Domain Name Systems, better known as DNS, are the internet’s version of an old-school phone book. These servers index websites and translate human-friendly computer hostnames into numeric IP addresses.
Your domain's DNS is made up of many different types of records such as Address (A) records, Name Server (NS) records, and Mail Exchange (MX) records for your domain.
When you register a domain name, your registrar — the company you purchased your domain name from — allows you to specify the party that will host the related DNS records. If you specify Volusion as your DNS host, you can link your domain name with your Volusion store. 🔗
If Volusion does not host your DNS, you will see a yellow shaded message on your DNS management page (Click My Volusion > Manage DNS from your Admin Area).
One of the most important DNS records for the process of matching your domain name with your Volusion store is a Name Server (NS) record. NS records are used to point a root domain name at a site’s name servers, which contain information about the numerical identifiers (IP address locations).
At a very basic level, DNS works like this:
- A customer enters your domain name into their web browser. For example: www.myvolusionstore.com
- The customer's computer network sends a request to the nearest caching point between it and Volusion's name servers asking for information about the domain's location. That caching point goes upstream to the nearest caching point between it and the Volusion name servers, until the Volusion name servers are reached.
- Volusion's name servers look up the records stored for the domain, find the IP address of your store, and send it to the customer's computer.
- The customer can now see your store's homepage.
Note that once step 2 is performed, the caching point will store the location data temporarily to prevent the need to look all the way upstream for every request. Volusion's servers determine how long answers should remain cached, and it's up to the operator of any given caching point to honor the expiration value that Volusion sets.
Though the entire server query process is actually pretty complicated, the exchange of information takes a fraction of a second and is invisible to your customer. Cool, huh?
Configuring Your Domain For Use With Your Volusion Store
Depending on where you purchased your domain name and whether or not your Volusion store will use a subdomain (for example: "store." vs. "www."), the instructions for configuring your domain settings will vary.
📄For detailed instructions, see Go Live on Your Domain Name.
Completing the Change in Your Admin Area
On average, it takes around 24-72 hours for name server and other DNS record changes to “propagate,” a technical term meaning to index and take effect.
Once you've pointed the DNS with your registrar and waited the necessary propagation time, you can configure your Volusion store to resolve to your domain name like so …
- Go to Settings > Company in your Admin Area.
- Under Company Information, select your store's domain name from the Domain Name menu.
- Click Save.
When you point your DNS at Volusion, you will be able to type in your domain and view your storefront, but the URL will still show your Temporary Hostname address. By changing this setting in your Admin Area, the URL in your browser will begin to display your domain name.
Finding & Editing DNS Records
Go to my.volusion.com and log in OR point to your administrative account name in your Admin Area and click My Volusion
- Click Manage DNS and, if necessary, select the appropriate domain from the Choose a Domain menu.
- Make the appropriate changes or additions to the My Volusion DNS Records table.
- Click Save.
⚠️ Good To Know!
- If your DNS is not hosted by Volusion, you will need to use the instructions in this article to change your NS within your domain registrar before you can use your DNS management page to edit your DNS records
- Changes made to your DNS records may take 24-72 hours to take effect
Though DNS settings and changes can seem intimidating, Volusion makes it as simple as possible by automating the process of pointing the records in your DNS for you. Before troubleshooting DNS issues, be sure to wait the 24-72 hour propagation period to see if your domain is simply slow to resolve.
During the initial period after a name server change, it's not uncommon (depending on their location and what ISP they are using) for some customers to successfully reach the new location while others may still find the domain to resolve to the old location (if any). This is because the time it takes for news of a name server change to reach all DNS servers worldwide varies.
If you continue to have issues with DNS propagation or figuring out your DNS settings, reach out to Volusion Support for assistance.