Changed domain name-servers. 4 days later seeing old site. How do I fix?
January 19, 2014 10:41 PM   Subscribe

Updated a clients domain name-servers to new ones. Seeing the new site everywhere (EX: random starbucks, my house, on my phone). At the office, it's still showing the old site on every computer. I tried a DNS flush. Didn't work. How do I proceed from here?
posted by audio to Technology (8 answers total)
have you confirmed the new servers have the correct new zone files loaded? it would help if you could tell us the domain, the old and new DNS servers, and what address(es) you expect the new name servers to be serving.
posted by russm at 11:08 PM on January 19, 2014

The old site wasn't hard-coded into the hosts file, was it?
posted by jsturgill at 12:29 AM on January 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Alternatively to jsturgill's suggestion, there might be a local DNS server at the office with a custom zonefile?
posted by pharm at 12:35 AM on January 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Most likely you didn't reduce the TTL on your zone before the transfer, meaning that it will be cached, probably for five days.

You can't run a dns flush on every computer in the world. You won't want to hear the answer, but here it is: just wait.
posted by devnull at 12:57 AM on January 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yes, it very much depends on the old TTL. The TTL is used by intermediate servers to cache the DNS record, which means you can clear *your* DNS all you want, but if the intermediate servers are also caching the record, they aren't going to look for more data until the TTL has expired.

Most people seem to set up their TTL to something huge, like 5 days, to save on traffic costs to their domain's server. Sites with an uptime requirement set it to their maximum allowable downtime., for example, uses 300 seconds since they aim for a maximum of 300 seconds of downtime.
posted by jrockway at 1:11 AM on January 20, 2014

From personal experience, if you change the nameservers of record, as opposed to updating the zonefile on an existing server, the changes should kick in relatively quickly regardless of the TTL.

Again, from personal experience, I've seen this exact thing happen when the office has a Microsoft Exchange / Small Business server that also provides internal DNS tied to the primary domain name and has somehow decided to cache the old zonefile forever, or has its own custom zonefile, or has the A record for the website hard coded, or has the nameservers of record hard coded.

I'm going with pharm's answer: the office DNS is the problem, and whoever's in charge of office IT needs to fix it.
posted by holgate at 5:01 AM on January 20, 2014

Do an nslookup from one of the computers exhibiting the problem.

It'll report the server from which it is retrieving this answer. If the answer it retrieves is the correct answer, then you probably have an entry in the hosts file.

If the answer is incorrect then you have an internal DNS server that needs to be updated.

Very frequently, Microsoft shops are set up with internal Active Directories with a zone file for which is not the authority. They override the public zone file for that's published on the internet.

You can correct the main A record for to reflect the public-facing address. Note that if you have any subdomains or other records in your real public zone (like or MX records) you'll need to always manually keep those in sync.*

*There are ways to sync AD with other DNS servers. Do not attempt.
posted by odinsdream at 5:10 AM on January 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Please update us on the mystery! Particularly if it turned out to be not one of these answers.
posted by jsturgill at 7:51 AM on January 21, 2014

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