Why Do I Not Always See the Most Up To Date Version of my Website?

Why Do I Not Always See the Most Up To Date Version of my Website? Archive

When we update a website for our clients, we are often asked why one person can’t see the updated version of the site, while their friend can. I find it hard to answer this question without getting too technical so I am going to try hard to explain it without you glazing over!

Ok, so bear with me. Every domain has a domain name server (or DNS). When you type in a web address (e.g. www.urbanelement.com), your computer associates this with an IP address which it then looks up (kind of like a name and phone number stored in your address book).

This is obviously on a much larger scale, and so in order to find the IP address of the site, each website domain has its own authoritative, primary server. In order to find the server that the website is hosted on, one server will ask another until it finds the right one (there is an amount of logic to it, e.g. by a site being a .co.uk domain, a server will be sent down a certain route).

However, each server can cache data from other servers higher up the chain, meaning that if it has recently found the server that you are looking for, it will already have the data stored. It stores a copy of the site files for an amount of time (this is set by the servers A Record and could be an hour or days) and serves this to you. Depending on when this copy was taken, this may be minutes old or hours old, and so if changes have been made to the site in this time, you may not be viewing the most up to date version of the site. Therefore, depending on which server you reach first, you may be viewing a different version of the website than your friend next door.

Jon Ellard
- Director

A results driven, self-motivated and resourceful director with a proven ability to develop and strengthen client relationships. With 14 years marketing experience Jon’s main focus is to ensure clients receive return on investment from their online investment. Jon has excellent people skills and possesses the valuable ability to explain technically-complex subjects and make them comprehensible.


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