DNS propagation – What is it and how does it work?

DNS propagation is a crucial part of the Domain Name System. Do you want to learn more about it? If the answer is yes, you are in the right place. In this article, we will take a detailed look at what DNS propagation is and why it takes so much time. So, let’s start. 

DNS propagation – meaning

DNS propagation is a complex method that entails updating and spreading new and updated data throughout a network of servers. The authoritative DNS name server saves any changes to your DNS, such as establishing a new DNS record or changing an existing one.

On the other hand, the network contains a huge number of DNS servers, including recursive ones, spread across the globe in various geographic areas. As a result, to function correctly in the DNS resolution process, each server on the network must get the updates.

To give a brief, DNS propagation refers to the time it takes for changes to be distributed to all of the recursive servers.

What factors affect DNS propagation?

There are various factors that can influence the DNS propagation. We will look at some of them. Тhe following ones are the fundamentals:

  • Time-to-live (TTL). TTL is a handy tool for programming the amount of time DNS information stays on a system. The system will hunt for updated versions of the DNS information when the time you set expires. Administrators usually specify longer TTL values for data that doesn’t change frequently. There isn’t a hard and fast rule. It all relies on the requirements of the website or network. Consider that the greater the TTL value, the longer it will take for DNS to propagate.
  • Servers of Internet service providers (ISPs). ISPs utilize their recursive servers, which are set up to handle traffic flexibly. They could employ longer TTLs to reduce server stress and deliver a faster response to users via the cache. Those servers can cause DNS propagation delays by following their TTLs rather than yours.
  • Registrar of domain names. If you obtain a new domain name from a registrar or change the authoritative name server for your website, you must register it at the top of the DNS hierarchy. Root servers employ longer TTLs for efficiency and security reasons.

How long can DNS propagation take?

Suppose you live in Lille, France, and you recently updated the nameservers for your domain, which is hosted in LA, California.

Your request does not go straight to the hosting server when you open your domain in a web browser; it must first pass through many ISP nodes. So your computer checks the local DNS cache first then sends the request to your local Lille ISP. The proposal then travels to an upstream provider in Paris, France, before connecting to an ISP in Berlin, Germany. The request is then forwarded to the first receiving point in the United States, New York, NY, and finally to the ISP in LA, California.

Because ISPs have various cache refresh periods, several will still have the old DNS data in the system. So this process could take time – 48 hours or even maybe 72 hours. 

Most important DNS terms for easy management of your domain name


DNS propagation is a necessary activity that you will frequently encounter while managing your Domain Name System. By adjusting TTL settings, you can sway it in your favor. However, to master this, you must thoroughly understand the process.

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