What is DNS propagation and how long does it take? What is DNS propagation a...

What is DNS propagation and how long does it take?


Our support team gets asked a lot this question:

"I would like to use your service to manage my DNS. I have pointed the nameservers to you (all 5) and I populated my DNS records about 20 hours ago and some appear to have propagated successfully while others only partially. Can you tell me if there is a problem or do I need to just wait a little longer?"

You may have a vague idea about what DNS propagation is or you do not know how it works at all. Whichever case you are in, you will be much clearer after reading this blog that will explain to you what DNS propagation is and why it takes so long to go into effect.

DNS Propagation

What is DNS propagation?

The propagation process exists because Internet Services Providers store the DNS records in their local cache to make internet browsing faster. Let's say you have set mail.yourdomain.com as your only mail exchange record. This piece of information will be stored in your ISP's caching DNS servers so that when internet users send emails to your domain name, the ISP will fetch the cached MX record for your domain name rather than querying it from the authoritative name servers and return it. How long it is stored depends on the TTL you set for the DNS record. When the TTL is reached, the local DNS server will query your authoritative name servers and fetch the new records and update the caches ones. If you decide to add one more mail server mail2.yourdomain.com with higher priority, you may notice that emails are still going to the old host or only part of the emails goes to mail2.yourdomain.com. This is normal during DNS propagation process.

How long does the propagation process take?

It can take from several hours to up to 1 day for DNS changes to populate all over the internet. This change is not only made to your domain's authoritative name servers but to millions of DNS servers all over the internet. You may wonder that if your TTL is set only to several thousand seconds, why the DNS propagation takes days. In reality, each ISP does not strictly follow the TTL that you have set up but instead has an automated process that updates and caches DNS records every few days. Until their cache is reset, the changed record will not be updated.

What can I do to speed up the process?

There is not much you can do to speed up the process. You may decrease the TTL for the DNS record, but it is not recommended since it will harm DNS stability. You can query your authoritative name servers to make sure that the changes have been made properly. Then the wise choice is to sit back, relax and wait for the changes to propagate. We offer a free network tool to check your domain's DNS propagation.

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