Setting up DNS at your external provider

If you plan to use a hostname that is reachable over the public web, you’ll need to have your domain registered, and have DNS hosted at one of the many DNS hosts. There are a number of free DNS hosts, as well as some managed DNS hosts for a fee. In this article, I’ll briefly touch on what DNS is, and provide some links to the popular DNS hosts and their own setup articles.

What is DNS?

DNS stands for ‘Domain Name System’ and it is the system which computers use to locate one another over networks. In the most basic sense, you can think of DNS as a phone book which ties human readable names like ‘www.google.com’ to an IP address. Servers, computers, etc can then establish the connection to the other device after having determined it’s name. For more information on DNS records, and DNS in general, check out our Introduction to DNS article.

Popular DNS Hosts

CloudFlare – Cloudflare provides fast and secure managed DNS as a built-in service on its network; DNS is available on all free and paid subscription plans.
Namecheap – Namecheap offers a FreeDNS service, and they also have a paid PremiumDNS service which was recently launched.
Dynu – Dynu Systems, Inc. provides free dynamic DNS service as well as other services.
Rackspace – Rackspace’s Cloud DNS provides simple DNS hosting, as well as other services.
DNSMadeEasy -DNS Made Easy offers affordable DNS management services that are easy to manage. 
Dyn – Dyn offers a variety of plans for DNS & Email Delivery
WordPress – WordPress offers DNS hosting for those who are signed up with an account through WordPress.

These are only a select few of the more popular DNS hosts, there are many others available for you to use as well.

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