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What is DNS propagation?

DNS propagation
February 2, 2021
Author: Hamster, www.hostens.com

It is the time required to update the nameserver of a domain. The total time for this can be 1 hour to 48 hours. Only after time has passed changes on the website are noticed.

The period is called DNS propagation. During this phase, the nodes of the internet service provider add new information to the cache.

But the old server is still visible to people after the update. It happens because DNS caches have different levels.

As a result, some visitors will still see the old server while most people will see the new updated version.

Why does it take 72 hours?

It depends on the location of the visitor. So, let us imagine you live in Bari, Italy, and you are trying to visit a nameserver hosted from Phoenix, USA.

When you enter the address in the browser, it starts searching for the site. It does not go to the host server directly. At first, it will go through several internet service provider nodes.

At this point, the computer starts looking at the local DNS cache, which is still not updated. First, the request for the address goes to the local internet service provider in Bari.

Next, it will go to the upstream provider in Rome, then connecting to the ISP of Hamburg, Germany. From here, the request reaches New York, USA. Then it will reach its destination Phoenix.

In each case, the internet service provided nodes, and its number changes. At each point, the internet service provider looks for the cache and see if it can find the information in concern.

When it can’t find the data, it saves it so that the information is loaded faster than before. By doing this, it also avoids traffic.

As a result, the nameservers do not update right away. At each point, there is an information cache that contains the old data in the memory.

You can avoid getting the old data from the computer. All you need to do is clear out the cache from the computer, DNS cache, and browser. Then old information cannot load from these sources.

What are the three ways to pass DNS propagation?

DNS propagation passes mainly in three different ways.

When you did not change the nameserver, and you want to lower the propagation time, take some simple steps.

Use your domain IP address through a record on the current DNS provider. Set the time to live on 300 seconds.

Now, wait for the server to update for thirty minutes. Then change the nameserver of your domain.

At this point, the domain will update the information that is available at the moment, whereas the other parts still have the old data. Meaning, some parts of the website have new information, and the rest have old data.

So the updating process will require less time than usual. But your entire website will update eventually.

On the other hand, if you changed the nameserver already, you can use Google public DNS tools to see how the website upgrades.

For this, follow the instructions to prepare the public DNS data.

After this, clear the cache on your computer, browser, and local DNS cache. You can follow the guide to do this properly.

How can you check if DNS propagation is complete?

Three different factors decide whether DNS propagation is complete or not, they are; time to live, internet service provider, and your location.

Hence, there is no exact way to tell when the propagation is over. Some DNS checkers track the record and keep information about multiple nameservers around the world. If you check them online, you might find information about the DNS propagation of a particular site.

With the help of a DNS checker, you can find the information on DNS propagation from a randomly selected list. It contains information about websites from corners of the world for free.

By using this platform, you can find whether the DNS propagation of a website in a particular location is complete or not.

App synthetic monitor and G Suite toolbox are two popular DNS checkers on the internet.

You can also check DNS propagation from your computer. In this method, use one of the commands from your device.

  • Ping
  • Traceroute
  • nslookup

Use these commands to check the IP address of the domain. Now, if the IP address is new, it means DNS propagation is complete. If the IP address is old, it means you have to wait until the propagation is complete.

From a windows operating system, follow the steps;

Click on the start button. Enter all programs followed by accessories, find the command prompt. Right-click on this option and click run as administrator.

A new window will open, here only type commands and press enter.

  • nslookup yourdomain.com
  • ping yourdomain.com
  • tracert yourdomain.com

Here replace yourdomain.com with the actual address.

In a Mac operating system, follow the steps below;

  • Open the applications folder
  • find utilities, enter the folder
  • Look for the terminal.app, open it

Now type the commands;

  • nslookup yourdomain.com
  • ping yourdomain.com
  • traceroute-I-e yourdomain.com

As before, replace yourdomain.com with the actual domain name.


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