Understanding DNS

Submitted by Birdeye on Thu, 08/23/2018 - 7:41am
Luke Martin - Birdeye Design, LLC

When it comes to getting customers to your website, few attributes are more important than your domain name and DNS (domain name system). A domain name reflects the actual name of your site that users type into their web browser. But because web browsers access sites through their IP address, DNS becomes necessary in linking the correct domain name to the correct IP address. With proper DNS records, you can have confidence that your web traffic is going to the right place.

Domain Names

The major function of a domain name is to direct web traffic to your website files and to direct email traffic to your email server. Because Birdeye does not offer email hosting, launching a new site with Birdeye only requires the changing some of your DNS's A Name Records. This update will then be propagated across the web, making your site live for all visitors. For high-traffic sites, we also develop a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to deliver website application data at blazing speeds, even if the site goes temporarily offline.

DNS Configurations

Each DNS configuration is unique, and this will have a direct impact on what needs to be done when launching new applications or managing your site settings. Because of this, we work with our clients to review their DNS settings and provide recommendations regarding any changes that need to be made. For most sites, simply adjusting the A Name Records will provide the needed results, but we’re prepared to assist with more complex configurations as well!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does all this talk of domain names and DNS settings seem a bit confusing? Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered with answers to some of our most-frequently asked questions:

What is Domain Propagation?
Domain propagation simply refers to the process of making the changes to your domain available to internet users around the world. These changes don’t take place instantaneously because domain settings are cached on servers across the globe. It takes time for these servers to update their cache and reflect the new domain settings when you launch your site. Typically, new applications are fully propagated and visible within a few hours after the setting has been changed, but this process can occasionally take up to 48 hours.

What is the Difference Between Domain Name and Website Hosting?
Your domain name is essentially your "address" on the internet that is linked to an IP address on a server. Typing a domain name into your URL bar tells your browser where to go to find the website hosting. Website hosting refers to the server or supercomputer that hosts your database and its files. We strongly recommend using Google Domains for your domain registrar, as our sites are configured to work best with their platforms.

Why Don't You Host Emails?
Emails have little in common with websites, and since their functions are so different, we find it best to focus on your web server. This allows us to keep everything optimized so that your site will load quickly, perform well in search engine results, and be easily accessible to all users. Because email poses security threats such as malware and phishing, we strongly recommend using IT professionals to configure and manage your email hosting.