Beware of DNS Propagation


A few years ago, when I first started doing Ruby on Rails development, I was working with a client who needed a website deployed by a specific deadline. Everything appeared to be going smoothly. The website was all good and ready to go. I believe it was the day before the official launch date when we had finally got around to purchasing the domain name and pointing it to the Heroku application. This was precisely when the problems started. Apparently, DNS servers around the world need to be updated of new DNS/IP info, and this takes time to happen.

The site would flicker in and out of existence. Sometimes, we’d be able to access it, and sometimes we would get some sort of domain error. After a night of panic, and phone calls with the client and hosting company, and constant checking of online DNS propagation trackers, I assured the client that it was an issue with DNS propagation and the problems would be gone within a day. In the end, the site was launched relatively in time and everything worked out.

After that fiasco, I have always remembered to purchase domains and get something deployed early on in the process to prevent another DNS propagation delay.