What is DNS & why does it take so long to update?

Published on December 11, 2018 by Wild Fox Creative

DNS is short for Domain Name System. It is the service which translates that domain name you type into your browser into an IP address, and tells your browser which server it needs to connect to to load the site you want to visit. Without DNS, you would need to remember individual IP addresses for every website you wanted to visit.

When the host server changes, we need to update the DNS to point to the new IP address. You can expect a propagation time up to 24 hours. This is because it takes time for the DNS to take effect across the internet. The actual time of propagation may vary in some locations based on your network setup. Most often, we experience a time frame of 1-4 hours as standard for our clients, but we always warn that this may take longer.

What is DNS propagation?

When you make a DNS change, it takes time for the changes to take effect. This is called DNS propagation. It is the time it takes for the domain DNS to refresh the cache on the network.

How long does it take to refresh my DNS cache?

The cache is cleared over a certain amount of time. We suggest waiting up to 24 hours for the DNS cache to be fully refreshed. DNS will refresh according to the “TTL” or “Time To Live“. When the DNS refreshes according to its TTL, the propagation is complete and your site will load.

How do I check if my domain DNS is propagated?

Using a tool like https://dnschecker.org you can check where your domain is pointing to.

Can I speed up the propagation process?

In short, no. The DNS settings are controlled by your ISP and they can sometimes update at different times to one another. Most often you just need to wait it out. In our experience, the time frame is usually much less than the suggested 24 hours, and usually DNS settings are updated in as little as 2-4 hours.


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