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View Full Version : Website Designers, Computer Tech Saavy People Needed! Domains etc.



Roly
01-07-2016, 09:50 PM
Hi guys,

I have a few questions in terms of terminology...I've been researching, but I don't have a clear understanding of what these terms mean. It has to do with websites, domains etc. One of my characters in my book will need to have some tech experience and though I came across some terminology with building websites I don't have a clear understanding of the context.

So, let's say you have an existing website and you're trying to rebuild it to suit the needs of the new mandates for the site. What does it mean if someone says that the existing domain registration just needs to be configured "to point" at one of the servers (like say a university server if the website will be tied to the school's systems). And why would it matter in this case who has administrative controls over the domain?

And what are domain administrative credentials and how do they come into play in this case?

I'm sorry if I can't make this more clear in terms of context, but any help you can give me would be much much appreciated.

Dennis E. Taylor
01-08-2016, 12:00 AM
When you type in a URL, like "absolutewrite.com", your PC knows to go to your service provider to look up where that server actually is (if it exists). Your service provider's Domain Name Service (DNS) server may have the information cached already, usually because it's been accessed recently. If not, the DNS server knows the next server up the chain of command to ask. If that server doesn't know, it'll pass along the request. Eventually, the response will work its way back down the chain to your PC.
Now your PC has an actual IP address to query. It sends the query out, and the routers route the query to the actual server that has the absolutewrite.com website. The server hands the web page to your PC, the connection is closed, and your browser displays the page. So every web page display actually consists of two queries-- one to get the IP address, given the name; and the other to get the page, given the IP address.

In order to have that website, you have to buy a domain registration that says the website absolutewrite.com exists and what the primary DNS servers are for that site. You also have to pay the service provider, or they won't host the website, but that's a separate bill.

You can, at any time, move your website to a different service provider, then change the DNS entries to point to the new service provider. Requests will no longer go to the old service provider. You must have administrative control over the domain name in order to be able to make that change, usually because you paid for it in the first place, and have the account name and password necessary to edit the details.

If anyone cares, here's the info for absolutewrite.com . This is public data, by necessity. https://who.is/dns/absolutewrite.com

Cath
01-08-2016, 12:02 AM
Okay, there are a few things to understand here:

When you build a website, that lives on a hosting server (or group of servers) that are defined by a Domain Name System (DNS).


The domain registry is like a phone switchboard, it directs the caller (the visitor to the site) to the site they want to visit.
If you move where the site is hosted you'll need to update the domain registry to point to the new location (DNS) for that site.

If you're just updating the site without moving it to another hosting location, you won't need to update the domain registry.

For domain administrator credentials, only the domain administrator can make changes to the domain. You wouldn't want just anybody being able to log in and change that information because they could point the visitor anywhere.

King Neptune
01-08-2016, 12:08 AM
You would only need a "pointer", if the new site were a subdomain. I didn't read the linked page, but it looks like it supposed to be the tool for setting up pointers.
http://www.fatcow.com/knowledgebase/read_article.bml?kbid=1152

Domain administrative are security permissions for using the administrator level of that network; a password. The domain pointer would have to be set by an administrator. Administrators have access to programs and parts of the OS that ordinary users do not have.

-May-
01-08-2016, 03:36 AM
Just chiming in here, what everyone already said about DNS is on point. Also it can take a few days for a DNS to "resolve' where you will see the new site.

I am not sure this is what you want for your scene though. Maybe it would be more helpful for you if you tell us a little bit about your scene, and what the character is trying to accomplish and we can better lead you to a situation that makes sense in that context. It sounds like he is just trying to redesign an existing site? Is this just a visual redesign?

WeaselFire
01-08-2016, 05:31 PM
So, let's say you have an existing website and you're trying to rebuild it to suit the needs of the new mandates for the site. What does it mean if someone says that the existing domain registration just needs to be configured "to point" at one of the servers (like say a university server if the website will be tied to the school's systems). And why would it matter in this case who has administrative controls over the domain?

And what are domain administrative credentials and how do they come into play in this case?

Computers don't understand the text in a URL, such as absolutewrite.com. They use numbers, IP addresses, to identify each other on a network. So the URL http://absolutewrite.com/ is actually directed to the IP address of 184.168.82.237. For your computer to find that number, it looks up the absolutewrite.com domain name in the domain name system (DNS) to find the number, then the request goes to that address. Sort of like looking up John Smith and finding he lives at 123 Main Street, then mailing the letter there.

Pointing a DNS record to the correct IP address of the server that holds the web site is part of the configuration process. Just like if you found John Smith at 123 Main Street but he actually lived at 789 Elm Street, meaning your letter goes to the wrong place, if the DNS record for the domain points to the wrong address, the request doesn't get there and nobody sees the web site.

The administrative, and technical, contacts are the people who have the ability to change the DNS listings and, often, they are the ones that control those DNS entries. So they need to change the entries. If I'm the contact for the domain and have the proper passwords and access to change the DNS entries, but Dave the web designer doesn't, and Dave needs the entries changed, he needs to contact me to change them. Where web designers have issues is that the contact with the ability to change the DNS entry doesn't know Dave the web designer, so they, correctly, ignore requests from Dave for the change and only accept them from Debbie, who owns the domain, for changes. And often Debbie, the owner, has no clue about the process and no idea who to contact for the changes.

There's a lot more to this. I've worked with DNS entries since before there was an internet so this is just trivia for me, but for the vast majority of web site owners who saw a promotion from GoDaddy, it's all a mystery as to how it works. Is there something you need to happen in your story that we can provide a reference for, or is this just background?

Jeff