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I'm a beginner when it comes to DNS. I set up an account with 123-reg and their documentation on pointing a domain to a server seems thin. So I asked my webhost who told me to transfer the domain (at a fee) which surely you don't need to do? Shouldn't I be able to keep my domain with 123-reg and simply point to the server?

As far as I can tell you change the two DNS settings @ and www (both type A) to whatever IP the server has. But this on its own doesn't seem to work. Or do these settings take a long time to take effect and I'm just not waiting long enough?


UPDATE: Its coming up sometimes now. When I refresh it there seems to be a 50/50 chance on whether it works or not. Is this common in the short term?

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re: your edit - that could happen if one of your caching servers now has the right answer and the other doesn't. –  Alnitak Dec 20 '09 at 14:26
How would I fix that? –  user29668 Dec 20 '09 at 15:02
You don't, unless you're running thoser caching servers yourself. –  Alnitak Dec 20 '09 at 16:11

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

What you've done is correct, but the old data may take some time to expire from your nearby DNS caches.

If you told us what the actual domain was we'd be able to check that Webfusion's DNS servers had actually changed the authoritative data.

(For other readers, the @ record is the one for the apex of the domain, to ensure that the bare domain name goes to the webserver even without the www. prefix).

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I see it at, which belongs to Fasthosts. –  Alnitak Dec 20 '09 at 13:50
+1 For using the term caching and not "propagation". I hate when I see the word propagation used in relation to DNS, as DNS records don't propagate, they cache. Thanks for not propagating the myth. ;) –  joeqwerty Dec 20 '09 at 15:36

DNS usually takes quite some hours to propagate through the net as DNS entries are getting cached in many places (e.g. your own computer, your router). 123-reg website tells that you have full control over the DNS, so changing the A-Record and @-Record (I guess this is their "catch-all" record) to the IP of your server should be all there is to do.

Best wishes,

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down-voted for bad guessing. –  Alnitak Dec 20 '09 at 12:37
DNS records don't propagate, they cache. Furthermore they only get cached in DNS client resolvers that have looked them up. A DNS client that has not looked up the DNS records won't have anything in it's cache and will perform a lookup and get the new information immediately. Additionally, routers don't typically perform DNS server or client functions (although I suppose it's possible but most routers are probably not configured as DNS servers, except for SOHO routers). –  joeqwerty Dec 20 '09 at 16:04
@joeqwerty - indeed most routers aren't DNS servers, but most are DNS forwarders. See my RFC5625 –  Alnitak Dec 20 '09 at 16:12
@Alnitak: You may be right, but I've yet to see a router that's been configured as a DNS forwarder or proxy, other than SOHO routers. I've never seen one implemented in an enterprise or corporate environment. –  joeqwerty Dec 20 '09 at 17:31
@joe - indeed, I misunderstood. Yes, I was talking about SOHO routers, not enterprise ones. –  Alnitak Dec 20 '09 at 18:30

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