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Why My Domain is Not Showing After DNS Change

Updated on Feb 11, 2022

Have you changed your Domain Name System (DNS) records or switched to a new web host recently? In such cases, there are various reasons as to why your website is not currently displaying. DNS propagation is a term for describing the time frame after making changes to your domain name. That propagation occurs after any changes to your domain’s DNS records or name servers, as well as changes to the domain’s WHOIS information.

Table of Contents:

What is DNS Propagation and Why It Takes so Long

Every time you update DNS records in your DNS Zone Editor, the Internet has to catch up with those changes. This catching up period is widely known as propagation. Typically, DNS changes propagate withing a few hours, but there are times when it takes longer - up to 48 hours for everything to propagate across the Internet. Propagation time is can be affected by many things, including your Internet Service Provider (ISP), your TTL*, and your domain’s registry.

*TTL (Time to live) is a mechanism designed to limit how long data lives in a computer or a network. TTL can be implemented as either having a counter or timestamp attached or embedded in the data in order to ensure that data is discarded once the correct time is reached.

Changes to the DNS records or name Servers of Your Domain

When your website’s address is entered into a browser, the computer requests the IP address of the server where your website is from your local ISP (Internet Server Providers) DNS records. If the site is not listed in the records it queries the registrars to find out who the DNS SOA (Start Of Authority) is for your website.

If you’re using your registrar’s name server as your SOA, it looks up the “A” record for your domain and returns the IP address of the server. If you are using our (FastComet) name servers, the registrar points the browser to our DNS servers to determine the IP address for your domain name. From there the request is sent to the server where the domain is hosted and then provides the browser with your website.

To speed the loading of websites, each ISP caches a copy of DNS records for a period of time. This means that they make their own copy of the registrar's master DNS records, and reads from them locally instead of making a direct request to the domain registrar every time a request for your site is made. This speeds up web surfing quite a bit by:

  • Decreasing the return time it takes for a web browser to request a domain lookup and get an answer;
  • Reducing the amount of traffic on the web;

You need to allow up to 24 hours until your domain name propagates fully on your end. This is an automated process that does not depend on us, so we cannot speed it up for you. However, once your domain propagates fully, you will be able to access your website without further delays.

Changes to Your Domain’s WHOIS Information

WHOIS is a publicly available tool that searches the databases of domain registries and registrars. The tool does that to detail the domain owner contact information. A change to your WHOIS information (such as updating your contact details) can take up to 72 hours to fully propagate.

Other Reasons for a Website to be Unaccessible

There are various problems that may prevent you from accessing your site. We will address those cases in which you are not able to access your website but there is no error message indicating the exact problem.

Incorrect DNS Settings

For your web hosting account to be fully functional, your domain's DNS records should be set to those for the server hosting your account.

If you are a FastComet customer, you can find the correct DNS servers for your domain in your Client Area. Scroll down to find your domain and go to Manage - View Details:

Find the Correct DNS Servers for Your Domain

In case this is not an option for you, you can edit the DNS zone and customize it to your needs. You should do any of the following:

  • Set an A record for your domain. The A record should point to the server's main IP address.
  • Set an MX record for your domain name pointing to your actual domain. For example, if your domain is mydomain.com, you need to set up your MX records to point to mydomain.com. (with the dot at the end).
  • CNAME (Optional). You might want to set up a CNAME for your www. record to point directly to your domain and thus both www.yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com will be displaying one and the same content.

Note that you should also add a separate A/CNAME record for each subdomain you have.

The Domain Name has Expired

Domain names are registered only for a limited (pre-paid) period of time. If your domain has expired there will be a default site with a link for more information. If this is the case, you should renew your domain as soon as possible.

If the domain name is registered through FastComet, you can log in to your Client Area, go to Domains → My Domains and click on the renew button next to the domain in question. Otherwise, you need to get in touch with your domain registrar and renew the domain name with them.

Blank or no Index file

When loading your site our web server tries to open any of the following files first: index.html, index.htm, index.php (this is the default order unless specified otherwise in .htaccess file). If there are no such files, the webserver displays a list of all your files and directories.

If the index file is empty, your browser will just display a blank page. A blank page may also show if there are problems with a PHP script and the error reporting has been disabled in your script.

Network Connectivity Issues

It is also possible that you are experiencing network connectivity issues to the server you are hosted on. This means you are able to visit other websites but that particular server is unreachable for you.

Typically, DNS updates propagate within a few hours. However, because these factors are out of our control, you should allow up to 48 hours for any DNS changes to fully propagate across the Internet. In case it's been more than 48 hours and your DNS changes aren't reflecting correctly, the issue may be because of incorrect DNS settings.

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