I had a simple task… or so it seemed. I had purchased a domain at Bluehost, and I needed it to point to a site hosted at Godaddy.com. In concept, simple, right? And people do this every day, all the time, right? Well, not so simple.
Let me first go through what you need to do – roughly, since I am not an expert by any means. And then I’ll go through why this was so hard to execute.
My domain is minglo.com. When someone types in minglo.com, or www.minglo.com, I have to make sure the settings on Bluehost point to the location of my site, which is at Godaddy.com. The location at Godaddy is in the form of an IP address, usually in this format:
So the first thing I had to do was to call Godaddy and get this address. Then, you have to go back to Bluehost and set up records that direct traffic going to the site. This is done through the DNS manager at Bluehost, and setting up two records. On the Bluehost system, you have to set up what is called an A record by entering the following info:
Host Record: @
Points To: IP address in the form xxx.xx.xx.xx
TTL: there is a third box, marked TTL, which I wasn’t necessary to fill out for me.
This entry makes sure that when sometime types in minglo.com, they are directed to the right location.
But, someone might type in “www.minglo.com”. In this case, you have to set up a second record, a CNAME record, which stands for Canonical Name (yep, try to say that out loud). Similar to the A record, you have to enter the following data:
Host Record: www
Points To: IP address or web address, in this case “minglo.com”. In some systems, you can just use a “@” symbol.
TTL: as above, it was not necessary to fill this out.
How To Check If Your DNS Is Working
So how do you know if you did it right? Turns out there is a cool site called https://www.whatsmydns.net/. You want to type in
and it will show locations around the world where these records are pointing to the right place. This also helped me understand what “propagating” meant. Usually they say once the changes are made, wait about up to 24 hours for the changes to propagate. In other words, it can take up to 24 hours for all these locations (servers?) around the world to recognize the change.
Why Was This So Hard?
This was actually really hard to figure out, and this is why. It took several phone calls; many hours of calling, waiting for customer service, explaining, and getting wrong answers; and days of waiting to see if things were working before calling customer service again. Here’s the quick summary.
Call #1 – Godaddy. The rep gives me the IP address for Godaddy’s servers, but gives me incorrect instructions for filling out the records on Bluehost. I ask him what do I put in these boxes, and he says, just put in this IP address. I know he’s not responsible for Bluehost, but he’s wrong, as he would have gotten it wrong even on Godaddy’s systems.
Call/Chat #2 – Bluehost. I type in “minglo.com” several times for the next day, and it never works, and I finally set up a chat with Bluehost (they don’t do calls easily), and tell him my problem, give him the IP address, and he says no problem, A record entered, wait up to 24 hours.
Call #3 – Godaddy. I try for the next 24 hours, and my site i still not working. So I call Godaddy, and they tell me, “minglo.com” is pointing to the right place, but “www.minglo.com” is not working. Have to go back to Bluehost and ask them to set up the CNAME record.
Call/Chat #4 – Bluehost. I call Bluehost, and this rep says, “please confirm with Godaddy.” And I’m like, what does “confirm” mean? What information do you need? You have the IP address, do you need a different one? He explains with a note that says, on Bluehost the information would look like this… And he sends 4 items which is info he already has but, ok, I go ahead and call Godaddy again anyway.
Call #5 – Godaddy. I ask Godaddy, and the rep tells me, Bluehost should be able to tell you, and I press him, and he says under the CNAME record, under “Host Record” you can enter “www” and under “Points To” you can enter IP address or “minglo.com”, it’s the same thing. So I do and ask him how I can check it, and he directs me to https://www.whatsmydns.net/. I check it, and “www.minglo.com” is starting to work.
Call/Chat #4B – Bluehost. I go back to Bluehost, and I admit, I’m annoyed, I type IN CAPS in the chat and tell him, you should have known this, this was YOUR responsibility, NOT Godaddy’s. After several minutes he tells me he’s made the changes, and this annoys me even more, I tell him, I made those changes myself already. Sigh.
After a few hours, I check, and the DNS settings are correct, but the website is still not working. Sigh…