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What is DNS, and Why Do Web Agencies Need It?

Imagine that you’ve finally decided to better your web presence by hiring a digital agency, like Compulse Integrated Marketing, to build you a website. That’s great! You go through the entire process, talking with the designers, SEO specialists and coordinators alike, and everyone is happy with the final product. You think that you’re about to cross the finish line and BAM – you come across one final obstacle: supposedly, you need to provide something called ‘DNS’ in order for the digital team to make your new site live.

Questions ravage your mind: “What is DNS? Why is the designer expecting me to have it? How am I supposed to get it? Why do I need to provide it in order to launch?”

DNS is actually an acronym, which stands for ‘Domain Name System’.

Internet domains are typically managed by domain registrars, such as GoDaddy or Namecheap, and your designer will use the domain name system to log in and access any domain hosted by these registrars. When your designer asks you for ‘DNS’ information, he or she is requesting the necessary information to access the specific URL that you would like your website to have. The designer will then tether the new website to this URL, so that you will have somewhere to point your future website visitors towards. That way, your future website visitors will have somewhere to go when they find themselves interested in your products or services.

To make this a little easier to understand, our team at Compulse likes to think of your website as a car. Your domain would be your designated parking spot in a garage, and your domain registrar would be the garage. When the designer requests your DNS information, he is asking you for a ticket or a pass to get into the garage. The site may be flawless and ready to go, but if the designer can’t get into that garage, they have no way to “park” the new site.

If you pay fees to own your domain, you have probably been in possession of your DNS information all along without knowing it. Some “one-stop shop” web companies have been known to bundle hosting, domain management and site build fees into one package. Two companies that do this are Wix and Squarespace, so if you’ve previously used one of those two companies for your website, then your actual login IS your DNS information. Other web companies, such as WordPress, typically leave the hosting and domain management to third parties and dedicate all of their resources towards site build.

An easy way to determine your domain registrar is to do a WHOIS lookup of your domain. You can visit https://www.whois.com/ and type in your web domain to do a free ‘Whois’ analysis. The registrar, the registrant and the registration date for the domain will all be listed for you upon completion. The registrant should be you, the registration date should be the day that you bought your “parking pass”, and the registrar is your “garage.”

It can be frustrating to be held back from launching your new site by something as simple as a username and password. But don’t let it get you down; with this last piece of information, you and the designer can finally get your new website live so that your company can start fielding new traffic from potential clients.

If you still have any questions about how DNS works, or need help tracking down your registrar, please feel free to reach out to us here at Compulse Integrated Marketing .