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What is a Nameserver

What is a Nameserver?

To help you understand what nameservers are and what they do, let's review what happens when you use a browser to visit a website.

Every device that can connect to the internet has its IP address. This includes PCs, phones, and servers. A device's IP address is a unique set of four numbers that tell other devices how to find it. For example, is the server's IP address that hosts the XYZ website. (This isn't exactly how things are, but we'll keep things simple for now.)

When you visit a website, your web browser sends a request to the IP address of the webserver you provide. Unless, of course, you tell the browser the webserver's IP address yourself. Imagine remembering a different IP address for every website you want to visit. That would be a pain, or we'd all have to have really good memories.

Instead, you just type in the website's domain name. Instead of typing into your browser's address bar, it's much easier to type xyz.com, the domain name that goes with that IP address.

The Domain Name System, or DNS, lets us use these domain names instead of IP addresses. The DNS is a worldwide network of servers that matches domain names to IP addresses. It is made up of many different kinds of machines. A nameserver is one of these machines.

How do people use Nameservers?

If you run a website, you've probably heard the term "nameserver" when buying a domain or web hosting.

When your domain registrar or hosting company talks about "nameservers," they mean the address used to find the nameserver. Nameserver addresses look like domain names but don't take us to websites. Instead, they send us to the nameservers that give us the IP address we want.

When you make a website, you set up these nameserver addresses so that your domain name points to the server that hosts your website. Most popular hosting providers make this very easy to do as part of the setup process. There’s no limit to the number of nameservers a website can have, but most use two: one as the main nameserver and another as the fallback in case the first nameserver fails.

How to Find Your Nameserver

The company you bought your domain from should give you the ability to change your nameservers. If you bought your domain from, us please see What Are The Nameservers For My Account? When making changes to your name servers, please allow 24 to 48 hours for the changes to propagate.

If you didn't set up your website with us or don't know where your nameserver is, you could use different tools on the web to find out where it is.

You can find the nameserver for your domain with the help of tools like MXToolbox or the DNS lookup tool on ICANN, which helps run DNS.

Updating a Nameserver

To learn more about updating your nameserver through our dashboard, please see Domain Management: How To Update NameserversHow to Find Your Default Nameservers - Domain ManagementHow to Change or Update NS Records - DNS Management

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