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DNS Propagation Explained


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DNS Propagation Explained
Domain Name Registrar

Why You Have to Wait the 72 Hours

So you found a perfect domain name that was not already taken, figured out how to register it, paid for hosting (leasing space to store all the files that will be publicly accessed as web pages) with a WHP - aka Web Hosting Provider (such as bsleek.com) and even uploaded your website to the WHP's servers, or had a professional design firm create a web site for you.

Alas, it looks like the results of your hard work, of your money spending and of the headaches you got from trying to make sense of all the technobabble were in vain? Why can't you see your website instantly - after all, is't this the promise of the e-commerce age?? Hey, when they took your credit card payment, that went pretty fast!! Is it that nobody really cares about customer service anymore? And what is this "propagation" nonsense those techies are trying to bamboozle you with?

Is your new Web Host Provider a lemon? Did you make a big mistake chosing it??

All this has to be very frustrating, unless you understand exactly how things work. Over the next few paragraphs, I will try to demistify the DNS propagation process, by telling you in plain English, what DNS propagation is, how it works, and why is it that the only thing we can do to speed the process up is.... wait.

DNS stands for Domain Name Server. I know the word Server is intimidating and you are thinking "oh sure, another article written in technicalese language". Think of a server as a regular computer, like the one you are using now to read this. That's right! Your beloved computer can be a server too. We call a computer a server when that machine is up and running and providing a service ("serving" something, whether a web page, a text document, etc.)

With the language barier lowered, I will tell you that DNS can be tricky, especially when first registering a domain name or transferring your website to a web hosting provider. The strangest things can happen that would lead you to believe that your new web hosting provider is at fault.

99.99% of the time the Web Hosting Provider is not to blame and I will explain why.

There are a number of things involved in DNS that I will familiarize you with. Sorry, but it has to be done. Again, like everything else in life, once you understand how things work, things will look much brighter.

Things you need to hear about are:

- IP Addresses

- Service Providers

- Domain Names

- Domain Name Registrars

- DNS

- The Propagation Process

1. IP Addresses

Our computers talk to each other by identifying themselves using numerical addresses much like the address on your home or for your telephone. When one computer wants to speak to another computer, it all boils down to an address or what we call an "IP Address".

Here is an example: 64.247.43.26

As you would imagine, the number of possible addresses, while immense to the untrained eye, is actually limited and we are almost on the verge of exhausting all the numbers.... Here's a piece of trivia for all interested in cool facts: Typically, service providers (see below) receive thousands of IP addresses to be used on their networks. IP addresses in the United States are assigned by ARIN, the American Registry for Internet Numbers. They are the assigned numbers authority and they control who gets IP addresses in the US.

2. Service Providers

The service providers will use IP addresses to identify their network equipment so that they can conduct business on the internet.

There are many different types of service providers but for the purpose of this article, I will only discuss two of them.

The ISP (or Internet Service Provider) is the company that provides you with access to the internet. Without them, you would not be able to send email or surf the world wide web. When you connect to your ISP, they will assign your computer one of their IP addresses. This IP address will be used to identify your computer while you are connected to the internet.

The WHP (or Web Host Provider, such as bsleek.com) is a company that provides a means for individuals or businesses to publish a website on the internet. When the website is published, it is placed on a special computer known as a server that is connected to the internet via a high-speed connection. The WHP has already assigned this server one of their IP addresses.

Now, let's summarize what we have learned so far by looking at a typical internet users experience:

Let's say that you want to surf your newly published website. You connect to the internet and your computer gets an IP address (much like a phone number, a license plate, etc) from your ISP. You then open up your web browser and type in your website's domain name: yourdomain.com.

Then you hit enter. Your computer sends a request. That request is blasted across the internet jumping through routers and gateways, across wires and beamed to satellites and back down to Earth again. After traveling several thousand miles in just a few milliseconds, it finally arrives at your WHP's web server because it contains the IP address of the computer you are looking for.

The server then responds by sending a copy of the website's home page back to your computer because it knows the IP address of the computer that made the request. You are now looking at your published home page in merely a few seconds and being proud of the pretty colors you picked for your menu buttons.

How did this all happen? Read on:

3. Domain Names.

A domain name is what you typically enter into your web browser when you want to visit a website. We also use them when sending email.

Website: www.yourdomain.com / Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Domain names provide a fast and convenient way of reaching our favorite websites and sending email to each other. It is easy to remember the name of a friend's website or a company that you like to shop with rather than trying to remember a number like: 64.247.43.26

What are we missing here? The mechanism that translates numbers into names (that is, IP addresses into domain names) and vice versa. Suspense....



 
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