There are several conditions that are required for a domain name to be properly registered and accessible from the Internet:

  • The domain name has to be registered with the appropriate Network Information Center (NIC) or Domain Authoritiy that keeps the database record of the domain ownership and the Name Servers that maintain the domain's IP record.
  • The domain name has to be registered with the Name Servers that "know" what IP address this domain name resolves to.
  • The domain name has to be assigned to an IP address.

When someone requests a connection to a certain domain DNS servers look up the corresponding Registry for the requested top-level domain:

The Registry then responds by telling which Name Servers this domain name is registered with. The request then goes to the Name Servers per the Registry's reply and the Name Servers respond with the actual IP address for that domain name. Then the browser establishes a connection with the reported IP address.

Read the Knowledge Base article on What is a registrar? How do I find out who the domain registrar is for my domain? for more information.

It is imperative that the Name Servers listed in the domain record are configured to answer questions about the domain name and resolve the name to various addresses in different contexts. Otherwise, the domain name will not work:

For instance, when someone sends you an email, the mailing server looks for your DNS records: 

  1. The mailing server looks for your Name Servers,
  2. Receives the information about your Name Servers and asks any of them to show the records,
  3. Finds the MX record,
  4. Connects to the server specidied in the MX record.

If you set up your account with Smarsh Hosted Services Name Servers, you can control all aspects of your domain names and addresses with our convenient CONTROL PANEL interface. Read the Knowledge Base article on What is Smarsh Hosted Services's Name Servers (DNS) Information? for a list of our Name Servers.

When using Exchange mailing services two types of DNS records are important. Read the Knowledge Base articles on What Is An MX Record? What Is The Correct Syntax For MX Records? What Is Priority? and What Is An Autodiscover Record And Why Do I Need One? for more information.