You have just scored a bargain when searching for a webhosting service but your domain is with some other company and you don’t know how to use it with the new hosting account. In effect there are three ways to achieve this:
- Transfer domain to the new hosting provider. Domain transfer usually incurs additional charges as the domain is renewed along with the transfer. However, as an advantage, your domain registration service is fully transferred to the new provider and you don’t have to deal with your previous registrar anymore.
- Change DNS A record. This method requires updating domain’s DNS A record with the IP address of your new hosting account. In some cases, this method is the only way to point the domain but we do not recommend it as it depends on static hosting account IP. If this IP changes for any reason, your website will stop working until you again update the A record.
- Change domain nameservers This is the most recommended and popular method in the webhosting world. By updating the nameservers you transfer your domain’s DNS control to the new hosting provider where you can effectively manage all the settings.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to change the domain nameservers, also known as pointing the domain to new hosting provider. We will use Hostinger platform as an example but the steps can be applied to any domain/hosting provider, only the graphical interface and/or navigation should differ.
What you’ll need
Before you begin this guide we assume that you already have:
- Access to the control panel of your domain registrar. This is the place where you purchased your domain.
- Access to your new hosting account.
Table of Contents
Step 1 — Getting the new nameserver values
The first thing you’ll need to do is to find out the list of name servers provided for your new hosting account.
The fastest way to find out the name servers for your new hosting account is to look for the information in either the email sent to you by your hosting provider when you purchased the account, or from the documentation on your hosting provider’s site. If you have no idea where to get the information, contact your web host and ask them for the “DNS servers” or “name servers” to use for your domain.
In the screen below we have logged into hosting account control panel and located Details section.
The list of name servers will often look like
ns2.companyname.com, and so on, where companyname.com will probably be the name of your web host company or brand name.
Your web host may give you 2 or more name server addresses. Note down all these names. Better still, keep the email or web page containing these names open on your computer so that you can cut and paste them later. You’ll need to enter these names, exactly as given, into your domain registrar’s control panel in the next step.
Step 2 — Entering the nameservers into your Registrar’s domain control panel
Once you have the list of name servers, go to your domain name registrar and log into their system. Remember, this is the place where you purchased your domain and where your domain management takes place.[
When logged in, you will need to look for some option to either set your domain’s name servers or change them. Every registrar has a different way of doing this, and there is no standard method. In general, try the following to get to the page on your registrar’s site that lets you modify the name servers:
- Find a way to list all your domains on the registrar’s site. Sometimes this can be found in a Domains page, or a Domain Manager page, or something similarly named.
- Select the domain for which you want to set the name servers.
- Some registrars have a Set Nameservers menu link, or a “Manage DNS” button. If you see such a link or button, that’s probably the one that you need to click.
- If the actual nameserver fields are not yet shown, dig deeper by clicking again on Nameservers or similar button until you get to a screen similar to the following one.
Once you manage to find the correct page to change your name servers, you will probably see a form that lets you enter things like your Nameserver #1 (or “Primary Name Server”), Nameserver #2 (or “Secondary Name Server”) and maybe even more (like a third and fourth name server as well). The exact words used may not be the same, but it should mean basically your first name server, second name server, and so on.
Put your first name server from your list, usually, the name beginning with ns1, into the Nameserver #1 field. Then type your second name server, the name beginning with ns2, into the Nameserver #2 field and so on. A domain name should have at least 2 name servers associated with it. Some web hosts give you more, others only 2. Some registrars allow you to enter up to 6 names, others only 2.
- If you only have 2 nameservers to enter, but your registrar gives you 6 fields, just enter the first 2 and leave the other fields blank.
- If you have 3 nameservers to enter, but your registrar only allows you to enter 2, just enter the first two.
Don’t worry about the fields you did not get to use, or the extra name servers that your web host provided that you could not enter. Your domain will work fine without those extras. They are there to provide a bit of redundancy so that your site will still work if the first name server fails.
If you cannot find the place to set your name servers, or you don’t want to just blunder around the registrar’s website looking for the correct option to try, look for the “Help” or “FAQ” documentation on your registrar’s site.
At worst, if you are completely lost, write to the registrar support to ask them for help. You can also ask your hosting provider’s help with setting the nameservers in your domain registrar. If you give them your domain registrar control panel access details (login username and password), they should be able to help with no hassle.
Once the nameservers are set, you’re done. You’ll have to wait a bit, though, before you can access your website using your domain name. It takes a while, usually from few hours to sometimes up to 2 or more days for every machine in the world to catch up with the changes.
With this tutorial, you have learned how the domain nameserver change procedure is done. By getting the nameservers to be used for your new hosting account and applying them in your domain registrar control panel, you point your domain to a new hosting provider. Once propagated worldwide, full DNS control, as well as your website, will be managed by the new host.