A domain name is your identity on the internet and the domain name system (DNS) keeps track of all the domains on the internet, like a phonebook. Here’s a couple of basics to get you started!
A domain name serves as your identity on the web, and is the address a person types into their browser to pull up your website. For example, getflywheel.com.
Domain name registration is the process by which you reserve your own domain name on the internet for a chosen period of time, usually one year or more. Most people purchase domain name before their website is even ready.
Once your domain name is registered, you’ll be able to “point” the domain to your Flywheel site using the control panel provided by the domain registrar. Then, when visitors arrive at your domain name, the site you’ve created on Flywheel will load in their browser.
Each site on Flywheel is provided with a temporary domain ending in
mysites.io. This domain is meant for use during development and shouldn’t be the long-term URL for your site. Learn more.
Flywheel doesn’t offer domain name registration at this time, but luckily there are a number of great registrars out there. We suggest:
If your domain registrar allows you to enter a value for TTL either for individual records or for all records at once, here’s a quick guide on what that value means.
TTL stands for “Time to Live” is how long your domain registrar should wait before it refreshes your record(s) and publishes any changes that have been made. This value is usually measured in seconds unless otherwise specified.
|TTL value in seconds||Converted|
Let’s say you want to take a new site live on Flywheel, so you pop open your DNS editor and the records look something like this:
|Domain||DNS Record Type||Value||TTL|
|example.com||A record||Your old IP address||86400|
That TTL value tells us a few things:
It’s always a good idea to set aside a specific time to take a site live or to point to a new server. In general, try to aim for a time when you know traffic is historically low for your site. Before you point your domain to your new site, go into the DNS editor and take note of the current TTL values. Make sure your personal countdown to launch time is greater than the TTL value. If it isn’t, your changes might not show up on schedule.
If the current TTL values for your records are too high, edit only the TTL values for the records you wish to edit. Keep all other values inside the record ( name, record type, host) the same. Enter in a shorter window of time like 5 minutes (300 seconds), so that when you are ready to go live, you can make those changes and see them go into place quickly.
Once the span of the old TTL has passed, you’ll know that your faster refresh rate will be in effect.
It’s launch time! Go into your DNS editor and make the necessary edits to point your site to Flywheel. Save your changes.
Your changes you should be visible within the timeframe of your new TTL value.
As always, if you have any issues at all, feel free to contact Flywheel with a screenshot of your current DNS settings.
Great question! When your record is being frequently updated, it effectively means that services are deleting information about where your domain lives from their system after the TTL window of time passes.
The next person trying to visit your domain after it has been cleared from the cache will have to wait for servers to reach out to your registrar for updated information. This request typically happens in a tiny fraction of a second and is generally undetectable. However, that is, in fact, extra time added to the page load-time clock that wouldn’t be there if your DNS service was told to hang onto your records for a longer period of time.
If you want to shave off some page loading time for some visitors, you can bump that TTL value back up when you know that you won’t be switching up servers any time in the near future.
There are a few situations where you might want to verify the IP address your domain’s DNS records are pointing to. For example, this is important when you’re taking your site live on Flywheel for the first time.
The easiest way to confirm this information is to use an online DNS checker tool, such as:
The DNS checker will return the IP address the domain points to. If this matches the IP address on your site’s dashboard, you should be good to go!
If you have any questions our Happiness Engineers are here to help!
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