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Knowledge Base
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Common DNS Issues and How to Solve Them

There are many reasons why a domain name may not resolve the server (i.e., when people enter a domain and do not arrive at the correct server). This guide offers troubleshooting tips for overcoming typical DNS issues, DNS errors and also gives a simplified explanation of how DNS works.

DNS Troubleshooting Checklist

Check Name Servers

Check to make sure your name servers are correct. There are several free online tools that will allow you to view domain DNS, including name servers. Examples of these tools include:

You can also view the correct name servers in various places, including the %%BRAND%% email and the cPanel for Shared web hosting accounts.

For more information on name servers and how to find them, please read the following articles:

Check the Validity of the Domain

Make sure the domain is registered and not expired; this can be checked with a Whois lookup tool. If the domain is expired, it will need to be renewed. If it is not registered, it will need to be registered. New domains can be registered in our front of site.

For more information on renewing an expired domain or soon-to-be expired domain, please refer to this article: How to Renew Your Domain.

Check if the DNS Records are Good

DNS records can be disrupted by the name server records not being appropriately listed in the DNS files which causes DNS problems. For Reseller accounts, VPS, and Dedicated Servers, it is possible that the name servers are not properly added to the DNS zone. You can check by going to an online DNS viewing tool to see if the DNS Records are configured and working properly. 

For more information on how to check and manage DNS records, Kindly read the following articles:

Check if the A Records are Correct

Be sure that the A records point to the correct IP. Although this will most likely be correct if cPanel configures it automatically, there are a number of reasons why this could be incorrect. This sometimes happens when you are not using our name servers or if you manually made changes to the DNS zones.

Understanding Propagation

When you make certain changes to the DNS, such as name server changes, A record changes, MX record changes, etc., it takes time for those changes to propagate or update throughout the internet worldwide. Some people will see the change instantly, and some will see the change within up to 48 hours, depending on what DNS record was changed.

Note: If the name servers have recently been changed, this means the changes need to propagate. However, always check the settings to make sure that it is set up as you expect. Just because the name servers were recently changed does not mean they were changed correctly.

What is Propagation, and Why Does it Take So Long?

Propagation takes so long because of the computer cache; it remembers the old setting for a period of time. What is happening is that your computer, as well as the servers on the internet, only check for DNS changes every so often. They typically do not check to see if the settings have changed every time you make a request. They assume the DNS is the same as the last time they checked.

For name server changes, your computer and the servers on the internet will cache this information for up to 48 hours. For other changes, such as A records, MX records, CNAME records, etc., it will remember the old settings for up to 4 to 8 hours before checking to see if the settings have changed.

Can I See My Site Before it Propagates?

You can see your site sooner by modifying your host file. By modifying your hosts' file on your local computer, you can have your computer ignore your domain's DNS and instruct it specifically on which server to load data from.

For more information on how to modify your hosts' file, please refer to this article: How to Change your Hosts File.

Propagation Alternative Strategies

For users who wish to view their site before the propagation period ends, the following options listed below are available as feasible workaround options so that the site can be viewed regardless of propagation status.

Flush DNS

If you cannot see your site after changing the name servers due to propagation, it may be because your computer is remembering the old name server settings. You may be able to see your site sooner by flushing the DNS on your computer, assuming your internet service provider is not also caching the DNS.

If flushing the DNS does not work, then either the name servers have not been updated, or your internet service provider (ISP) is caching the DNS. If your ISP is caching the DNS, you will have to wait until propagation finishes to view your site via your domain name. This can take up to 48 hours.

Modifying the Hosts File

If the options above do not work, there is a more technical way to see your site sooner by temporarily changing your hosts' files on your computer. This will force your computer to go to our server's IP address for the most recent information. This does not actually fix the DNS; instead, it lets you see the site with your domain name, regardless of what the DNS says.

Additional Information

⚠️What will happen to the DNS when my hosting service is canceled/expired?
All DNS records will be deleted. You can not get them back (there is no backup). Sometimes the records can still be found on DNS Trails, but this is not guaranteed. Thus, it is crucial to always keep a copy of your DNS records.

 

Summary

Don't let common DNS issue get in the way of your website's success. Mastering DNS troubleshooting ensures your website remains accessible and performs well. Verify your name servers, ensure your domain is active, and set your DNS records accurately.

Remember, DNS changes take time to propagate across the internet. For instant results, consider modifying your hosts file. These straightforward strategies equip you with the tools to navigate DNS issues effectively.

If you need further assistance, feel free to contact us via Chat or Phone:

  • Chat Support - While on our website, you should see a CHAT bubble in the bottom right-hand corner of the page. Click anywhere on the bubble to begin a chat session.
  • Phone Support -
    • US: 888-401-4678
    • International: +1 801-765-9400

You may also refer to our Knowledge Base articles to help answer common questions and guide you through various setup, configuration, and troubleshooting steps.

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