Domain name servers (DNS) or “name servers” are the Internet computers that translate a friendly domain name to an IP address. The IP address for your website is the Internet address for the site, which is how your computer’s browser can find and open the website content. Not only do computer browsers need proper DNS settings, but Google also needs a DNS server to find your website. If your DNS server settings are bad or your DNS server goes down, Google and all of your readers will not be able to reach the site. The bad DNS settings can lead to a drop in search engine rank, but it can easily be recovered as long as the problem is fixed.
When you sign up for web hosting, your web host provides you with the address for the company’s name servers. These name servers provide the translation from friendly domain name to IP address. All you need to do to configure the DNS servers for your website is to add the name servers to your account. Some web hosts do this for you, but you must manually add the name servers to your domain account if you use a different domain registrar than your web host company. If you register your domain name with the same company that hosts the domain website, the company typically does the DNS settings for you.
Each web host provides you with at least two name server addresses. Some web hosts give you three. You must have at least two servers entered into your account, because the secondary domain name server provides the translation when the primary name server becomes overloaded with requests or it goes down.
Typically, DNS errors are intermittent, so you don’t always notice problems when you use the browser to check your website. For website owners not familiar with the mechanics of DNS, you can use Google Webmaster Tools to check for any DNS issues. If Googlebot has a problem reaching the website due to DNS issues, a warning message is displayed in the Webmaster Tools dashboard. Review the crawling section of Webmaster Tools to identify any DNS issues encountered by Google.
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