Why do I see the Default Web Site Page?

Understanding why the defualt website page appears when navigating to a domain.

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Written by Dennis Nind

Last published at: February 8th, 2019

Seeing the default page for a recently added domain?

If so, its likely that you just hit the page too quickly! On a shared hosting environment, the nginx and apache configurations are rebuilt, and then those services are automatically restarted - all of which can take a few seconds to complete.

As such, before raising a ticket with support it would be recommended to try and clear all of your browser caches, or to try in 'Incognito' mode.

Seeing the default page when using our 'Website Preview' plugin?

If so, its one of two things...

1.) You hit the page too quickly! On a shared hosting environment, the nginx and apache configurations are rebuilt, and then those services are automatically restarted - all of which can take a few seconds to complete. As such, before raising a ticket with support it would be recommended to try and clear all of your browser caches, or to try in 'Incognito' mode.

2.) Our 'Website Preview' option will automatically generate an 'addon domain' within your cPanel account - as such, the package being used for that cPanel account needs to also have a free 'addon' domain available. If there isn't, then its likely the preview domain isn't being created succesfully.

Overview

The Default Web Site Page is a placeholder page for domains that resolve to a server using cPanel & WHM. It often appears when a visitor navigates to a domain that's not configured on the specific IP address the visitor's computer resolves the domain to. The image below shows an example of what the Default Web Site Page looks like:

The troubleshooting steps below are intended to assist hosting account owners and resellers determine the reason why the Default Web Site Page appears when navigating to a domain. Hosting account owners have access to the cPanel interface, and resellers have access to the cPanel interface plus a limited subset of functionality in the WHM interface.


Step 1. Determine which IP address the domain resolves to from your workstation.

The ping command is a simple method you can use to determine the IP address your domain resolves to from your local workstation. You can use ping on Windows (via the command prompt), MacOS (via the Terminal app), and Linux (via Terminal). Here's an example of what you will see when running the ping domain.tld command on your operating system:


Code:

ping domain.tld
PING domain.tld (1.2.3.4): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 1.2.3.4: icmp_seq=0 ttl=61 time=66.548 ms
64 bytes from 1.2.3.4: icmp_seq=1 ttl=61 time=65.201 ms
64 bytes from 1.2.3.4: icmp_seq=2 ttl=61 time=64.479 ms

In this example, "domain.tld" represents the domain name you are checking, and "1.2.3.4" represents the IP address your workstation resolves the domain name to.


Step 2. Determine which IP address is assigned to the cPanel account associated with the domain.

cPanel users can find the IP address associated with the cPanel account next to Dedicated IP Address or Shared IP Address(depending on the type of IP address assigned to the account) when accessing the Server Information page in the cPanel interface:


 


 


Reseller users can also find the IP address associated with the account under the IP Address column when accessing the List Accounts page in the Web Host Manager interface.


Step 3. Check if the IP addresses detected in the previous two steps match. 

If the IP addresses found in the previous steps match, proceed to Step 4. If the IP addresses do not match, proceed to Step 5.


Step 4. If the IP addresses match.

Try clearing the browser cache on your local machine, or try in 'Incognito' mode.

If the default website page still appears after clearing the browser cache, then it’s likely the issue relates to server configuration problem. You’ll need to contact our support team to report the issue. 


Step 5. If the IP addresses do not match.

The IP address detected in Step 2 is almost always the IP address the domain needs to resolve to from your local workstation. Here are some common reasons why the IP address your domain name resolves to from your local workstation doesn't match the IP address associated with the cPanel account it's associated with:


A. Your DNS cache is out-of-date. Try clearing the DNS cache on your local machine / network...


Clear your DNS caches

If your machine is struggling to catch up with DNS changes, then its due to the authoritative nameservers handled by your ISP (internet service provider) caching those records. Also, in some cases, it may be your router inside your network caching those results. There are two solutions for this to help your machines catch up and see those changes correctly. 

Flush your DNS caches

Overview

Your DNS cache stores the locations (IP addresses) of web servers that contain web pages which you have recently viewed. If the location of the web server changes before the entry in your DNS cache updates, you can no longer access the site. If you encounter a large number of HTML 404 error codes, you may need to clear your DNS cache. After you clear your DNS cache, your computer will query nameservers for the new DNS information.

