All You Need To Know About DNS Propagation

HostNurse

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So you are done with your domain name and launched the website, but still have to wait at least 72 hours before your website can go live? DNS Propagation is the reason behind this delay.
Only after 72 hours, your website can be visible to everyone on the internet. This propagation is directly related with Internet Service Providers (ISP), and the time it takes cannot be reduced or controlled.

DNS propagation is an essential process for your website, without which, it can literally do nothing. So you have no other option, but to be patient and wait for completion of this procedure.

DNS

DNS is the abbreviation for Domain Name Server. When you buy any domain name from your domain registrar, it creates a master DNS record in their Domain Name Servers. And then, the registrar claims your web host's DNS server as the supreme authority of your domain.

Now, if any computer wants to visit your website, it first enters the domain registration database to find the DNS authority of your page and then go to your DNS provider's server to get the IP address of your domain name. Finally, the computer is redirected to your IP, available on your web host's servers and sees your website.

DNS Propagation

To make surfing faster for users, ISPs cache all of their DNS records and this storage part is known as ‘propagation'.

The first time you visit any website; the above explained process would be done and recorded. Cache means ISPs read and display websites from their local database ― instead of going to the internet, every time users want to visit that page. This method is same as browsers save pages on your computer to speed up browsing, but on a larger scale.

So, the propagation's goal is to boost web surfing in two ways: first, it shortens the return time of the browser that it takes in requesting and getting the answer and secondly, it lessens traffic on the web, thus, enables it to work efficiently.

Propagation Time

Thus, the reason your website, after launch, takes so much time clearly is propagation. Each ISP has an automated mechanism of updating and storing DNS records, after fixed periods. So, until the ISPs cache is not updated, it won't have your website.

Propagation time is not defined and can take a few hours to days, but 72 hours are considered a standard and no web hosting service or any other medium can mess with this process. Hence, there is no scope of rushing.

Factors Effecting DNS Propagation:

TTL Settings

TTL (time to live) is the time period for which servers cache your DNS records information. For instance, if your TTL is set to one hour, the servers will reserve your DNS information for an hour, and then return to the authoritative server for updated information of your DNS. Shorter TTL settings guarantee quick propagation speed; but increases the number of requests on your authoritative server. This results in delayed processing speed and increased burden on the website.

ISP (Internet Service Provider)

The ISP also plays a vital role in slowing down the propagation process. Your ISP stores DNS records for rapid browsing and low traffic on the web. But some ISPs overlook TTL settings and revise cache records ― every two to three days. And until ISPs do not have the information, they can't do anything.

Domain Name Registry

If you change name servers, a change request is shortly sent to the registry which publishes your new authoritative name server, to its root zone. Some registries take no time, but others set high TTL settings in at least48 to 72 hours to protect it from overuse. Ideally, name servers shouldn't be accumulated, but some ISPs do it anyway ― ultimately adding up to the propagation time.
 

HostXNow

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To add to the above; you can help speed up the migration of websites from one web host to another web host and have the process go a lot smoother by simply updating the TTL at the old web host around 72 hours in advance, so when it comes to moving sites around within say a cPanel DNS cluster you can have the websites load from the new web host within just 5 minutes when setting TTL to 300 seconds. Just need proper preparation.
 
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24x7serverman

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Nice article, well explained! :)

I would provide one more guideline as always update the DNS in non-business hours that is in mid-night to avoid the downtime of your website and other functionality during the business hours.

Because in general, the DNS used to take 4 to 6 hours for propagate over internet, if you will update the DNS during the day time when there is high traffic on your website then it will really disappoint the visitors. In mid-night web traffic is low so update the DNS during that time.

Hope this tip will help you. :)
 
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Great article on DNS propagation. When I first purchased my domain I find it difficult to understand all the technical terms but this post is very informative and finally, I get a picture of what all these and how they work. Thanks for sharing. :)
 
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