As you embark on your website-building journey, you may have heard the term “name server” thrown around, but what does it mean? In this Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Name Servers, we’ll explore what name servers are, how they work, and how to get the most out of them for your website.
What are Name Servers?
At its core, a name server is simply a computer server that is responsible for translating domain names into IP addresses. Every website on the internet is associated with an IP address, which is a unique numerical identifier that tells web browsers where to find the site’s server.
However, since humans are better at remembering domain names (like www.example.com) than strings of numbers, name servers serve as the intermediary between domain names and IP addresses.
How do Name Servers work?
The Domain Name System (DNS) is the underlying technology that enables name servers to work. It’s a distributed database that stores information about domain names and their associated IP addresses.
When you enter a domain name into your web browser, the browser sends a request to a name server to translate the domain name into an IP address. The name server then searches its database for the IP address associated with that domain name and returns the IP address to the browser.
How to find the Name Servers of a domain
To find the name servers of a domain, you can use a tool called a “WHOIS lookup.” WHOIS lookups provide information about domain names, including the name servers associated with them.
There are many online WHOIS lookup tools available, but one easy way to perform a WHOIS lookup is by typing “WHOIS [domain name]” into a search engine like Google. The results will typically include information about the domain name’s registrar (the company that registered the domain name), as well as the name servers associated with the domain.
How to Change Name Servers
If you need to change the name servers associated with your domain name, you can usually do so through your domain name registrar’s website. The exact steps for changing name servers will depend on your registrar, but generally, you will need to log in to your account and navigate to a section that allows you to manage your domain’s DNS settings.
Once you are in the DNS settings section, you should be able to find a way to edit your name server information. Simply enter the new name servers you want to use, and save your changes.
Common Name Server configurations
There are several common configurations for name servers. The most common configuration is to have two or more name servers associated with a domain, which provides redundancy in case one of the servers goes down.
Another common configuration is to use “public” name servers provided by your hosting provider or domain registrar, which are managed by the provider and require little to no setup on your part. Alternatively, you can use “private” name servers, which are name servers that you manage yourself and can be customized to fit your needs.
Troubleshooting Name Server Issues
If you are experiencing issues with your website, it’s possible that the issue may be related to your name servers. Common name server issues include incorrect name server configurations, name server downtime, and DNS propagation delays.
To troubleshoot name server issues, you can try checking your name server configurations to ensure they are correct, contacting your hosting provider or domain registrar to see if there are any known issues with their name servers, or waiting for DNS propagation to complete if you recently made changes to your name servers.
Best Practices for Managing Name Servers
To get the most out of your name servers, it’s important to follow best practices for managing them. These include:
- Using at least two name servers for your domain
- Using reliable name servers from reputable providers
- Regularly monitor your name servers for issues or downtime
- Keeping your name server configurations up-to-date
- Limiting the number of changes you make to your name server configurations, as DNS propagation can take time
Name Servers and Website Performance
Name servers can play a role in website performance, as they are responsible for translating domain names into IP addresses and directing web traffic to the correct server. If your name servers are slow or experiencing downtime, it can lead to slower website load times or even website downtime.
To optimize your website’s performance with regard to name servers, it’s important to choose reliable name servers with fast response times. Additionally, using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can help improve website performance by caching content on servers around the world, reducing the load on your name servers.
Name Servers and security
Name servers can also impact the security of your website. Malicious actors can potentially exploit vulnerabilities in your name server configurations to redirect web traffic to a different server or intercept sensitive information.
To enhance the security of your name servers, it’s important to follow best practices for securing your DNS, such as using strong passwords and regularly monitoring your configurations for unauthorized changes.
What do Name Servers Look Like?
Name servers are typically represented as domain names, such as
- ns1.example.com and
These domain names are associated with specific IP addresses, which allow web browsers to locate the appropriate server for a given domain name.
How to Get Name Servers?
When you purchase a domain name from a domain registrar, the registrar will typically provide you with default name servers to use for your domain. Alternatively, you can create your own name servers if you want more control over your DNS configurations.
You can check the name server associated with your domain name by performing a WHOIS lookup, as described earlier in this article. Additionally, you can use online tools like “DNS Checker” to perform a DNS lookup and see which name servers are responding for a given domain name.
A name server is used to translate domain names into IP addresses, allowing web browsers to locate the appropriate server for a given website.
You can perform a WHOIS lookup or use online tools like “DNS Checker” to find the name servers associated with your domain.
To improve website performance, choose reliable name servers with fast response times and consider using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to reduce the load on your name servers.
Name servers are typically provided by hosting providers or domain registrars. You can also create your own name servers if you have the technical knowledge to do so.
Name servers may seem like a technical and intimidating aspect of website management, but they play a crucial role in ensuring that your website is accessible and secure. By following best practices for managing your name servers and staying informed about potential issues, you can get the most out of this important technology and provide your website visitors with a seamless online experience.
We are dedicated to sharing useful content for WordPress websites in the business & personal communities. This includes any related topics indirectly related to WordPress, marketing, advertising, e-commerce, technology, or any other online subjects we feel would benefit our readers and customers.
Debashrita @ The WP Website Help Team