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What Is a Nameserver for a Domain Explained

Nameservers are one of the most essential components to helping us all enjoy the internet. But what is a nameserver for a domain?

How do we use them? 💡

And is there a difference between nameservers and DNS records?

Below, we answer all these questions and more as we take you through everything you need to know about this important component of online browsing.

Let’s get started.

What is a nameserver for a domain?

In order to understand what is a nameserver for a domain, we have to look at how we use the internet.

According to Statista, over 5.18 billion people have access to the internet worldwide [1]. As you can imagine, there’s a lot happening behind the scenes to ensure that as these people connect to the internet with their different devices, information can flow freely.

On any given day, we use our laptops, mobile devices, printers, servers, and so much more to share all sorts of information.

All these devices (i.e., devices that can connect to the internet) have their own IP addresses. The websites we visit (e.g., also have their own unique IP addresses.

IP addresses can either be in IPv4 format (e.g., or IPv6 format (e.g., 2001:db8:3333:4444:5555:2222:7777:8888).

Our computers understand the format of these IP addresses much better than they understand the domain names we type in as we search for certain websites.

This means that when you use a device and type a website address into your browser, your browser must relate it to the IP address of the website you’re trying to reach.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a system that translates human-friendly domain names (e.g., into machine-friendly IP addresses (e.g., Nameservers are an essential part of this system.

So, what is a nameserver for a domain?

In a nutshell, nameservers play a role in translating domain names into IP addresses. They keep and organize DNS records that connect each website to its IP address.

It’s important to note that each domain has its own nameserver, which stores all essential information about that domain, like where the website is hosted and where emails should go. Without nameservers, finding a specific website would be a complicated process.

How do we use nameservers?

Another part of answering the question, “what is a nameserver for a domain?” is looking into how to use these nameservers.

👉 Using nameservers is often a seamless process that happens every time we browse the internet for websites. The process works as follows:

1. You enter a domain name into your browser or app.

2. Your device sends a request to the local DNS resolver. The DNS resolver is responsible for handling queries on behalf of a device and obtaining the correct IP address associated with a domain name.

3. If the local DNS resolver has the corresponding IP address for the domain name in its cache, it returns this IP address directly to your device.

4. On the other hand, if your local DNS resolver doesn’t have the corresponding IP address, it then contacts the nameservers responsible for that domain.

5. The nameserver for that domain will then provide the correct IP address to the local DNS resolver.

6. The local DNS resolver will cache this new information for a certain period of time to help speed up future queries about this domain.

7. Your device can now use the IP address to connect with the server hosting the website you want to reach.

A similar process is used when you send an email, connecting the domain name in an email address to the correct IP address so it reaches the right email server.

As you can see, without nameservers, we’d have to type in long IPv4 or IPv6 addresses whenever we try to access a certain website. So, they’ve helped to make life a lot easier for us.

Nameservers vs DNS records

We can’t complete this guide on what is a nameserver for a domain without talking about the key difference between nameservers and DNS records.

DNS records are individual records which hold all the information about specific IP addresses. There are different types of DNS records, such as A records that connect a domain name to an IP address and MX records that connect a domain name to an email server.

Nameservers are used to contain DNS records. A nameserver includes multiple DNS records, such as the A records and MX records we’ve already discussed.

So, to summarize, nameservers are where DNS records are hosted, while DNS records store the actual information connecting your domain name to things like IP addresses and email servers.

Where is your domain’s nameserver located?

Your domain’s nameserver is located with the company or service provider where you registered your domain.

When you purchase a domain name, you typically do so through a domain registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap. These registrars also offer nameserver services.

For example, if you bought the domain “” from GoDaddy, your domain’s nameserver information would be stored in your GoDaddy account. GoDaddy’s nameservers would be responsible for translating the human-friendly domain name “” into the corresponding IP address that computers use to find your website.

Having your domain’s nameserver located with your domain registrar simplifies the process of managing your domain settings.

You can easily update or modify your DNS records and settings within your registrar’s control panel, ensuring that your website, emails, and other online services work smoothly and efficiently.

Why should you know where your domain’s nameserver is located?

👉 There are a few ways in which knowing where your domain’s nameserver is located can be helpful:

  • It can help you to effectively manage your website and online services. Remember that the nameserver holds the essential information that connects your domain name to its corresponding IP address. This important role helps your website visitors find your site easily. It also helps to ensure that you receive your emails.
  • If you need to make changes to your site’s hosting provider, email service, or other DNS settings, you’ll need to access the nameserver’s control panel.

So, being aware of your domain’s nameserver location allows you to take control of your online presence, ensuring everything works smoothly and that visitors can easily access your website.

How to update/modify nameservers

Updating your nameserver is a simple process. The steps below detail how to update your nameserver if registered with Bluehost. Of course, these steps may vary depending on your domain registrar. So, you can look at this as a general overview of the entire process.

Step 1: Log in to your domain registrar 🧑‍💻

Access your domain registrar’s website and log into your account. This is where you registered your domain.

As highlighted, we’ll be using Bluehost to demonstrate.

Step 2: Choose domains ⌛

Once you’re in your dashboard, you’ll see a menu on your left side.

Click on Domains > My Domains.

Navigating to domains from the Bluehost dashboard.

Step 3: Select the domain you want to modify 👨‍💻

If you have multiple domains under your registrar, they will show up on your page.

Focus on the domain you want to modify.

Step 4: Find DNS management or nameserver settings 🚧

In your domain registrar’s dashboard, look for a section that’s related to DNS management or nameserver settings. The exact location or terminology may vary depending on the registrar’s interface.

For Bluehost, you’ll need to click on the drop-down menu under Manage and select DNS.

Navigating to DNS management inside the Bluehost dashboard.

Step 5: Update ⚙️

After the previous step, you should be on a page where you can access all your DNS and nameserver information.

👉 You’ll find information on:

  • Your nameservers.
  • DNS management.
  • CNAME (Canonical Name). This points a domain or subdomain to another domain name. It helps you update one A Record each time you make changes.
  • MX (Mail Exchanger). This is the DNS record that’s used for email servers.
  • SRV (Service). This record helps to point one domain to another domain name. It does this by using a destination port.
  • TXT (Text Entry). These records were created to store text information about a domain.
  • AAAA (IPv6 host). This record helps to point a domain or subdomain to an IPv6 address.

On this page, you can modify your DNS records information.

Step 6: Save 🖱️

After you’ve made your changes, save them. This step may take some time to propagate across the internet.

Step 7: Verify 🔎

To confirm that the nameservers have been set up correctly, you can use online DNS checking tools or wait for a while and try accessing your website or services using the domain name. If everything is set up correctly, your website should be accessible.

What is a nameserver for a domain? Final thoughts

Now that we’ve answered the question of what is a nameserver for a domain, we hope you have a better understanding of how our everyday internet navigation works.

To recap, Nameservers play an essential role in translating user-friendly website names into IP addresses, which are much easier for computers to read and understand.

Without nameservers, reaching a specific website would mean having to type in long, complicated IP addresses every single time, instead of a domain or a subdomain, making the process of browsing and navigating from one website to the next challenging.

So, next time you type a website name into your browser, or you type an email and click Send, remember that nameservers are working behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Speaking of emails, do you want to learn more about DNS records and email servers? You can check out our guide on what type of DNS record is used for email servers.