There are two types of DNS records you should be aware of that control where your site is hosted.
Nameservers are the primary DNS record for your domain. They control where all of your other DNS records are controlled.
So, if your nameservers are pointed to DreamHost, all of your DNS is hosted at DreamHost. If they are pointed to another company, you'd need to log into that company's admin panel to make any DNS changes.
As mentioned above, if your domain's nameservers point to another company, only that company has control of your DNS. If you wish to point your website to DreamHost so the site is hosted on DreamHost's web servers, you just log into that company's admin panel and change your domain's A records.
This article explains both options.
What nameservers can I point my site to?
If you do not need to keep your nameservers pointed to your current host, it's recommended to point them to DreamHost. This points all of your DNS records to DreamHost.
In order to do this, access your registrar, or the service provider with whom you registered your domain. If you're not sure who you registered with, you can often find that information by going to Whois.net and entering your domain name in the search field.
View the following article for a list of articles on how to change your DNS at common registrars:
Access your registrar's control panel (it might be the same as your web host, but doesn't have to be), and change your domain's nameserver settings to:
- ns1.dreamhost.com 18.104.22.168
- ns2.dreamhost.com 22.214.171.124
- ns3.dreamhost.com 126.96.36.199
The change can take up to 4–72 hours to take effect, but often happens sooner than that. You can track the progress of your DNS update here.
You should only have to add the nameserver URL, not the IP. The IPs are listed above just in case your registrar asks for them.
What A records do I point my site to?
You can manage your domain registration and nameservers at any registrar you like and still point your domain’s hosting to DreamHost. However, this is only necessary if you want to keep some services at another company (such as email) while hosting the site at DreamHost.
Check to see where your nameservers are currently pointed at this site:
If they are pointed to another company, you'll need to configure A records at that company to point to your DreamHost site.
- Navigate to the (Panel > 'Domains' > 'Manage Domains') page.
- Click the 'DNS' link under the domain name.
- The "A" type record found there (displayed as an IPv4 address) should be copied into the DNS settings of the non-DreamHost provider.
- In the example above, the site A records would be 188.8.131.52. This is the same IP address for the www and non-www version of the site URL. Use the IP for any other service listed the same way.
You will need to contact the non-DreamHost DNS provider for specific instructions on setting those records up with them.
Once you've created those A records at your current host, allow up to 6 hours before the DNS updates online. Then your site will point to DreamHost.