Domains & Hosting
Specifying and Changing Nameservers
If you purchase your domain from your hosting provider your domain will automatically be pointed to the nameserver your provider has allocated to you. However, there will be many times your clients have either purchased a domain without hosting or purchased a domain from a different provider from their hosting. In fact, from personally experience I can tell you that this will be the case the majority of the time, and when this happens you will have to manually point the domain to the hosting providers nameservers. Luckily this is very easy to do, and the process is the same for pretty much every situation, but we will go ahead and break down the steps for the most likely situations you will run into: the client has hosting but no domain, the client purchased a domain from a service that doesn’t provide hosting, or the client has a domain with a hosting provider but wants to switch to a new one.
1) The client has hosting but no domain
This is the easiest situation since as we mentioned above, if you purchase the domain from your hosting provider the nameservers will automatically be populated with the correct ones. So if is this is the case, all you will need to do is define what domain name they want to use, login to their hosting account, click on purchase a domain, and then type in the domain name they want. The provider will then tell you if the domain is available or not. If it is available you can proceed to purchase it. If not, then it will give you some recommendations or you can try a new domain name. That’s all there is to it.
2) The client purchased a domain from a service that doesn’t provide hosting
There will be many times that purchasing a domain name is the first thing a client will do. When they do this they will sometimes purchase it through a hosting provider and just not buy hosting, and other times they will purchase it from a service that sells domain names but doesn’t provide hosting. The best example of this is domain.com. You can buy a domain name through them, and they partner with hosting providers and will direct you to purchase hosting through them, but they don’t specifically offer hosting services. So when this is the case and your client as only purchased a domain, you will need to help them purchase hosting, and once they have done so you will login to the service that they purchased the domain from, find the DNS settings section, and then enter the namverservers provided from their newly purchased hosting service. You will then be able to manage their site from their hosting service account.
The client has a domain with a hosting provider but wants to switch to a new one
The last situation, and probably the most common, is when a client has purchased a domain name from a hosting provider and just hasn’t purchased hosting yet. Normally, it is encouraged to simply purchase hosting from the same provider that they purchased the domain from, and if this is the route they choose to go you simply log into their account and find their domain. The steps will very depending on which service they are using but they will always be very straight forward since they want you to purchase services from them. So once you find the domain, you will most likely have a button to manage it visible, and once you click it there will be a button or area that directs you to purchase hosting for it. The nameservers will then be automatically assigned.
However, there will be times where the client isn’t happy with their hosting provider and wants to switch. This most commonly occurs with GoDaddy and WordPress. GoDaddy is great at marketing and but doesn’t offer very good service and always tries to up charge for every little thing, and WordPress gets users to sign up for hosting when they purchase a domain through them but limits their capability and tries to up charge as well. Because of this it is common for users to want to switch to better hosting. No matte what their reason are, when a user wants to switch hosting, you will need to work with them to find the right hosting solution for their needs, and then once the new hosting is purchased, log into the service where the domain is owned, find the manage DNS settings section, and then enter the nameservers provided from the new hosting. The domain will then be hosted by the new service. It is important to note that the domain is still owned by the old provider. While this won’t impact the website at all if they want to completely leave their old service or have all of their resources in the same place then you will need to transfer the domain. To do this you will need to log into their new provider, find the transfer domain section, and then follow the steps that they provide. This will involve logging into the provider where the domain is owned, unlock the domain, and gathering some information about the domain. You’ll take that information and enter it into the fields provided by the new provider and you should be all set. It costs around $15 and may take a few days to transfer over. While it is nice to have everything consolidated in one place you can own a domain through one service while hosting it with another with no impact to the actual website, but if they have a website on their old provider you will need to transfer the data from their old provider to their new one. To do this you can either purchase it through the new provider (usually like $20) or download the files and FTP transfer them manually. I personally recommend just purchasing the service from the provider and incorporating it into your price. One last thing to note is if they have an email associated with their domain, remember MX records, they you will have to copy the MX records over to the new hosting provider which can be done through the manage DNS settings area.