We all have that moment when, we go to look at our website and instead of feeling that warm glow as our site stares back at us, our heart suddenly skips a beat as a message “Server not found” appears. This article will help you tell if your website is down, or it’s just you that can’t see it.
A number of things can cause this to happen, things such as:
- Being disconnected from the internet
- Having an incorrect Name Server on your domain (a Name Server, in laymen terms is basically how the domain points to your hosting.)
- Something as simple as a spelling mistake in the domain name
- Or having bad DNS (Domain Name Server) settings on the web server.
For most of these issues, solutions are normally very easy to fix. Making sure all cords are plugged in correctly, checking the domain name you have typed in, and seeing if you can access other sites (such as google) can usually get these problems sorted very quickly. But there is a common problem that a lot of people encounter, even once the problem has been fixed.
This problem is DNS Caching.
Caching, in relation to computers, is a method used to try and speed up response time whenever you make a request, by either storing information viewed, or the location of where the information is, to quicken the response time for the next time that information is requested. In regards to websites, DNS Caching is when a website’s location is stored in memory, so that the next time you try to view it, it will show you what it found last time.
Although this does speed up load time, this can be a big problem if the DNS on your website has been cached as it doesn’t recheck the DNS and thus it appears that your site is still down even though it is actually up!
The problem arises when someone views the webpage prior to the problem being fixed. As you have no doubt assumed by now, even once the site is ‘back up and running’, the computer sometimes will remember the result it got last time, and continues to show the “Server not found” error.
One thing to remember when this happens is that it’s usually only YOU experiencing this problem, everyone else who is visiting the site from then on will see the website as they would normally (Only people who have it cached will experience the problem).
Is it just me?
There are a variety of ways to check whether or not you’re suffering from a bad case of the ‘cache’, several of them are listed below:
This handy website tells you whether or not it’s just YOU who can’t access the site, or everyone else. Simple enter the name of the site into the box, then click ‘or just me?
This is a Proxy, a proxy (in computer terms) is basically a server that views a webpage for you, and then shows you the results. As well as protecting your IP, this allows you to look at your webpage as if you were on a different person’s internet connection. Simply enter your website into the box, and click ‘Proxify’, and then if your site is up and running then it should load as it normally would.
Clearing your Cache
Usually, your computers cache is cleared every 2 – 3 hours, but there are a few ways to speed up this process. Below is a list of steps that can be taken to try to ‘refresh’ your cache (Do this in order!):
- Reboot your modem (Modems also use DNS caching, so this will clear its memory of your site)
- Reboot your computer ( This clears both your computers DNS cache as well as the internet browsers cache)
These steps don’t always solve the problem, as your website may be cached with your ISP as well (Internet Service Provider). At this point you have basically have one option, wait a few hours for the ISP’s cache to clear.