What is DNS propagation?

This article will explain what DNS propagation is and what factors will affect it.

What is DNS propagation?

DNS propagation refers to the process that takes place when you update the Domain Name System (DNS) records for your domain. After changing your DNS records, Internet Service Providers (such as BT, Virgin Media and Sky Broadband) will update their caches with the new information so that your changes take effect and are spread across the internet.

During this propagation time, some users will see your changes before others do. This is perfectly natural and simply means that your changes will soon be applied.

How long does DNS propagation take?

This process can take up to 48, or even 72, hours to complete, depending on your ISP, Time to Live (TTL) settings and location.

For instance, setting your TTL to a low value of 300 seconds will help speed up your DNS propagation. This, however, will need to be done at least 24 hours prior to the update and should be changed back to its original value once the process is complete.

How can I skip DNS propagation?

Once you’ve changed your nameservers, you can bypass the propagation period with Google’s public DNS tools. Simply follow these instructions to get started:

Step 1 of 5

Start by changing the IP address on your server to use the details provided on Google Public DNS.

Step 2 of 5

From there, clear your web’s browser’s cache.

Step 3 of 5

Next, clear your local DNS cache by accessing Command Prompt (if using Windows) or Terminal (if using Mac).

If you’re using Command Prompt, type in ipconfig /flushdns and then press Enter on your keyboard.

If you’re using Terminal, find your operating system from the list below and enter the code that is provided:

Operating SystemCoding
MacOS Monterey and Big Sursudo dscacheutil -flushcache; sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
MacOS Catalinasudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
MacOS Mojavesudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder;say DNS cache has been flushed
MacOS Sierra and High Sierrasudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder;say DNS cache has been flushed
OS X El Capitansudo dscacheutil -flushcache;sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder;echo flushed
OS X Yosemitesudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
OS X Mavericks, Mountain Lion, and Lionsudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

Once done, press Enter on your keyboard.

Step 4 of 5

After entering this code, you should receive a confirmation message.

Step 5 of 5

Use the Google Flush Cache tool to clear your domain name’s NS and A records.

How can I check if DNS propagation has completed?

There are several free websites you can use to check whether your DNS propagation has completed. Here are some popular options: