What is DNS Propagation?
When a user updates their website's DNS settings or information, it is generally not an instant process.
It can take time for this information to arrive at different DNS servers worldwide, with improper preparation leading to users experiencing downtime regarding your website.
This process is otherwise referred to as DNS propagation
How long does DNS propagation take?
Generally there is no real way to predict how long DNS propagation takes. It can take anywhere from a few minutes to upwards of 70 hours.
It is important to understand that your query does not reach its destination directly, in fact it passes through many, many different ISP server nodes, before reaching its target.
Since all of these ISPs cache data to save on bandwidth, they may propagate outdated information instead of the updated information. Only when they update their cache will it further propagate.
This means it is rather difficult to predict when DNS propagation will be fully completed.
What Factors affect propagation times
DNS propagation can take quite a while, so you must be wondering if there are any ways of speeding up this process. Well to do this we have to understand what factors influence the speed of this process.
When a user on the internet requests for your website, the address is cached by their local Internet Service Provider
This allows for quicker loading times if the website has other concurrent visitors. It also reduces bandwidth used therefore your ISP will sometimes even ignore TTL and use expired information.
Domain Name Registry:
Altering your authoritative name server setting also impacts the time period as those settings also have to propagate through to TLD and root name servers.
TTL, or Time-to-live, is the time period for which data is programmed to live on the internet. The longer your TTL is for DNS settings and data, the longer it is cached in networks and the longer it propagates itself. It should be noted that some ISPs even ignore TTL, keeping expired details making the process slower.
Are there ways of speeding up DNS propagation?
As previously stated the TTL of your DNS records impacts the speed of propagation quite severely. It is generally recommended to reduce this TTL before updating any of your DNS records.It is usually advised to set this time to around 5 mins or so, any lower and most ISPs will simply ignore your TTL. This way the outdated DNS records expire quicker and the updated records propagate quickly.
Other ways DNS propagates quicker is whether you have subscribed to a higher quality internet service provider or not, with results varying between each provider and their associated business protocols.
Another method is to flush your DNS cache, since each device connected to the internet also caches DNS records for quicker loading times, users sometimes can't even access their own website. This method is completely safe to carry out and may even speed up your browsing speeds.
It should be noted that even if you perform all these steps, one should not expect instantaneous results.