What is a DNS Server?
A DNS Server is a hidden server that stores lists of domain names and their associated IP addresses. Their purpose is to make it easier for people to find the site they are looking for on the internet without having to memorize IP addresses (e.g. instead of typing in 126.96.36.199 to find Lexicom you type in “lexi.net”).
The Internet has millions of DNS servers and through a “web” of connections they all talk to each other. This communication is not instantaneous and it could take weeks for one DNS server to talk to another and get an updated DNS listing. This is why it takes approximately 48 hours before changes made to your DNS (e.g. a hosting provider switch) can be seen by the Internet as a whole (and why one person at Telus may be able to see your newly registered domain but not someone at Shaw; their DNS servers are updated at different times).
How Do I Point My Domain to My Website Space at Lexicom?
During the process of registrating your domain you will be asked to put in the address of your hosting provider’s DNS servers in the fields marked “DNS1” and “DNS2”.
Lexicom’s hosting clients add “ns1.lexi.net” and “ns2.lexi.net” to these two fields. Once the domain points to our DNS server we can then send any requests for your site to your space on the server.
You can learn more about DNS servers and get detailed information on how they work at: How Stuff Works – DNS
How Long Does it Take to Change DNS Information?
Let’s say you want to change hosting providers. To change the DNS information associated with your domain to point from your old provider to your new provider may only take a few seconds to do; however, once the change is made it can take between 48 to 72 hours for most of the DNS servers on the internet to catch up to this change.
In some cases it can take as long as a week because some smaller hosting companies who run caching proxies may only update their records once a week (the worst situation we’ve ever seen was in 2000 and it was a hosting provider in the US who only updated their records once every 6 months). This is a rare circumstance and most service providers update their records frequently.