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Wix & Problems With Their DNS/Domain System

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing and website development, businesses are continually striving to enhance their online presence. One such journey, involving a client’s transition from a Wix-based website to a more sophisticated platform, unveils the intricacies of domain and DNS settings—a crucial, yet often under-appreciated, aspect of website management.

The Backstory – A Simple Update to a Client Site & Domain Settings Leads to Thousands in Extra Time on Dealing With Wix’s DNS Idiosyncrasies

Our client, initially satisfied with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of Wix, found themselves in need of a more robust website. They needed something a bit more sophisticated and with our unified goals for helping them market their business more – notably better search engine rankings, the integration of AdWords, and overall business growth online necessitated a platform with greater flexibility and capability.

This post is equal parts critique of Wix, which has indeed come a long way in improving its services, but still fails in many aspects – most notable – as we’ll explain – their domain/DNS system.

The Challenge Unfolds

The transition seemed straightforward—until we encountered the domain and DNS configuration within Wix. Opting against transferring the domain to a third-party service like GoDaddy, which is our usual practice, we decided to adjust the DNS settings directly within Wix. This decision led us into a labyrinth of technical difficulties, the most prominent being the alarmingly slow DNS propagation.

DNS 101: A Quick Dive

Before delving further, let’s touch upon the basics of DNS (Domain Name System). Essentially, DNS is the internet’s way of converting human-friendly web addresses into computer-friendly IP addresses. This process involves several “hops” from the user’s browser to various servers, translating domain names into the IP addresses where websites are hosted. Although this system is fundamentally simple, the journey through these hops can introduce numerous potential points of failure.

Domain & DNS Issues With Wix

In our venture, changing the DNS settings on Wix proved to be an ordeal. The expected quick and seamless update turned into a prolonged wait, significantly hindering the website’s transition and accessibility. Despite the simplicity Wix offers for laymen setting up a website, we discovered that its DNS management system could severely impede progress in more complex scenarios.

For example – for more than a decade now it’s been basically common knowledge that DNS changes happen immediately. Sure, 20 years ago – it could take 48 hours to propagate DNS changes, and although that’s still a “best practice” its mostly anecdotal and no longer applies. In thousands of DNS changes in the last couple years alone, we haven’t had a single case (UNTIL NOW!) where DNS changes took that long. In the case of this clients site – it took greater than 48 hours (UNHEARD OF) and STILL didn’t fix the problem.

We ended up having to work with Wix’s support multiple times – where they used some custom tools on their backend (unavailable to the public or to developers). Despite this, it still didn’t solve the problems. It turns out that Wix, by default has some internal settings in terms of the way they handle subdomains (notably the “www” they like to use with each domain) that it’s unable to address. This means it’s virtually impossible to buy a domain through WIX right now – and setup an external website. So the only solution – after weeks of working with the client and WIX is transferring the domain COMPLETELY away from Wix.

Lessons Learned and the Path Forward

Our ordeal culminated in the decision to transfer the domain out of Wix and into GoDaddy, a move that, while resolving the issue, came at a significant cost. This experience serves as a cautionary tale for businesses and developers alike. It highlights the importance of understanding the intricacies of DNS management and the potential pitfalls of all-in-one web development platforms when undertaking more sophisticated web projects.

Conclusion

This journey through DNS dilemmas underscores a critical lesson: always plan for scalability and flexibility. As businesses grow, their online needs will evolve. Choosing a platform that can accommodate these changes without imposing undue technical and financial burdens is crucial. Let our story inform your decisions, helping you navigate the complex waters of website migration with greater foresight and preparedness.

Embrace the future with confidence, ensuring your digital infrastructure can adapt to your business’s evolving needs. Reach out to us for expert guidance on making your online presence not just functional, but formidable.

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