Domain & Email FAQ
Domain and Email Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
It's okay to not know all the answers when it comes to Domains and Emails. We have provided a list of frequently asked questions by our clients to help you out.
A domain name is your "virtual kingdom" on the internet. Every individual, company or organization that wants to have a presence on the internet has to register a domain name to "stake their claim" to their online identity and the location of their online activities, such as the organization's website or their email system. Your domain is like intellectual property that belongs to you. It's registered to you and no-one can duplicate your exact domain name or change the settings for your domain unless they have access to your domain registration.
For example, New Hope Church registered the domain name newhope.com so that users on the internet can access their website at www.newhope.com and send email to New Hope staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. The purpose of your domain name is to provide an easy way for people to find you on the internet, so, care should be taken to register a domain name that can be easily associated with your organization.
When you choose a website host, that host provides an internet-connected computer to store your website content so that people can access it. The same is true when you choose an email provider, as they provide an internet-connected computer to manage your incoming and outgoing email (for addresses that end in @yourdomain.com.) Each computer or device attached to the internet has a unique IP (Internet Protocol) address that identifies that computer or device's physical address on the world wide web.
The Domain Name System (DNS) completes the task of matching domain names to IP addresses. The Domain Name System is a collection of databases that contain information about domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. Domain name servers are computers that translate domain names to IP addresses. This system allows Internet users to deal with the more intuitive domain names, rather than having to remember a series of numbers.
Simply put, a domain name registrar is an organization, accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN,) that allows you to officially register your desired domain name so that it is unique to you, and no one else can own it. Originally, there was just one company that could register your domain name for you, but now there are literally hundreds, but all must be accredited by ICANN.
DNS stands for Domain Name System. DNS records are the official records for where an organization's internet resources are stored or handled. These records stipulate the server that the organization's website content resides on, as well as what email server handles email addressed to users@your domain.com, etc.
The first level of DNS records are the Nameserver records. These records are always managed in the domain registration account and specify what specific computer on the internet hosts all of your other DNS records. The remainder of the DNS records are then managed on the nameservers that are stipulated.
The most common DNS records are:
- A-record (address record) - stipulates the IP address of the computer where the organization's website content resides
- C-name record (canonical name record) - stipulates a domain name for which the specific subdomain is an "alias."
- MX-records (mail exchange records) - stipulates the domain of the computer where the email for the selected domain is handled.
- TXT records - used to verify domain ownership and to stipulate policies, such as email sending services for your domain, etc.
Nameservers are internet servers that store the DNS records for an organization's domain. A domain may or may not be using the nameservers that belong to it's registrar. The hierchy starts at the registrar. At the domain registrar, there is always an official record of what nameservers hold the DNS records for each domain. If the record at the domain registrar says the nameservers for the domain are ns1.worldsbestdns.com, then the DNS records for the domain would have to be set at "World's Best DNS."
Some larger website hosts have their own nameservers. In that case, the record at the registrar would indicate that the nameservers which hold the DNS records for the domain are at the website host. FaithWebsites does not have it's own nameservers. We typically recommend using the domain registrar's nameservers and then setting the DNS records on the registrar's nameservers.
If the nameservers designation for a domain is being changed (i.e. the domain is being transferred, or the DNS records were previously hosted by the old web host,) that will upset ALL DNS records including the MX records that determine which email server handles the domain's email.
If the nameservers are not being changed, then changing the A record and cname record will not upset email.