Adding a domain name to your Dreamhost shared hosting plan

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Before starting this guide, you’ll need to have a registered domain name. If you have no clue what a domain name is, read my article on what is a domain name?. If you’re ready to register a domain name but don’t know how, check out my step by step guide to registering a domain name with Godaddy.

In this article, I will go over how to connect a domain name registered with GoDaddy to a Dreamhost shared hosting plan. At the end of this article, your domain name be fully functional and ready for you to start adding content. Let’s get started shall we?

Double Check with GoDaddy – Are your name servers setup?

In the end of my guide on registering a domain name with Godaddy, I mentioned something about setting the name servers. If you’ve already done this, skip this section. If not, here are the steps again.

GoDaddy Step 1First, log into your GoDaddy.com account. You can manage your domains under the “Domain” tab clicking on “Domain Management”.

GoDaddy Step 2You will find a list of all your registered domains here. If this is a new purchase, it usually takes several minutes for the new order to show up. Click on the domain name you want to manage to enter the “domain details” page.

GoDaddy Step 3Now, click on “set nameservers” under the Nameserver heading. A pop-up will appear.

GoDaddy Step 4Click on “I have specific nameservers for my domains” and enter your nameservers. For all Dreamhost.com customers, enter NS1.DREAMHOST.COM, NS2.DREAMHOST.COM, and NS3.DREAMHOST.COM and click ok. This usually takes several minutes to update, however, it may take up to 24 hours to spread globally.

We’re all set, you can now log out of GoDaddy.com now.

Sign up for Dreamhost.com and log in

If you’re not a Dreamhost customer yet, sign up now! They’re a great hosting company that I’ve been with for more than 10 years. Their shared hosting plans offer unlimited disk space and bandwidth for $8.95 a month with a 2 week trial period.

After purchasing a shared hosting plan, your web server will be ready for use within minutes. To start setting up your hosting service, log into Dreamhost’s control panel with the link below.

panel.dreamhost.com

Dreamhost developed their own control panel and it’s one of the most user friendly control panels I’ve worked with. In fact, I’m going to show you how to get your domain name added to Dreamhost in several simple steps.

Adding a domain name to Dreamhost

Follow the steps below to add a Godaddy domain name to your Dreamhost shared hosting plan:

  1. On the top left navigation panel, click on “Manage Domains“.
  2. Click on the large, grey “Add New Domain / Sub-Domain” link located next to the green + icon.
  3. Domain to host: enter the domain name you want to host, in this example we’ll use website.com. (insert without www in front of the domain)
  4. Do you want the www in your domain? Choose “Add WWW: Make http://website.com/ redirect to http://www.website.com/
  5. Run this domain under the user: Your main account should be default, don’t touch this.
    Web Directory: You don’t need to change this. The default value should be your domain name. In our example, it should be website.com. Dreamhost will automatically add a folder call “website.com” and place all the web content there. This is a great way of keeping track of multiple websites on the same web server as each folder represents a different domain name.
  6. Logs directory: You don’t need to change this.
  7. PHP mode: Change this to PHP 5.3.x FastCGI
  8. Extra Web Security? Keep checked.
  9. Page Speed Optimization: Keep unchecked.
  10. PHP XCache Support: Keep unchecked.
  11. Passenger (Ruby/Python apps only): Keep unchecked.
  12. Enable CloudFlare on this domain? Keep unchecked.
  13. Use Gmail?: Keep unchecked.
  14. Use Google Apps?: Keep unchecked.
  15. Click on “Fully host this domain” button.

Here’s a pictural guide incase you can’t find some of the links:

Dreamhost Step 1

Dreamhost Step 2

Dreamhost Step 3

That’s it, you’re all set! Wait a couple minutes for everything to take effect and then visit your website using your domain name. In our example, http://www.website.com should be working and look something like the below picture.

Success Adding Domain Name to Dreamhost

note: If the Dreamhost splash page is still not showing after 10 minutes, you may need to remove/refresh the cookies/cache on your web browser. If you’ve only recently changed your name servers in Godaddy, it may take several minutes to 24 hours for the changes to take effect. Lastly, you may need to go over the above steps making sure you did not misspell your domain name.

Quick recap and what now?

Again, give yourself a pat on the back because your website is now up and running using your own domain name! There is no content there yet (hence the Dreamhost splash page), however, the fact that when you enter your domain name into a web browser and something shows up means you’ve correctly connected your domain name to your web host. It’s a milestone!

Now that you have the backbone of what it takes to start a blog, I need to show you how to get WordPress installed so you can start blogging (this article is coming soon!). WordPress is the most used, easiest to use, completely free, and probably the best blog publishing platform in the world. Dreamhost is optimized for WordPress so installation takes only minutes to complete.


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