DNS Name Server Change
What happens to your Email and Website after your Name Servers have been updated?
(Please note – This article describes the process AFTER both: your website has been copied across to your new hosting provider, and your email accounts have been created on your new host’s service. Please don’t update Nameservers before your website and email accounts are in place with your new host)
Once your Name Servers have been updated (often referred to as DNS and more accurately referred to as DNS servers) you can expect the following to happen with your website and email.
If you do a ‘Whois query’ for your domain name after you update your DNS servers you will notice it reflects the change almost immediately (from a registrar perspective), however the change duration will reflect differently for everyone. This sounds like a contradiction, but it’s dependent on each individual’s internet connection and how often their internet provider updates their cache. This determines how long it takes for them to see the change. It can take anything from a few minutes or a number of hours up to 48 hours to reflect correctly for everybody around the world.*
Nothing should noticeably happen to your website.
As long as, both your ‘current hosting service’ and your ‘new hosting service’ are active (it is important to keep your old service active for at least 48 hours after the change).
In other words, you will experience downtime if you cancel your “old” hosting service before the transfer has fully completed to the new one.
And obviously you would need to copy your site (and database) across to the new location first…so the domain has somewhere to point to!
Technically what will happen during the Name Server change is, your visitors will either be directed to the “old” location or the “new” location. They won’t necessarily know if it is the new or old location (just by looking at the site), but that doesn’t matter, as your website will remain available to everyone. This should take a maximum of 48 hours to fully propagate to the new location. It will be safe to cancel the old hosting 2 or 3 days AFTER you change the Nameservers.
Same thing for email, your Incoming Mail may end up at the new location or old location for a period of up to 48 hours, so it’s important to know that you should be checking both for a short period of time.
Please note: The email addresses need to exist with the new host first, otherwise when they are told by the new Name Server details to go to the new location, they won’t have anywhere to go. So even though they exist at your old host, they need to be created again at the new host!
Here are some recommendations and a foolproof method of what to do before and after the DNS server changes occur:
Step 1: Copy your website files and database across.
Step 2: Create all your existing email accounts at your new hosting provider. You can either use new passwords or the same passwords as you were using with your old host.
Step 3: Ping mail.yourdomainname.com.au (please enter your domain here instead, this is just an example). Either a “Ping” or “WHOIS lookup” (in Google) will get your current mail server’s IP address. Make a note of this number.
Step 4: Make a note of your NEW mail server IP address too. This is the server IP address of your new host and is usually provided to you in an email when you signup.
Step 5: Update your Nameservers (or DNS) at about 4 or 5pm (or, if you can, a weekend is even better), by morning it should all be changed and reflecting correctly for everyone (although it can take as long as 48 hours in a worst case scenario).
(Please Note: You can make changes to your domain name details as well as manage your Nameservers for your domain all under the “My Domains” section through your single My Account login on our site)
If you only use webmail to check email, then it is best to use the old host’s IP address (the one you pinged above) instead of the domain name to check your webmail. And then use the new host’s IP address instead of your domain to check your new account. Checking both old and new accounts using their IP addresses is only necessary for about 48 hours after the Nameserver change. After this period you can then go back to just accessing your webmail using your domain name (which will then be accessing your mail at the new location).
An ideal scenario is if you use an Email Program like Outlook, MacMail, Thunderbird, etc.
The best way to go about it in this case is to keep your current settings as they are, except for one small change…you can change the Incoming Mail Server to the IP address that you got from pinging your old mail server, as explained above. This will ensure you only access the old host.
Then, you can add another account in your email program with the new email account details from the new host, and in this new account you can use the new server’s IP address as the Incoming Server. To ensure you only access your mail at the new host.
This means you will have 2 of the same email accounts setup in your Mail Program, meaning it will check both the old and new location during the Nameserver changeover.
After 2 or 3 days, you can edit the “new” account’s Incoming Server from the IP address to mail.yourdomainname.com.au as the Incoming Mail Server. You can then delete the old account completely.
* By the way, Domain Transfers are different, they can take up to 48 hours for .au domains and up to 5 days for global TLD (or .com, .net, etc.) domains. The Name Servers aren’t changed, it is just the actual Registrar that changes. Everything else remains the same until you decide to update the Name Servers.