Domain names are key to the success of your website. Without an eye-catching name, you'll fail to attract the customer. Or you can think of it like buying a house: Sure, the place itself is important, but if you buy that house through a bad realtor you might end up regretting it. That's why knowing the best domain registrars is important.
Here is a step by step process on what businesses need to know to help developers launch their new website, at their awesome domain name.
STEP 1: YOUR DOMAIN NAME ACCESS
Hopefully you bought your own domain name and you know where it's hosted. This means you have an account with a service like GoDaddy, Network Solutions, NameCheap or DirectNic.
What we'd need to check if we're working with you: The ability to log in, and see where the Domain Name Servers (DNS) Records are pointing. This should be done far in advance of launch time.
What's up with DNS?
DNS controls several "records" that tell your domain name what to do (which email provider it needs to link to and which website it needs to point to are the two most common).
COMMON DNS RECORDS
A Record: determines which website shows (this is what gets changed when a new website is launched).
MX Record: determines which email servers your domain name is associated with.
CNAME: this is used to verify ownership of a domain name or tell a subdomain like www. to go to the primary.
STEP 2: CHECKING YOUR DNS RECORDS / DOMAIN NAME SERVERS
It can be confusing, but basically, your domain name can be in one place, but TELL your DNS to go somewhere else.
CAREFUL: If your domain name is with GoDaddy, but your DNS is pointed elsewhere, like Siteground, it's safest to log into Siteground and change the A Record to launch your site.
STEP 3: READY TO LAUNCH? TIME TO CHANGE THE A RECORD
Now that we know where your A Record is, all we have to do is change the IP Address from the old site to the new site.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE A RECORD: Your current website is hosted at an IP address. Your DNS A Record is what tells your domain name (www.yourbusiness.com) to go to your current website so a real user can see it.
The new website we're building for you has a different IP address than your old one.
When ready to launch, we change your A Record to the IP address of the new website.
It can take up to 24 hours before everyone on the internet sees your new website. PSST: Between us, it normally only takes minutes.
STEP 4: CNAMEs - used for installing SSL and making www. go to the primary
SSL: Immediately after launching your new site, your developer (hopefully us) needs to rekey your SSL certificate to keep your new site secure, just like your old one (your current one has SSL right?)
We use CNAME records to verify ownership of your domain name and associate it with the SSL Certificate we install.
Also, we sometimes use CNAMEs to make www.yourbusiness.com go to yourbusiness.com.
STEP 5: Q/A (QUALITY ASSURANCE) Once all is tested, we're done! Time to party and celebrate!
If you need any help navigating any of this stuff, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day!
Paul Hickey, Founder / CEO / Lead Strategist at Data Driven Design, LLC has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 10 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing and Email Marketing. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.