Domain Propagation antics
A lot of support requests that web hosts receive at the Helpdesk are about domain propagation and clients not being able to view their newly created sites. This article will go about trying to explain what is happening and why you can’t view your new site whereas someone else can view your site.
You’ve just opened your new web hosting account with a web host. After uploading your website files you updated the DNS info for your domain at the domain registry so that it now points to your account on the new server (at the new web host) that you’re site is on. Your site will not become visible by the domain name for probably 48 hours. Why is this taking so long, you ask? Basically all the ISPs around the net have to update their DNS cache and this takes time.
Why does it take so long? There are various reasons, but some studies have suggested that there are literally hundreds of thousands of DNS Servers that need to be notified of the new information!
Propagation takes two forms, changes to your DNS Zone and changes to your WHOIS information. The WHOIS is the master record that tells every DNS Server in the world which is the authoritative server for your domain. A change to your WHOIS information (done at your domain registrar) can take up to 72 hours to propagate fully. A change to your DNS Zone information typically affects only a handful of servers, and so is done much more quickly.
A common question web hosts hear is that why can you access the site but somebody else cannot access the new site. The answer to this is that your ISP has updated its DNS information and the ISP of this other person has not yet updated the DNS info. Hence you are looking at the new location of the domain name, whereas the other person will still be looking at the old location.
Use this page to check the whois and other name server checks for your domains – http://www.verisign-grs.com/whois/. Just because you can see the updated information on this page, this doesn’t mean that your site is viewable at its new location by everyone from around the net. True domain propagation takes up to 72 hours, maybe even longer.
So, hang in there and ride out the domain propagation waiting game.