How to clear your DNS cache

The following methods allow you to remove old and inaccurate DNS information that may result in 404 errors.

Windows® 8

To clear your DNS cache if you use Windows 8, perform the following steps:

  1. On your keyboard, press Win+X to open the WinX Menu.
  2. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator.
  3. Run the following command:
    ipconfig /flushdns
    If the command succeeds, the system returns the following message:
    Windows IP configuration successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache.

Windows® 7

To clear your DNS cache if you use Windows 7, perform the following steps:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Enter cmd in the Start menu search text box.
  3. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator.
  4. Run the following command:
    ipconfig /flushdns
    If the command succeeds, the system returns the following message:
    Windows IP configuration successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache.

Windows XP®, 2000, or Vista®

To clear your DNS cache if you use Windows XP, 2000, or Vista, perform the following steps:

  1. Click Start.
  2. On the Start menu, click Run....
    • If you do not see the Run command in Vista, enter run in the Search bar.
  3. Run the following command in the Run text box:
    ipconfig /flushdns
    If the command succeeds, the system returns the following message:
    Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache.

MacOS® 10.10.4 and above

To clear your DNS cache if you use MacOS X version 10.10.4 or above, perform the following steps:

  1. Click Applications.
  2. Click Utilities.
  3. Click Terminal.
  4. Run the following command:
    sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
    If the command succeeds, the system does not return any output.

    Warning:

    To run this command, you must know the computer's administrator account password.

MacOS 10.10.1, 10.10.2, and 10.10.3

To clear your DNS cache if you use MacOS X version 10.10 through 10.10.3, perform the following steps:

  1. Click Applications.
  2. Click Utilities.
  3. Click Terminal.
  4. Run the following command:
    sudo discoveryutil mdnsflushcache
    If the command succeeds, the system does not return any output.

    Warning:

    To run this command, you must know the computer's administrator account password.

MacOS 10.7, 10.8, and 10.9

To clear your DNS cache if you use MacOS X version 10.7, 10.8, or 10.9, perform the following steps:

  1. Click Applications.
  2. Click Utilities.
  3. Double-click Terminal.
  4. Run the following command:
    sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
    If the command succeeds, the system does not return any output.

    Warning:

    To run this command, you must know the computer's administrator account password.

MacOS 10.5 and 10.6

To clear your DNS cache if you use MacOS X version 10.5 or 10.6, perform the following steps:

  1. Click Applications.
  2. Click Utilities.
  3. Double-click Terminal.
  4. Run the following command:
    sudo dscacheutil -flushcache
    If the command succeeds, the system does not return any output.

    Warning:

    To run this command, you must know the computer's administrator account password.
     

The other option is to use the 'Google Public DNS' service, which is completely free and improves DNS lookup times drastically.



Then, repeat Step 1 to determine if the IP Address now properly reflects the IP address found in Step 2. If the IP addresses now match, navigate to the domain in a new window or tab with your web browser to see if it now loads the website's content. If the IP addresses now match, but default website page still appears, refer to Step 4 above.


B. The A Record configured for the domain points to the wrong IP address. To verify the A record is setup properly, you should first identify the DNS host for the domain. You can use a tool such as Whois.com to check which nameservers are authoritative to your domain, or you can also ask your web hosting provider for information about your DNS host.


If you determine the name servers utilized by the domain are associated with the cPanel server your account is hosted on, browse to cPanel >> Zone Editor and click the Manage button to confirm the A record for the domain uses the correct IP address. If it doesn’t, click the Edit button and replace it with the correct IP address identified in Step 2. Upon correcting the IP address, refer back to Step 1.


If you determine the name servers utilized by the domain are associated with an external DNS server (e.g. your domain registrar), refer to that DNS server's support team or documentation to verify how to manage the domain's A Record.


C. DNS records for the domain were recently updated by your hosting provider. If your hosting provider recently changed the IP address assigned to the cPanel account, and you’ve confirmed the A record is setup correctly, then it’s possible it’s simply a matter of waiting for the DNS change to propagate throughout the Internet. This can take as little as a few minutes, and as long as a few days.