Domains #

When you deploy an application, you typically want to make it accessible via a domain name. To do this, you obtain a domain via your favorite domain name registrar, and link it to Smoothy. Within the user-interface of Smoothy, you can then easily point your domain and subdomains to a particular application and manage their DNS records.

Domains

Basics of DNS #

To fully understand the concept of domains and the Domain Name System (DNS) you need to know that every online application is associated with an IP address. This is a numerical combination of the form 22.231.113.64 which computers use to lookup an application on the internet. Since it would be way too hard for humans to remember all the IP addresses of the online applications they like to use, domain names were invented.

Whenever you type a domain name into your web browser, the browser will use the DNS to find the IP address of the corresponding application. In a way, DNS can be seen as the phone book for computers, as it translates human-friendly domain names, such as example.com, into machine-readable IP addresses, such as 22.231.113.64.

This translation can be configured within Smoothy via a simple set of rules, called DNS records. Just as you can specify a DNS record to map your domain example.com to an IP address, you can also specify DNS records to map subdomains such as dashboard.example.com to an IP address. Next to these two use cases, there are many more things you can do with DNS records. More information about the different kinds of DNS records and their use case is provided in the section about DNS records in this documentation.

Smoothy stores the DNS records of your domains on two public servers, called nameservers. In order to tell DNS to look for the DNS records on these two servers, you need to access the control panel of the registrar of your domain. Here you will find an option to change the nameservers of the domain to those of Smoothy. Once you change the nameservers of your domain, it can take up to 48 hours to go into effect, though it typically takes about 4-8 hours.

Now that you know a bit more about how domain names and DNS works, here's an example of how it would work when you visit let's say example.com:

  1. You type example.com into your browser.
  2. Your browser uses DNS to look up the nameservers for example.com.
  3. The nameservers bob.ns.cloudflare.com and zelda.ns.cloudflare.com are retrieved.
  4. Your browser uses the nameservers to look up the DNS records of example.com in order to map the domain to the corresponding IP address.
  5. Your browser gets the response 22.231.113.64.
  6. Your browser sends a request to 22.231.113.64, including the specific page you're trying to reach.
  7. The web server running your application sends the requested page to your browser.

Add domain #

After you added your newly purchased domain to Smoothy, you will land on a page looking like the one below. Here, you will be kindly asked to change the nameservers of your domain to the ones provided by Smoothy. Note that the nameservers provided by Smoothy for your domain might be different from the ones shown in the image below.

Nameservers