How do I connect my domain and webhost if they were purchased from different companies?
Great question! This is a common issue to have, especially when you start taking on freelance clients!
It’s not at all necessary to purchase your domain and web hosting package from the same company. It just adds another step to your process.
Your web host should, ideally, have documentation (like this) on how to "point DNS" to their servers. This means when someone types your chosen URL into their browser they will be redirected to the server that hosts your site.
You'll want to manage your site's DNS (Domain Name System) using your domain registrar (the place where you purchased the domain).
If you are pointing DNS to a managed WordPress host like WPEngine, take a look at this article instead.
If you are pointing DNS to a host like Peopleshost, you will need to find the nameservers for your web hosting provider. Usually, there are two or three nameservers: server one backs up a server two, and then a third one backs up the first two. (This is really what you're paying hosting providers for: making sure your web files are backed up and your site stays live!)
Here are examples of the nameservers of some popular web hosting providers.
- ns1.dreamhost.com 184.108.40.206
- ns2.dreamhost.com 220.127.116.11
- ns3.dreamhost.com 18.104.22.168
Let's say you've purchased your hosting through Peopleshost and your domain name through GoDaddy. To correctly point your domain, log in to GoDaddy, click on Domains, then the domain you purchased, and then navigate to Modify Nameserver. There, you'd enter the Peopleshost nameservers in place of the default ones provided by GoDaddy.
Once you point DNS, it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a day or two for the connection to be made. Usually, it's on the 15-minute side of things, but it's smart to be prepared.
You'll also want to set your preferred domain (also known as a canonical domain). Ideally, users can get to your site via the www and non-www versions of your URL (for instance, http://www.skillcrush.com or http://skillcrush.com). Which version of the URL you'd like displayed/set as the primary is totally up to you.