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What is a nameserver?

Last Updated: Jun 02, 2017 03:35AM NZST

A nameserver is a server on the web that has DNS software installed. It’s where you manage all of your DNS records and set who your web/email host is. Kind of like the post office, which sorts and routes all of the mail, except instead it's directing computers to your website or sending your emails to you.

This is how you determine where visitors who enter your domain name/URL into a browser will be sent. Or how your email will get routed, using records like A, CNAME, MX, TXT, etc.

If your domain is registered with us, we automatically set the nameservers to:

ns1.iwantmyname.net
ns2.iwantmyname.net
ns3.iwantmyname.net
ns4.iwantmyname.net

This would mean you’re able to manage your DNS records using our domains dashboard. You can set up records to point to multiple websites or email.

If you change the nameservers to another hosting provider, it means that computers looking for your website or email have to ask that host where to find them, rather than us. (So all DNS records would be added or changed in your hosting account.)

One reason to use an external hosting provider is if you want to install and work with your own software for your website or email, like WordPress, Javascript, SSL certificates, etc. We do not provide hosting, so cannot store such software for you.

When you add or change DNS records or nameservers, it takes a few hours to a couple of days for changes to spread around the internet, or propagate. It depends on the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) between your computer and hosting company.
 

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From our guide: What is DNS? Here's what you need to know

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