So, you have just excitedly registered your new domain name and launched your site, but when you go to type in the URL to check it out…you realise that your website is not there. You wonder why, and are left scratching your head in annoyance! Well, welcome to the world of Domain Propagation.
Domain Propagation is the process of transferring a domain to a new owner, and it is a process that does not happen instantly. One can expect to wait for anywhere between 24-48 hours before the full switch has been made and your website starts showing up at its new domain. So, why does this happen? Well, in this article we will look into all things related to Domain Propagation – so read on to find out more!
What Exactly Is Domain Propagation?
Domain propagation, also sometimes referred to as DNS propagation, is the process of updating every server across the web with brand new information. Now, think about it – there are millions upon millions of service across the entire web, and all of them need to be updated. As such, it is no wonder why there is a lag between when changes are made and when all the servers have officially registered it.
DNS Servers – How Do They Work?
DNS servers have the job of translating IP addresses into domain names. Even if your website has a short and simple name, the fact remains that it is also located at a not so simple numerical IP address that looks something like 123.455.788.101.
Each time you visit a website, a DNS server receives the domain name that you type in and starts processing which IP address it has in order to send you to correct place. This is a process that happens fairly seamlessly, why is why you don’t ever have to think too much into it. In fact, the only time you ever have to think about this process is when you make a DNS change.
What Happens During A DNS Change?
When you change domain names or move to a new hosting provider, every single DNS server on the globe needs to register this change of information before they know how to translate your domain name to the correct IP address. To further complicate things, different servers will receive updated information at different types, which is why you may be able to see new and updated information but your friend across the street may not.
Because DNS changes are quite rare, most DNS servers will cache information that they have gathered in previous searches. So, if you searched www.ABC.com last week and the DNS server was indeed able to translate the domain to a particular IP address, it will go into default and direct you to that same IP again. After a while, it will learn that changed have been made and that it should now send people who are looking for www.ABC.com to the new IP address where the website lives.
Now, we know all of this can be slightly confusing, but fret not for this is but a momentary problem. Bit by bit, over the next day or two, you can trust that all DNS servers will get the memo and register your new update. It is also worth keeping note that browsers often cache the information received from specific websites, so even after a DNS server has updated, you may still need to clear your browser’s cache in order to see the new and updated website.
When Is Domain Propagation Complete?
Now, this can be a little tricky as your DNS server can register the update before someone else’s does. This is why you cannot assume that once you see the new website at its domain, that everyone else will as well. You can get a pretty good idea of when your domain propagation is complete by using this tool. The results won’t give you a 100% guarantee that every single person on the planet can see your new site, but it can assist you in confirming when the change has been completed for the majority of people.
All in all, have some patience, as your site is guaranteed to be live around the world within a couple of days!