General DNS Propagation Information
Understanding what happens during the 3 - 4 days propagation period
When you change your domain DNS settings in your domain registrar control
panel , these new settings must propagate throughout the worlds DNS
servers. It also means that every ISP ( Internet Service Provider ) must
update their DNS records to reflect these new changes , which in most cases
is done automatically every 24 hours , but not always however.
Where do the Root Name Servers receive their information from?
The root name server will query "domain registrars" several times a
root name server will gather this information from the many registrars now
in existence and update their master records accordingly. Now your ISP must
access their Root Name servers and update their DNS records which resides on
their local DNS server. The process is fully automated and most ISP's will
check the Root Name servers for updates every 24 hours. Beware however that
some lame ISP's will delay this process for as much as 2 to 4 days in some
cases. If that happens, it will no doubt cause additional confusion as
everyone else will be reaching your new account on our server except
you. This is because your ISP has not updated their DNS records and or have
not cleared their DNS cache which means they'll still be pointing your
domain name to your old server. If it's a new domain you've registered , then
you'll receive a blank 'Site Not Found Page'.
DNS cache and your ISP
Every time you access a site from your ISP they cache the URL as well as its
associated IP number. If their network is properly setup, these DNS cache
records should "Expire" at least every 24 hours. If they did not (which is
often the case), you'll experience this. You enter your http://www.domain.com
URL and it keeps taking you back to your old server account.
In a large number of cases, it's the result of an ISP who "Did Not"
configure their servers to "Expire" the DNS cache records at the appropriate
intervals. Unfortunately, this adds additional confusion to their clients and
especially the ones whom are trying to point their domain name to a new
The DNS propagation process is not limited to ISP's! The internet itself
must update and clear its DNS cache as well. When we say the Internet, we mean
the numerous intermediate "point of access" you're routed through before
reaching your final destination. For the most part, these intermediate points
of access consist of "Internet Routers" and "Internet Caching
Engines". These too, maintain their own DNS cache which assists them in routing
resolving URL's to the correct destination IP's. Don't worry though as
Internet routers are usually faster at clearing their DNS cache than ISP's
What to Expect during this 2 to 4 day propagation period
In most cases, the propagation process will take at least 48 hours to
complete. The first thing that happens is the "World Root Name Servers" will
check all of the various "Domain Registrars for updates". After the root name
server has done this processing, the rest of it is up to the many ISP
providers who "should be" updating their DNS records (at least every 24
hours),but a number of them will not.
Site effect that can be expected during the propagation time frame
It's perfectly normal for strange things to happen within the 48 hours
propagation period ,but sometimes longer. While we could provide a full list
of all the anomalies that can occur during the DNS propagation period, we'll
stick to some of the most common scenarios that most people experience.
Other people can reach my website, but I'm still being redirected to
the old server!
This is a classic case of other peoples ISP (who did update their DNS
records) but yours unfortunately did not. As a result, your ISP is still
pointing your domain name to the old DNS record, which is your old hosting
account. Wait a couple of more days and it if appears that everyone but you
can access your new account, then contact yours ISP and tell them to expire
their old DNS cache records.
Mydomain.com is taking me to my new account just a minute ago
but when I try it now, I'm being taken back to my old hosting account -
what's up with this?
In all likelihood, your ISP may be in the process of cleaning their DNS cache
and or updating their local DNS server records. During this small
interval, it's normal to fluctuate between the new and old web site as the
old DNS records may not have completely expired from their cache yet. Give it
another several hours and it should be fine.
What's going on with my email? When I try to access it , I receive "host does
not exist" or a "cannot authenticate" error message.
This can happen for a number of reasons but in most cases , it's because
your new DNS records have not fully completed the propagation process
yet. Consequently, you may be trying to access your old email account on your
"old server" which you may have already cancelled, or it's in a state of
DNS flux ,which means it points to the new server one moment ,and the next
,points back to the old server. Give it some more time and it will eventually
Return to Articles Home