When you move your website to a new hosting, or make changes to your domain name server (DNS) records, you may hear the term “DNS propagation” mentioned.
DNS propagation is updating the global domain name system (DNS) across all servers worldwide to reflect changes you have made to your DNS records. In this blog post, we will look closer at DNS propagation, how it works, and what you can do to speed up the process.
How DNS Works
Before diving into DNS propagation, let’s first take a quick look at how DNS works. DNS is a system that translates human-readable domain names (such as www.example.com) into machine-readable IP addresses (such as 22.214.171.124). This allows your web browser to locate the web server where your website is hosted and display the content on your screen.
When you enter a domain name into your web browser, the browser sends a DNS query to a DNS resolver, which is typically provided by your internet service provider (ISP). The DNS resolver then looks up the IP address associated with the domain name in a DNS database, which contains a record of all domain names and their associated IP addresses.
Once the DNS resolver has obtained the IP address for the domain name, it sends a request to the web server associated with that IP address, asking for the website content. The web server then returns the website content to the browser, which displays it on your screen.
When you make changes to your DNS records, such as updating your DNS servers, changing your IP address, or adding new DNS records, it takes time for these changes to propagate across all DNS servers worldwide. This is known as DNS propagation.
The updated DNS records are copied to all DNS servers globally during the propagation process. This process can take up to 48 hours to complete, although it typically takes between 4 and 24 hours.
The length of time it takes for DNS propagation to complete depends on several factors, including the time it takes for the new DNS records to propagate to the authoritative DNS server for your domain, the time it takes for the new records to be cached by DNS resolvers around the world, and the time it takes for cached records to expire and be refreshed.
Why DNS Propagation is Important
DNS propagation is important because it ensures that all DNS servers globally have your domain name’s most up-to-date DNS records. Without DNS propagation, some users may be directed to your old website or old IP address, while others may be directed to your new website or new IP address, leading to inconsistent user experiences and potential security issues.
For example, if you move your website to a new hosting provider and update your DNS records, it is important that all users are directed to the new website location. If some users are still directed to the old website location, they may see outdated content or encounter broken links, which can harm your website’s reputation and user experience.