As most fans probably noticed, over the past two days the official Star Wars: The Old Republic website remained down for an extended period. As Twitter and other social media sites buzzed with speculation as to what the downtime meant, and players shared their official SWTOR forum withdrawal symptoms, I began wondering what kind of massive change could take over 24 hours for them to implement. And then a thought occurred to me: Domain name servers (DNS) can often take a full 24 hours to realize changes made to website domains.
For those not familiar with the technical intricacies of how a DNS works, basically a website's domain name (such as "SWTOR.COM" or "Darthhater.com") is associated with an IP address. The IP address represents the physical location of the web servers the website is running on. If the website moves, the DNS entries must update so that the domain name points to the new IP address. The process of getting all the DNS servers across the world to recognize the new IP address can take more than 24 hours.
So I did a ping of the SWTOR.com address yesterday when maintenance started. The IP address was 188.8.131.52, a server owned by EA in Redwood City, California. Performing that same ping today, now that maintenance has ended, shows an IP address of 184.108.40.206, a server located in Austin, Texas.
It appears as though one of the things done during yesterday's downtime was a change in the location of the physical website servers. They are now in Austin, Texas with the rest of the BioWare Austin team.