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DNS Propagation: A Complete Guide

DNS Propagation: A Complete Guide

DNS, which stands for domain name system”.  It’s a database consisting of 13 global name server and a huge number of local servers. These match up IP addresses with corresponding Web addresses. Every time you type a URL, part of the Domain Name System makes the match and forwards your traffic. DNS propagation is a complex topic, and to fully understand it you need to know how the internet works.

What is DNS Propagation?

Propagation provides a lift to the web surfing speed by accelerating the return period used for a web browser to request a domain look-up for getting a result. This dramatically reduces the amount of web traffic giving them the ability to work faster. This kind of slow in processing is described as DNS Propagation. This process must be completed for your website to be available on the internet.

Additionally, DNS Propagation is a rather inaccurate term used to describe the process of DNS resolution. The word “propagation” implies that DNS changes spread from the DNS server to the DNS server and that you have no control over how quickly it happens. In fact, DNS servers check in with your local DNS server as needed, and the administrator of your local DNS server controls the ‘time to live’ (TTL) values for all DNS records in your domain.

DNS Propagation

Importance of DNS Propagation

DNS Settings Can Make or Break Your Search

Once a website is up and running, its IP address rarely changes. Generally, it’ll stay the same forever unless the site changes hosts. However, a domain name can change any time simply by updating DNS records. This has serious implications for search, as losing a domain will disrupt search rankings. Improper DNS settings can make a site impossible for crawlers to index.

DNS Settings Can Confuse and Frustrate Users

During the period when DNS settings are updated, some users will go to the right URL, some may see the IP address, and others could reach an error message. If you provide critical services over the Web, users won’t be able to access them until DNS propagation is finished. This can be a big problem, particularly if the data being used is especially time-sensitive.

DNS Settings Can Be Hijacked by Cybercriminals

In the worst case scenario, hackers can gain access to your site and redirect your traffic by changing name server settings associated with your hosting. Hackers do this to hijack legitimate traffic and infect users with malware. Spyware, which monitors user behaviour, and ransomware, which encrypts files and demands money for a “key,” are common threats.

Why Does The Process Take So Long?

The reason why the process takes so long for the new domain website to be accessible to everyone after its launch is that each ISP automatically updates and caches DNS records at regular intervals. Until their cache is reset, it won’t put up your launched website. However, There is no standard process to be followed, and the propagation time can be anywhere between a couple of hours to even 72 hours.

How To Check DNS Propagation

Use one of these three sites to check the status of your site’s DNS propagation.

  1. DNS Checker: The site checks propagation from 22 worldwide locations.
  2. View DNS: ViewDNS has 25 different DNS tools you can use; the propagation tool is just one part of it. Other tools include everything from Reverse MX Lookup to Traceroute.
  3. WhatsmyDNS:  The site has 21 locations around the world. So, It can check multiple records, including A, AAAA, CNAME, MX, NS, PTR, SOA, and TXT.
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