Making a NetCommunity site “go live” really just means making sure that when folks on the internet type your domain name into their browser, they actually arrive at your website.

To understand how to make this happen, it helps to understand what an IP address is. Your NetCommunity website lives on a web server and that server has a unique address called an IP address that works kind of like the street address for your home. It tells the internet how to find your website.

Shows a street address and a server address

In the example above, we have a NetCommunity website (www.domain.com) that lives on a web server with an IP address of 123.45.67.890. If your site is hosted by Blackbaud, we will provide you with your site’s IP address. If you host your NetCommunity site on your own web server, your server administrator will provide a publicly-accessible IP address for your website.

When your site visitors want to visit your site, they of course aren’t going to be typing in this IP address...they’ll just type www.domain.com into their browser.
So using our example, making our site live just means telling “the internet” that the www.domain.com website lives at the IP address 123.45.67.890.

Displays a web browser URL and shows it pointing to the IP address on the web server
 
Making your NetCommunity site live essentially means establishing the red line above and there are two ways to accomplish this, both of which must done by first logging into your domain registrar’s control panel. Your domain registrar is the company you used to registered (or manage) your domain name. Common examples are GoDaddy, Network Solutions and Register.com but there are many others.

Method A
The easiest way to tell the internet where your NetCommunity website lives is by adding what’s called an A-Record to your domain via your domain registrar’s control panel. Continuing our example, an A-Record simply tells the internet that when someone types www.domain.com in their browser (or clicks a link to this address) that what they really want is to see the website living at the IP address 123.45.67.890.

Shows the A-Record linking the address in the browser's address bar to the IP address of the web server.
Here are instructions for some common domain registrars (documentation current at the time this article was published):
Your domain registrar control panel will probably look like the image below, with multiple rows where you can enter A-Records.

Displays the domain registrar conrol panel
 
Continuing our example, if we wanted our NetCommunity website to be accessible by “domain.com” as well as by “www.domain.com”, we’d enter both A-Records as indicated above. However, if we will be using www.domain.com for another non-NetCommunity site of ours and we want to use a different “subdomain” like donate.domain.com for our NetCommunity site, then the only new A-Record we’d need would look like this:

Displays the domain registrar conrol panel with a different domain, donate.domain.com
 
Method B (for sites hosted by Blackbaud only)
The method above will work fine. Its only shortcoming is that if you host your NetCommunity website with Blackbaud, if the IP address where we host your website ever has to change, you will have to update you’re A-Record to reflect the new IP address (don’t worry, we’ll notify you in advance should this ever occur). But using Method B, you would not have to change anything. Method B relies on a different record type known as a CNAME record. The main difference is that the CNAME record will act like a forwarding address of sorts:

Illustrates the CNAME record joining the address in the web browser to the IP address on the server
 
In this case, you are taking care of “pointing” your domain to an “Alias” address that Blackbaud provides and Blackbaud will always make sure that the Alias points to the correct IP address (even if we have to change the IP address down the road).
Adding a CNAME record isn’t much different than adding an A-Record.



Again, here are instructions for some common domain registrars (documentation current at the time this article was published): Note: We provide links to third-party websites in an effort to help you resolve your issue. We are not responsible for the information on third-party websites, and we cannot assist with implementing resolutions from these websites.