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I had an issue where we needed to change the IP address for a particular domain. This domain is externally controlled but the web hosting is provided by myself. However, the external company that control the domain refuse to change the name servers, they will only set the A name to a particular IP address.

The domain was set up to point at the old IP, which worked fine initially. I changed the IP address at the same time the external company changed the IP in the A Name. There was some downtime as the change propagated, but this was expected and not an issue.

However, even after four days, some users were being redirected to the old IP address, which did not work any more. I found out this was because their browser was caching the IP address. Clearing the browser cache fixed the issue.

My questions are:

  • If the external company had changed the Name Servers, would this have been an issue?
  • Is there any benefit to using IP addresses instead of Name Servers? The external company still provide the email service, if this makes a difference.
  • In future, what would be the best way to handle this scenario?

For reference, the TTL was set at 1 hour and the max-age for the site HTTP is set to 0.

Thanks in advance :)

Edit - To clarify, this is how the domain is currently set up. The external company have set the domain name servers to their own name servers. They are then using A records to point the domain at our server's IP address. The issue came about because I needed to change the server IP, which meant they needed to update the A name. I asked if they could just change the name servers to my name servers, but they refused.

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If the external company had changed the Name Servers, would this have been an issue? - Probably. If the client browser was caching the DNS record for the website then changing the name servers (or anything else) wouldn't have changed that fact.

Is there any benefit to using IP addresses instead of Name Servers? - I don't understand what you're asking. Using what IP address and for what?

The external company still provide the email service, if this makes a difference. In future, what would be the best way to handle this scenario? - Change the DNS record or records related to the website and leave everything else alone. If you are the web developer and you're hosting the website then you should be concerned only with the DNS records that relate to the website. Leave the name servers, MX records, etc., etc. alone. There's no need to do anything with any DNS records other than those that relate to the website.

  • Thanks for the response. I've put in an edit to hopefully clarify question 2. With regards to question 1, we have never seen this issue before when changing the name servers. This is the first time we have had a domain redirected via IP and needed to change the server's IP and the first time this issue has occurred. – thebronsonite Feb 27 '17 at 21:33

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