What does "Manage Your Domain Address" mean?
This feature lets you redirect the personal domain you use for your disposable addresses to Mailshell's site, your Mailshell account, an existing website, or an IP address, letting you control where someone goes when they enter "http://your-name.com" or "http://www.your-name.com" into a browser.
To change where your domain is pointed, click the "Manage Your Domain Address" link in Options and use the buttons and fields provided to make your selection:
- Mailshell Home points your domain to the Mailshell front door. (This option lets Rewards Members earn credit for referrals by letting people use their personal domain to sign up with Mailshell.)
- My Mailshell account points the domain to your Mailshell start page. If you have "Remember me" checked on the computer you are using, you will be taken directly to your account; otherwise, you will be asked to sign in.
- An existing website at lets you specify the URL of an existing website; when someone enters your domain in a browser, they will be redirected to this site. (This option is available only to Premium users.)
- IP Address lets you specify the IP address of an existing website; when someone enters your domain in a browser, they will be redirected to site at that IP address, but their browser will still say that they are at your domain. If you choose to specify an IP address, the change can take up to five business days to take effect, a time period that will also apply if you have selected the IP address option, it has taken effect, and you subsequently choose another option. (This option is available only to Premium users with a registered domain. Please note, though, that it is unavailable if you have done an MX update for an existing domain.)
If you have the free trial service, the full feature is available during the 30-day trial period after you first sign up. Once that period has expired, you can upgrade to the Premium Service to continue using it.
What is an IP address?
IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are the unique identifying numbers of every computer on the Internet. They consist of four numbers that look like this: "240.19.139.12". When you enter a URL into your browser (e.g., "www.mailshell.com"), your browser sends a request to a domain name server asking what the IP address of that name is, then downloads the page from the server corresponding to that IP address. So, for instance, every time you type in "www.mailshell.com", your computer asks a name server what IP address "www.mailshell.com" corresponds to. The server says, "www.mailshell.com is 240.19.137.12". Your computer then connects to the computer at that IP address and shows you the page. There isn't really any "www.mailshell.com"--there's just an IP address, which happens to correspond to that name. The names are there to make the Internet easier to use.
If you have the Premium Service and are using a registered domain for your disposable addresses, you have the option of giving an IP address for that domain with the Manage Your Domain Address feature. The major benefit of specifying an IP address is that when someone enters your domain name into a browser (e.g., "http://www.your-name.com") and sees the resulting page, their browser will still say that they are at your domain. If you were using normal URL forwarding, the browser will leave your domain and show the URL of the page you forwarded to.
Here's an example: let's say your Mailshell domain is "joe.com". If you forward joe.com to another website (let's say "bill.com"), then when you enter "www.joe.com" in your browser, the browser will ask a name server what IP address "www.joe.com" corresponds to. It will find out that "www.joe.com" should be forwarded to "www.bill.com". The browser then asks the name server what IP address "www.bill.com" corresponds to, gets that address, connects to the appropriate computer, and shows you the page. That means that you will see the bill.com website and your browser will show your URL location as www.bill.com.
But by giving the bill.com IP address as the address for joe.com, there's no need for forwarding--when you enter "www.joe.com" in your browser, your browser will ask the name server what IP address "www.joe.com" corresponds to, and it will show you the page at that address. That means that you will still see the same website you would if you typed in "www.bill.com", but your browser will show your URL location as www.joe.com.
This can be useful because Mailshell doesn't provide site-hosting services for domains registered with us. If you have a website and care that users associate your domain name with the site they end up at, you may prefer to give the IP address of your site rather than forward the domain. If you tell people your website is at "www.joe.com", but then every time they go there they're forwarded to "www.bill.com", they're going to know that they aren't actually at joe.com anymore. But if you give an IP address, as far as anyone knows, the website is actually "at" joe.com. (In fact, of course, it isn't "at" joe.com or bill.com--it's at the IP address, which both domains happen to point to.)
If you're interested in learning more about how the Internet and IP addresses work, we recommend you start with this explanation from HowStuffWorks.com.