After weeks of careful planning, coordination and revisions, your new website is finally finished. You excitedly type your site name into the address bar of your browser and…nothing. Your old site is still showing up or the site is missing altogether.
If you’ve recently approved to have your website go live, it has to go through a process called propagation first. Essentially, your website is transferring over to a new address, and it may anywhere from 24 to 48 hours before your site is ready.
But why so long? To understand exactly why propagation may take so long, you have to understand a little bit more about how the internet works and how computers communicate with one another.
Every website, from Google to Twitter, has multiple addresses. A DNS (Domain Name Service) and an IP (Internet Protocol) address. A DNS looks like “http://mybusiness.com/” and is essentially the human-friendly version of your web address. Whereas an IP address is a series of unique numbers, such as 123.456.78.910 that allows computers to communicate and identify with one another.
When you change your domain name or change service providers, all the information for your site needs to be updated to match the correct IP address. When this change occurs, it allows other computers and devices everywhere to recognize that “mybusiness.com” should actually go to 123.456.78.910 and not the wrong or old IP.
This change is not just made once, but millions of times by thousands of DNS servers worldwide. And that is why propagation can take so long. DNS servers are working on billions of websites 24/7 to ensure every domain name is accurately translated to the correct IP address.
Unfortunately, there is no way to speed up this process. In the meantime, sit back, relax and wait for your website to propagate.
Posted by Big Tuna – 5.29.15