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Diagram of the Domain Name System

 

A domain name is a way to identify and locate computers and resources connected to the Internet. No two organizations can have the same domain name.

Every company or organization that wants to be on the internet will register a domain name for use as their on-line identity or name that clients will use to access on-line services such as the organization's website or email system.
 
For example, GOLF-MI registered the domain name GOLF-MI.COM, so users on the internet can access their website at WWW.GOLF-MI.COM and send email to GOLF-MI employees at username@GOLF-MI.COM. Much like a company's name, logo, or 800 numbers, a domain name has marketing value when customers can easily remember and associate it with the organization. Since over 11 million domain names have already been registered world-wide, it can be difficult to find a good domain name. We can help you find domain names and will help you through the processes of registering a domain for your organization.
 
Each domain name corresponds to numeric IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. An IP address takes the form of 4 numbers, each one between 0 and 255, separated by periods. The Internet uses the numeric IP address to send data. For instance, you may be connecting to a World Wide Web server with the domain name "rs.internic.net", but as far as the network is concerned, you are connecting to the Web server with the IP address associated with that domain name.
 
The Domain Name System completes the task of matching domain names to IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. Domain names, and their corresponding IP addresses, must be unique. If more than one organization on the Internet had the same domain name, confusion would occur when the network tried to identify and communicate with the computers within those organizations. For example, if there were two separate universities, one in South Dakota (University of South Dakota) and one in California (University of San Diego), they cannot both use the domain name "usd.edu", because the Domain Name System would not know which one of the universities' IP addresses were associated with that domain name.
 
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 a service that allows you to officially register your desired website 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.

Legitimate domain name registrars are accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN is a private (non-government), non-profit corporation that has been given the responsibility of allocating IP addresses and managing the Domain Name System. The Domain Name System is what allows you to reach a website by typing in its name, rather than its numerical IP address.

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. RenWeb School Site 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.

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.

The most important DNS records are the A-record (address record) and the MX-records (mail exchange records). The A-record stipulates where the organization's website content resides, and the MX-records stipulate where the email for the selected domain is handled. There are other records for more advanced functionality, such as C-name records for domain aliases, and txt records for everything from domain verification to SPF email verification, but those are best left to a professional :)

When you are ready for your website to go live at your domain, you would typically point your primary domain's A-record to our IP address of 72.21.81.12 and your secondary domain's will typically have a CNAME record that points to ssite.renweb.com.  Once you have completed the Go-Live Request form, we will let you know the specific changes to make at your domain.

It all depends.

If the nameserver designation for a domain is changed, that will upset ALL DNS records including the MX records that determine which email server handles the domain's email. Changing the A-record alone will not impact email handling at all.

RenWeb School Site does not offer email handling. We recommend Google Apps for email. Google Apps is free for up to 10 users (email addresses.) If you need more than 10 email addresses, Google will charge $50 per year per user-account starting with the first user for any organization with more than 10 users. If your organization is a school, you may be able to upgrade to the education edition of Google Apps for unlimited accounts for free. This upgrade is subject to verification by Google.