, including managing DNS and name servers. As a reminder, name servers are used to map a group of websites to their corresponding IP addresses and each domain has a set of name servers that are designated to do the looping up for that domain. These name servers are where the IP addresses are changed for specific DNS records. Many times, the default name servers of the domain registrar are used, but there are certain circumstances where a different set of name servers (called third-party name servers) are used and that can make launching the website a little more tricky.

Third Party Name Servers

When you purchase a domain name, you are usually set up with that registrar’s default name servers. For example, when you purchase a domain name with GoDaddy, they use name servers called domaincontrol.com (e.g. ns51.domaincontrol.com and ns52.domaincontrol.com). This is the easiest case because we don’t have to worry about where the name servers are — we know they are tied to the domain registrar and we can update the records and know those updates will be reflected.

But, sometimes name servers are managed elsewhere, either by another web hosting company or another third-party. If this is the case, we’ll actually need access to those name servers in order to update the records.

Remember, the name servers are the translators that convert the domain name into the proper IP address, so unless we update the proper “translator” nothing will happen.

Let’s say we buy the domain “coolwebsite.com” through GoDaddy and use GoDaddy’s default name servers. If we want to launch a new website on that domain, we can log into our GoDaddy account, update the A Records to the new IP address, and see those changes reflected. But, if at some point in time, we decided to use custom or third party name servers through a service such as CloudFlare, we wouldn’t be able to change the A Records through GoDaddy anymore, since those default name servers aren’t the ones doing the translating. Instead, we would need to log into the CloudFlare account and update the A Records there.

The other option would be to transfer the name servers back to the default name servers of the domain registrar. In order to do that, we would first need to pull a full listing of the current DNS records so that we can make sure the information on the current name servers gets copied over to the new name servers. Once we have copied those records over, we can actually change the name servers. However, it should be noted that a full name server change can take 24-48 hours to fully propagate, so if this is the case, we will need a few extra days to make sure the launch goes properly!

Feel free to contact our team at FreshySites if your are considering creating a new website!

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