What are Nameservers and how do they tie in with web hosting?

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Last Updated on March 21, 2023

If you’re interested in web hosting, you are more than likely familiar with the terms ‘IP address’ and ‘domain names’. Nameservers are part of this same lingo as a component of the Domain Name System (DNS) – or are otherwise synonymous – provided by web hosts. They basically function as a translator between an IP address and a domain, directing the traffic from anyone typing in a domain name to a web server at a specific web host.

Nameservers have everything to do with web hosting. Coming across an unfamiliar term may unnerve you, but nameservers themselves function on a very basic level. How they work is basically, when you type in a website – say, the website you are yourself hosting – at www.example.com, your browser looks up the nameservers for www.example.com using the DNS. The nameservers tell the computer what IP addresses are associated with the domain name, helping those typing in your domain name reach your website and send the requested page to their browser.

To put it into perspective:

IP address example:

Nameserver example: ns1.example.com

Domain name: www.example.com

Each domain name requires at least two nameservers: ns1.example.com and ns2.example.com. Nameservers make the process of visiting websites a lot easier for every individual browsing the web. It’s a lot easier for people to access websites based on domain names than a string of numbers. Many people use a phone book analogy to describe the function of nameservers. In the analogy, nameservers act as the directory when a person is looking up the address of a specific place. For example, looking up “Maggie’s Gift Shop” in a directory, you can find the address of the location at 345 Gift Shop Drive.

Nameservers function as an essential way for people looking for your website to be able to find it. We don’t remember the IP address of every single website we visit, nor does every visitor of your website want to remember yours off the top of their head. While the concept of nameservers might not seem so intimidating now, the point remains that it’s still an important concept to understand. You’ll feel better knowing that you can explain the definition to others too, if they ask. As an important part of web hosting, nameservers convert your URL into an IP address that computers can understand, and from there, help the everyday individual – as well as yourself – access your website effortlessly.

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