I have a new server with a new host. I tried to change the ip at my current domain (hostgator) and couldn't do it. I contacted them to point to my new server. This was well over an hour ago and it's still on my hostgator server when it should be at the new one. So I have a couple questions.
should it take this long?
Should I have to call hostgator and ask them to change the ip to my nameserver?
I've spoke to 2 different hostgator reps and they both gave me different answers so far. I know I don't know much but it shouldn't be this hard to point to a new server should it? LOL
DNS is tricky, where you handle the whois and set the name servers for it, etc, they almost instantly add the IP to the name server. You can use nslookup to check if the ip is set IN A in the name servers set on the WHOIS of a domain.
Then after that, it just takes up to 72 hours to spread to say your ISP who might only update once a day or once an hour.
I therefor use opendns.com for a) they are .. fast, and b) they have a cache-checker tool which can show you that a host indeed points to the right IP for 10+ of their servers. A great indicator if something's been done yet or not.
Let's walk through it.
From the command line interface (cli) I did a WHOIS records request on one of my domains creations.nl,
note: if you can't use the whois command, namecheap.com let's you whois a domain (and many other sites).
At the end of the record you can see that ns1.xxlwebhosting.nl is currently handling the DNS side of things.
If you go to their zone file editor and set an IN A record on it, it should basically instantly be in at least those name servers.
From the cli you can use nslookup (unix, linux, mac, and windows) to query their name server for your domain.
Note how the server/address used is not my ISP's but the one I entered in the command prompt?
To check what MY computer thinks it is, I do a default nslookup query, without giving it a server to test. In this case this computer is using my ISP's one. Let's hope the host resolves to the same IP as set in the previous image's query outcome.
Notice how it's using the ISP's one, rather than the given host from previous shot?
And even better, the IP returned for the query of the host shows it's a match. We're good to go. Since this is my computer's default, browsing to the host should result in it querying that IP from the right host and spit out my web site.
If it is a mismatch, but the IP at the whois's set name servers is correct, it's a matter of waiting for your dns to flush, refresh, or update. Your computer might be doing this too infrequent, though it shouldn't. Your ISP might be slower on this, a in my opinion many many are as they cache a lot and refresh less than say OpenDNS or GoogleDNS.
If it's a mismatch but you want to work on your site, you can do three things:
a) wait for the DNS you're using to update, you can speed it along with a dnsflush request I guess.
b) Update your HOSTS file and set the host to that IP, tricking your computer basically to query a different IP than your ISP for example has in it's cache.
c) Use say GoogleDNS or OpenDNS.com which usually updates very fast, within minutes.
You can check manually on OpenDNS is the host points to the right IP: They update very fast, and check all their servers. If the majority has a new IP, they update all their servers to this new one asap.
OpenDNS in this example shows all the servers with the right IP, we're good to go.
Note: You might get the new IP very fast, but you can't control the ISP from your visitors.
To lower frustration with users I tend to leave the old hosting account on for 72 hours, but the board in read only mode with a notice saying that we're updating the IP and their dns hasn't updated yet.
And then point the domain to the new account, and open the forum as usual.
Instead of a 'nothing works!' they at least get the old site, until their dns updates, and the forum is fully functional again.
Another option is to keep the old account on, but point it to the MySQL server remotely that's already running on the new account. Then you could leave it open, though they won't get access to new attachments (there might be a few more potential issues due to caching)
I always use namecheap.com to manage my domains, that way the host isn't responsible beyond giving you either the dedicated IP, or telling you what name servers to set it to. Plus, if these sort of problems are possible (imagine them typing Google wrong in their system..) you can just get a new host in 5 minutes, restore your files in 5 minutes, and point the domain within 5 minutes to the new host and are back online in less than 30 minutes.