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Check DNS Propagation: How-to Guide to Domain Updates

In this article, we will understand how to check DNS propagation and what DNS propagation is. And how it is relevant to the effective operation of your website.

The Meaning of DNS Propagation

When you change your website’s DNS records, that update must travel across the internet, making its way to every server worldwide. This global journey of information is known as DNS propagation. Your website’s domain name gets translated into an IP address, which computers use to interact.

When an update to the DNS record occurs, such as modifying the IP address your domain refers to or altering your mail servers, the fresh data must propagate across the vast network of global DNS servers. This process isn’t instantaneous due to DNS’s hierarchical structure and the caching mechanisms employed by servers to reduce lookups and enhance speed.

The Role of Time To Live (TTL)

An integral part of understanding how to check DNS propagation involves the concept of Time To Live (TTL). TTL in the DNS context is a measure of time, expressed in seconds, which determines how long a server can cache a DNS record before requesting an updated version from the authoritative DNS server.

The TTL value is set during the creation of a DNS record. For instance, if we have a TTL of 3600, it translates to one hour. Within this time, the resolver can cache the DNS record before it needs to refresh the data from the authoritative server.

Balancing the TTL involves reducing the load on the authoritative servers (through longer TTL, allowing for longer caching periods) and ensuring prompt propagation of changes across the internet (requiring shorter TTL). For instance, before relocating your website to a new IP address, you might want to lower your DNS record’s TTL to ensure the change propagates fast when implemented.

How to Check DNS Propagation

When you change your DNS records and want to check DNS propagation, remember that it can take a few minutes to 48 hours, or sometimes more, for the changes to propagate fully worldwide. This timeline depends on the TTL for the DNS record, your Internet Service Provider (ISP), and the efficiency of the involved DNS servers. Consequently, you may not see the immediate impact of alterations to your DNS records.

Hot to use What’s My DNS

One such DNS Propagation Checker is “What’s My DNS.”

Please navigate to the What’s My DNS website.
In the first text box, enter your domain name.

Note: If your domain name has a “www” prefix, you can check both versions separately.
First, run the check against “yourdomain.com,” and then run the check against “www.yourdomain.com,” since each domain is treated differently.

The second box is the DNS Record type selection. The default is set to “A” record.
You can run tests against all the DNS records for your site.
But if you changed only the “A” type DNS record in your DNS hosting service, check only the “A” record.

Click [Search].

The results will show you where your new DNS records are already propagated worldwide and where not.

Note: In addition, if you want more information about DNS propagation, you can read it on this page under the checker tool.

How to Use Leaf DNS

Leaf DNS is another DNS propagation checker tool. It is simpler than What’s My DNS, shows you all the records at once, and will try to show you problems with your DNS settings.

Navigate to Leaf DNS Homepage.
Input your naked domain (yourdomain.com).
Click [Go!].
You will get results on all your records. Of course, if you changed only the “A” record, you need to check only the “A” DNS record section.


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