Bogus or not? A message from tech support

I’m working on a website for an industrial machining company - a small but growing family-owned company in VA. They’ve had a site up for nearly four years (created by someone there using FrontPage).

This morning I log into the site via ftp, and upload all the new files I created for their new site. I dump the old site into another folder to keep things from screwing up. When I check the URL in a browser… I get a dreaded 404 message.

I do some digging, find the direct IP address assigned to the domain. That opens up just fine. So I call the host to ask what’s going on. The guy in tech support tells me that I need to contact the domain registrar and have them point the domain name at their host servers. He then says that it takes 24 to 48 hours for “changes to propagate across the web, and that the site will not be available for that time.”

So I told him the site has been in existence for four years and that his company is the domain registrar. This throws him for a loop. He puts me on hold. When he comes back he basically tells me my site is properly structured and that the problem lies at their end. Indeed, by the afternoon the site was up and running properly.

It’s that “24 hours to propagate” crap that leaves me wondering. Any other site I’ve ever worked on, the changes were visible immediately, or at least after clicking refresh.

So… was this guy feeding me a bogus sandwich with mustard, or was he on the level?