Our ramblings about website design and other things

Posts tagged: dns

DNS Propagation

We often set up a new website or move your existing hosting to our hosting platform and then we tell you to wait while we get DNS propagation across the web so what does DNS propagation mean?

When we set up your new website we create a Master DNS record in our Domain Name Servers. We simply point to our DNS server as being the master authority of your domain.

When anybody wants to know how to find your website, they first go to the registration database to find out who the DNS authority is for your website. Then they visit our hosting provider’s DNS servers to find out what the IP Address is for your domain name, and from there your audience can now view your website.

This all sounds very straight forward however the problem with this whole set up is that in order to speed up the rate at which their customers can view the internet, each Internet Server Provider (ISP) caches (stores) their DNS records. This means that they make their own copy of the master records, and read from them locally instead of looking them up on the Internet each time someone wants view a website. This actually speeds up web surfing quite a bit, by speeding up the return time it takes for a web browser to request a domain lookup and get an answer, and in helping reduce the amount of traffic on the web hence giving it the ability to work faster.

The downside to this caching scenario and what makes it take so long for your website to be visible to everyone, is that each company or ISP that caches DNS records only updates them every few days. There is no standard for this time frame , and they can set this time anywhere from a few hours to several days. The slow updating of the servers cache is called propagation, since your websites DNS information is now being propagated across all DNS servers on the web. When this is finally complete, everyone can now visit your new website. Being that the cache time is different for all servers, as mentioned above, it can take anywhere from 12to 72 hours for DNS changes to be totally in effect. You also have the added effect that some users can see your hosting while others cannot until the propagation is complete.

So in summary you just have to be patient and let the DNS propogation happen.