Have you noticed that often when you make a change to your website like moving where it’s hosted or even switching website builders that it can take a while to come online–sometimes as long as 24-48 hours?

Yeah, it’s annoying.

While we wish we could tell you that we have a solution to make the time go by faster, we can at least answer some typical questions that we get about DNS propagation delays. Let’s start with…

What is DNS?

DNS stands for “domain name system”. In short, it turns easy-to-read web addresses like pop.co into IP addresses (which identify computers), that a computer can read, which it then references its local name servers to match that IP address to a website. Think of it like a digital version of the yellow pages. When you want to know where your favorite cake baker’s phone number, you used to reference the phone book. If their number changed, you wouldn’t know until the next phone book publication unless you went to the bakery in person or they told you that they have a new phone number. You would update your own address book and tell your friends, but that information would take a bit longer to be updated everywhere. Which brings us to…

So why does it take time for my site to show up?

When you make a big change like pointing your name servers to a new host or upgrading to Weebly or WordPress, the information that was previously in name servers needs to be updated. There are two main types of servers that work together: recursive and authoritative.

Recursive Servers

These are the servers that your internet service provider sets up so that your computer knows how to “resolve” (look up) domain names. Often times, they have to ask other servers for this information–that’s why they’re called recursive. They save results for a while to minimize the amount of network connections they have to make, so sometimes information can go out of date.

Authoritative Servers

As you may have guessed by the name, these servers act as the authority on what URL maps to which IP for domains. These are usually managed by web hosting companies.

At POP we process all DNS changes in under a minute, but unfortunately not all DNS companies process requests so quickly. It’s not uncommon to encounter companies that process changes twice a day or even only once.

Fun fact: there are millions of name servers all over the world, so you can imagine how keeping them all up-to-date can be a very time-consuming task compared to the speed at which other things seem to get done on the Internet (like getting a free domain, email, and webpage!).

In spite of these delays, it usually takes less than an hour for your changes to be seen live online.

DNS Propagation Tips

  • If you’re changing where your domain is pointed, don’t forget to change your MX records so your email comes along too! The MX record is likely located in the same place where you changed your name servers. It’s usually the same as the web server (but make sure to check with your new hosting company!).
  • Make your changes during your business’s off-hours to minimize downtime.
  • Find a service where you can keep your domain name, email address, and website all together. Naturally, we recommend POP.co! POP makes it easy to get a domain (or tie in one you already have) and connect great apps like Weebly, WordPress, and Google Apps for Work (among others) in one click.

 

Want an online presence too? Get started today! Whether you’re looking for a free domain, email, and webpage or want something more substantial, POP gets you connected to what you need simply and easily. 

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