Have you ever noticed something you need to fix and you think, "This will only take a few minutes ...." Well, that happened to me yesterday when attempting to update a setting related to how my domain (www.hemmans.com) forwards to where my website lives online. I made what I thought was a small change to how my domain was configured and that caused my site to appear to be down. My site is still up, but my web address is pointing to the wrong place.
A domain is a friendly name that points to where a website lives on the internet. Domain Name Servers (DNS) take the friendly name and map it to an IP Address. IP addresses look like this 220.127.116.11. However, typing an IP address in a browser address bar work just as well as typing www.google.com, but the friendly names are so much easier to remember.
Why shouldn't one change domain settings at the beginning of the week? It really depends on the site. Traffic to my site tends to be higher during the week than it does on weekends. So, it would have made more sense for me to wait until my site wasn't busy to change anything. Setting changes can take 24 to 72 hours for DNS settings to "propagate" to all the Domain Name Servers around the world. There are many name servers and they all talk to one another. So, when a web address setting changes, that name server needs to tell its neighbors, and then they tell their neighbors and so on. In short, in can take a while.
Now it's just about 24 hours after my setting change. It turns out that domain settings can adjust much faster than 72 hours, which gets back to why I thought the change would be fast. When I established my domain settings years ago, the process took less than an hour to complete (in my region). However, this time, there was a setting at my web host that needed to be tweaked — not by me — but by my website provider. After a little bit of back and forth, my site is back online.