When will my domain name start working?
If you’ve just created your account, or just added a new domain name to an account, you may be surprised that you are unable to view your website when using the domain. Instead you may see:
- An advertisements page.
- An error saying “This site can’t be reached”.
This is usually caused by a system called DNS Caching. This article explains how DNS Caching works, why your website isn’t up yet and what you can do to see your website right now.
When will I be able to see my website?
DNS Cache can take up to 72 hours to become visible. However, that’s a worst case scenario, usually it just takes a few hours.
What does this DNS thing mean?
DNS is a system which tells computers where domain names are being hosted. Every domain name points to a set of nameservers. The nameservers of a domain name provide DNS records, which tells other computers where a particular domain name can be found.
What is DNS caching and why does it take so long?
Most DNS records don’t change very often, and it takes comparatively long to look up the DNS records of a domain. Because of that, your computer and your internet provider check your domain’s records and then they remember it for a while.
If you make any changes to your DNS configuration (either by setting custom DNS records, adding the domain name to an account or changing your domain’s nameservers), your computer and internet provider won’t pick up on it right away. Only when they decide their information is out of date will they look up the latest DNS records.
The period between you making the change to your DNS configuration, and your computer and internet provider deciding to look up the new settings, is the reason you cannot see your website right away.
What can I do to see my website faster?
InfinityFree updates your domain’s configuration almost instantly when you make the change. And if left alone, your website will be updated on it’s own automatically. However, there are workarounds which can help you see your website faster.
Clear your computer’s DNS cache.
You can clear your computer’s DNS cache to force your computer to look up your domain name again. You can read how to do that here.
Note that this is not guaranteed to make your website work for you. If your internet provider still has old DNS data, clearing your computers’ cache will not show you your website.
Edit your hosts file to override DNS settings.
You can override DNS settings for your own computer by changing the hosts file of your computer. Changing your hosts file will allow you to preview any website on a new host before the domain name has actually been moved.