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Where to Find Nameservers – Everything You Should Know About Nameservers

Where to Find Nameservers

Understanding where to find nameservers is an important part of managing your domain names and ensuring your website remains online. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about nameservers, including what they are, the different types, and most importantly – where to find them for your domains.

What are Nameservers?

Nameservers are a key part of the Domain Name System (DNS) that helps direct internet traffic to the correct IP address. When a user types their domain name into their web browser, the request first goes to a nameserver to retrieve the IP address associated with that domain.

Simply put, nameservers act like a phone book that matches domain names to the server hosting the website. Every domain name requires at least two nameservers to function properly.

Types of Nameservers

There are two main types of nameservers:

Authoritative Nameservers

Authoritative nameservers are assigned by domain name registrars. When you register a domain, the registrar provides default nameservers that point to their DNS servers. This allows your domain’s DNS settings to populate across the internet.

You can also choose custom authoritative nameservers from your web host or DNS provider. These replace the registrar’s defaults to give you more control.

Recursive Nameservers

Recursive nameservers cache DNS information to speed up online traffic. Major ISPs like Comcast or Verizon provide their own recursive servers. Recursive resolvers also exist on public DNS services like Google DNS and Cloudflare.

Instead of querying root nameservers every time, recursive servers remember previous DNS lookups for a faster response.

Where to Find Your Domain’s Nameservers

Now that you understand what nameservers are, let’s cover where you can find them configured for your domains.

1. Domain Registrar

The easiest place to locate your domain’s nameservers is through your domain name registrar account. Most registrars display the nameservers in your control panel or account dashboard.

Keep in mind that the registrar nameservers may be from their own DNS service, or defaults from your web host if you changed them.

2. Web Hosting Control Panel

If your domains are pointing to nameservers from your web hosting account, you can find them in the control panel. Hosting providers like Bluehost display nameservers under the domain settings or DNS configuration pages. This location may also let you customize entries if needed.

3. Public DNS Tools

A few public domain and DNS tools can reveal the configured nameservers for any domain name:

  • – Enter a domain and view nameservers under DNS records
  • – Supports nameserver lookup and other DNS reports
  • DNSChecker – Basic DNS lookup showing associated nameservers
  • MXToolbox – Comprehensive DNS lookup with nameservers under Whois

These tools all provide an easy way to check or confirm nameservers for a domain.

4. Command Line Tools

Developers and more technical users can identify nameservers from their command line terminal:


nslookup -type=NS


dig NS

The terminal response will list out the assigned nameservers for that domain.

5. ICANN WHOIS Database

At a domain registry level, all nameservers are listed in the ICANN WHOIS database. WHOIS shows all the authoritative information and DNS settings for a domain from the registry manager.

While less convenient than other methods, WHOIS ensures 100% accurate nameserver data coming directly from the source. Power users can utilize the API for large-scale lookup automation.

And that covers the main places you can find and look for the nameservers for your website’s domain!

When to Change Nameservers

In most cases, you won’t actively modify the nameserver settings for your domains. However, there are a few situations when you may need to switch to new nameservers:

  • Switching web hosts – Your new host will have different nameservers that should be entered at your registrar. This points your DNS to the new host’s servers.
  • Setting up custom DNS – Using advanced DNS from Cloudflare or similar requires updating to their nameservers.
  • Leaving a shared server – If migrating from a shared hosting server to VPS or dedicated hosting, the new isolated server environment gets new nameservers.

Adjusting your domain’s nameservers allows you to direct traffic to new servers or services. Once updated, it takes 24-48 hours for the changes to fully propagate through global DNS.

Why Nameservers Matter for Uptime

Understanding where to manage nameservers is also important for ensuring your website remains online. Since nameservers translate your domain name to an IP address, problems with them can take down your site.

If a nameserver goes offline or becomes unavailable, visitors may get errors when attempting to reach your domain. Issues here are usually on the infrastructure side from a hosting, DNS or registrar outage.

You can monitor the uptime and performance of your site’s nameservers using external monitoring tools like UptimeRobot. Automated checks validate availability, and alert you to DNS problems before they become fatal.

For optimal uptime and availability, domain names should utilize multiple nameservers from different providers. This way if one fails, the other continues resolving traffic properly. Setting nameservers at both your registrar and web host enables this separation.

Managing Nameservers Like a Pro

Finding where your website’s nameservers live opens up more advanced management of your DNS infrastructure:

  • Switch nameservers easily when migrating web hosts or DNS providers
  • Modify DNS records and settings related to name resolution
  • Adjust TTL times for faster propagation of DNS changes
  • Implement redundancy with primary and secondary nameservers
  • Configure DNS failover to backup nameservers
  • Set up split-horizon DNS to use different DNS configs for internal vs external traffic

Understanding nameservers is incredibly valuable as your online presence scales across multiple domains, websites, and web servers.


Hopefully, this guide gave you a comprehensive overview of what nameservers are and the variety of places they can be identified for domains and websites you work with. Understanding your DNS infrastructure is vital both for ownership of your online presence, as well as diagnosing issues when they arise.


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