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Pointing Your Domain Name at Your Website

Many of the free and low-cost options of the web presence listing can take on your web identiy: your domain name. Your domain name can be pointed at your Blogger blog, a Google site, or your Wordpress.com blog. Depending on where you registered your domain name, you may be able to point it to your Facebook page. Instructions will vary from one name registrar to another. 

What does this involve? Two parts: 1) you have to go to your domain registrar and ask them to announce to the world that your domain name resides at a given network address and 2) you have to tell the people that host your site that your site is going by another name. 

Every computer on the internet is given a network address. These are generally written in the form of four numbers with dots in between them. For instance, at the moment I'm typing this page, my laptop has the network address of 50.180.73.25. But people really don't want to try to remember strings of numbers like that for each website they visit. For example, amazon.com is a lot easier for us humans to remember than 176.32.98.166. The part of the Internet that handles this mapping from a human-readable name to network address is called the Domain Name Service or DNS. Your domain name registrar should provide you with web-based tools to handle this mapping of your domain name to address. 

So the first step in pointing your new domain name to an existing site or blog is to find out where it needs to point to. Your blogging or website service should have a help section about this. They will either give you an actual numeric network address or tell you to use the existing url (human-readable) web address. 

Some name registrars, such as 1and1.com and GoDaddy.com have easy-to-use, point-and-click website builder tools to help you set up a website if you haven't set up a site that's suitable to point your domian to. 

Homework

If you have a domain name and website, does it work with both http://yourdomainname.com and http://www.yourdomainname.com ? You'd be surprised at how many don't.

Does your website go down? If so, how do you know? What percent of the time is it up?

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