Can I point my domain name at another website or server?
There are several ways to “point” a domain name at another server or website. Each of these function differently and are described below.
- 301 or 302 redirects
- <meta refresh> tag redirect
- Domain name alias
- DNS “CNAME” record
- DNS “A record”
- Using other nameservers
301 or 302 redirects
A redirect is the simplest way to point a domain name at another website (or a specific Web page) if you don’t have hosting service with us.
When someone visits your domain name, their Web browser address bar will update and they will be taken to the other site. It’s possible to redirect your domain name to sites that aren’t hosted by us, and you don’t need to configure anything at the other server.
You can redirect using a simple domain name-only account, or with a Web hosting account (if you also want email addresses at the redirecting domain name).
There are two different types of redirect:
- A 301 redirect says that the site has been permanently moved to the new location and will tell search engines to treat the new site as a replacement of the old site. Choose this if you permanently stop using the old domain name and want search engines to only “know about” the new site.
- A 302 redirect tells search engines and visitors that the redirect is only temporary. You should use a 302 redirect if you intend to remove the redirect in the future.
To set up 301 or 302 redirection for a “domain name only” account with us:
- Login to the “My Account” control panel (having trouble?)
- Click Domain Name Features
- Choose the Domain Name Redirect option and follow the instructions.
If you don't see "Domain Name Features", your domain name probably has Web hosting service with us. If so, you can't do it this way (unless you cancel the hosting service first). You can add the redirect command to a .htaccess file instead.
<meta refresh> tag redirect
This method works if you just want to edit your HTML file. You can insert a <meta> tag in your website’s home page, causing the user’s browser to redirect to another website (or specific page). The browser’s address bar will update to show the new address. To do this, simply place a tag like this within the <head> section of your page:
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;url=http://www.example.com/">
This tag tells the user’s browser to immediately redirect to another URL (http://www.example.com/). You can specify a delay longer than 0 seconds if you want the visitor to have time to read your Web page before they get redirected.
This method of redirecting has some drawbacks compared to a “real” 301 or 302 redirect. For example, some browsers cannot go “back” to your page properly.
Domain name alias
If you have another Web hosting account with us, you can add a second domain name as an alias to the other site. When people visit your standalone domain name, they will see the Web content from the other Web hosting account — but their Web browser address bar will continue to show the second domain name.
For example, if you have a Web hosting account with us at http://www.othersite.com, you could configure example.com to be an alias for othersite.com. Anyone visiting http://www.example.com would see the content of www.othersite.com, and the browser's address bar would continue to show http://www.example.com.
Both domain names (www.example.com and www.othersite.com) point to the same website files.
An alias also allows you to share email with the other hosting account. Each mailbox will be addressable by both domain names. For example, any mail sent to email@example.com would appear in the firstname.lastname@example.org mailbox.
See our page about domain name aliases for more details.
DNS “CNAME” record
Creating a CNAME record allows you to point the Web hosting for a subdomain of your site to the same IP address used by a different server. For example, you could create a CNAME record saying that www.example.com should use the same IP address as web.me.com. A nice benefit of using a CNAME record is that if the administrator of web.me.com ever updates it to use a different IP address, then www.example.com will automatically start using that new IP address as well.
You can only create a CNAME record for subdomains of your domain, such as www.example.com or blog.example.com. If you want to point your domain name without the leading “www.” part (for example, example.com), you will need to do that with an A record (see next section).
Before creating a CNAME record, you need to check that the other company has configured their servers to recognize requests for your subdomain (for example, www.example.com) and is ready to display your content.
Redirecting your website with a CNAME record should have no effect on email for your domain (since email is sent to addresses at the top level of your domain name, not to subdomains).
Creating a CNAME will override our special automatic handling of subdomains as described on this page (since the request will reach a different server instead of our Web servers).
DNS “A record”
An A record allows you to directly specify the IP address for your website (domain name). For example, you could specify that example.com should resolve to 192.0.2.3. If you create a custom A record, you must also make sure that the target server is configured to recognize requests for your domain name.
Using an A record is discouraged because it becomes useless if the IP address of the target server changes. You might have a custom A record pointing your domain name to another server, but when that server unexpectedly changes its IP address, your A record will no longer be pointing your domain name to the correct server. You should instead use a CNAME record wherever possible, since the target of a CNAME record is another name (not an IP address) which can usually resolve correctly.
Using other nameservers
Changing the DNS nameservers for your domain name gives another company responsibility for converting your domain names (CNAME records, A records, MX records, etc) to IP addresses. That company then controls which servers people connect to when trying to view your website or sending email to you.
However, if you use our Web hosting service, you must use our DNS nameservers. You should only update the DNS nameservers for a Web hosting account if you intend to transfer the hosting service elsewhere.
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