‘DNS Propagation’ is a term which describes the updating of information across the internet. When you change nameservers for a domain it takes between 24 – 72 hours for the changes to come into force and be reflected in every part of the world. This time period is known as ‘DNS propagation’.
In actual, it is the time for all internet service providers to update their DNS cache record globally so that they can find that the IP address has changed for your domain name.
Since DNS Propagation happens gradually from place to place, some of your users may see your website is responding from old IP while other users from different geographical locations may see your website is responding from the new server.
In this post, we will dig deep into the factors that affect DNS Propagation time and what are some of the best practice to speed up it.
Why does it take up to 72 hours?
Indeed, it is the way DNS system was developed or built in the first place. In the simplest words, it is just the way it works. Let’s understand it with an example.
For instance, you are residing in Miami, United States and you just have changed the nameserver for your domain which is hosted in Amsterdam, Netherlands. When you access your domain name in a web browser, your request does not go to your hosted server directly. It has to pass through different ISP nodes.
First of all, your computer begins it with checking your local DNS cache then the request is sent to your local Miami ISP. From where it will cross the United States, all the way over to Europe to Spain ISP and ultimately to your final ISP in Amsterdam where your domain is hosted. It is the example of the request trace. Now you know, you request has to travel through multiple ISP nodes to finally reach to your actual final ISP node.
These ISP nodes check their own cache systems to find if they have the DNS information for the requested domain name. Local Internet Server Providers caches their DNS records so that they can render webpage requests locally instead of looking them up online every time. Thus they offer a faster internet surfing experience. Unfortunately, most of the time, ISP’s cached DNS records take few days to be updated.
This is the major reason why nameservers take up to 72 hours to propagate as every ISP has individual cache refreshing intervals. Some of them might have old information in the cache memory. Fortunately, there are some practices that can help you speed up the process and see your website online.
Factors that Affect DNS Propagation-
TTL stands for ‘time to live’ value is the period of time servers preserve the information for your DNS records, it can play a major role in affecting DNS propagation time.
You may set it for each DNS record in zone file of your domain name. By setting shorter TTL time, you can rest assured that DNS cache would expire fast and stay fresh. When you choose to lower the TTL value, the cache gets expired and updated automatically.
It is a good idea to do it a few days before you change nameservers so that DNS cache could receive the fresh Time to Live value and update the older value with the fresh one.
Note- Shorter period settings for Time to Live will also grow queries count to your nameserver which may slow down your server’s processing time.
Speeding Up DNS Propagation
Flush Your Local DNS Cache-
In order to make sure, it’s not the cache of your computer that has stored the outdated information, you must purge all your cache after your domain name server has changed.
When you access a domain on your browser, its DNS information is stored in the cache. It can be local cache on your operating system (Windows, Linux, Mac, etc). The DNS cache is stored by your ISP (internet service provider).
By flushing out DNS cache, you will be able to speed up the process of propagation for your local network. Since every operating system has different way to flush DNS, you should know which command is going to work for you. A well-explained DNS flush tutorial on Hostinger can help you get the right way to flush DNS for your respective operating system.
Clear Router DNS Cache-
Some routers keep the capability to cache DNS list. Check if your router does this. If it does, you need to purge that DNS list. Log into your router and check for the option ‘DNS Settings’. Find the option for purge DNS server list and clear it.
Use Public DNS-
Most routers take and use your ISPs Primary and Secondary DNS addresses naturally. However, these servers can be quite slow to copy changes or any updation in DNS records. Therefore, propagation period takes much longer time.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of substitutes to DNS servers supplied by ISPs that can faster the refreshing of DNS record updation.
Google Public DNS is one good alternative. It is a popular DNS, which is quite easy to configure and use in a router. The best part is you need not install any other software.
In order to configure your router manually to use Public DNS, first, you need to log into it and search for option ‘DNS Address’ and then choose ‘Use These DNS Servers’.
Next, add the IP addresses and save the changes. Next, reboot your router and once the process is completed, access your website.
How to See If DNS Propagation Has Completed
The completion of DNS Propagation would depend on three factors i.e. you geographical location, Your TTL, and ISP. Nevertheless, there are few online DNS checkers tool, which you may use to track whether your DNS record information has propagated against different nameservers or not.
Some of the popular tools to check Propagation status at different location worldwide are as per below.
G Suite Toolbox
Besides these tools, there is another way you can try to look into the status of your DNS propagation. Run the one of following commands into your computer, laptop, and other devices:
- Tracer route, etc.
In this post, we attempted to make you familiar with the few best practices that speed up DNS Propagation. If you have any query, let us know in the following comment section.