Propagation – How Long do DNS Changes Take?

When changing hosting providers and moving your website and/or email to your new host, you’ll notice that it takes a while for the change to be completed across the web. Once a DNS change is made, root nameservers and cache records will need to update their cache with the new server information, allowing your website to be viewed from its new location. The updating process is called propagation and can take 4 to 24 hours. 

This article will help you understand the propagation process, the elements that affect DNS changes, and what to expect after making a DNS change. 

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What Are DNS Records?

Domain Name System (DNS) converts human-readable domain names (e.g., example.com) into computer-readable IP addresses (e.g., 86.75.30.9) that allow your computer to find and quickly load the website you’ve entered into your browser.  Of note, servers can only read IP addresses, which serve as addresses for their respective websites. Domain names were created for human benefit, as remembering words and phrases is a lot easier than remembering a long string of numbers.  

DNS routes internet traffic to the correct locations while DNS records indicate where internet traffic should be routed. For example, an address record (A record) associates a domain with a specific IP address. When changing hosting providers, you would point your website’s A record to your new host. To successfully manage your website and email accounts, you should be familiar with the common DNS record types and the traffic they direct. 

What Is DNS Propagation?

DNS propagation is the time it takes for the DNS to refresh the cache on the network. To assist with internet usability and load time, DNS will store a copy of the website files and data in a cache, which allows you to pull up the site quickly after the first visit. Site load time is decreased as the server does not need to download the website directly from the source. It can simply pull the files it already has saved.  Each record has a Time to Live (TTL) value that specifies (in seconds) how long a particular cache is saved before the server updates the record. Once the TTL expires and the server updates the cache of the website, you’ll be able to see your website on the new server and your email should be functional.

How Long Is Propagation?

As mentioned, propagation can take 4 to 24 hours. Essentially, you’re waiting on the TTL to expire and the server cache to refresh. Once the server cache has refreshed, propagation is complete and your site will load on the new server. 

How Do I Check If Propagation Is Complete?

You can see where your domain is pointing with our domain routing tool, or you can check your SOA record. You can also ping and trace route your domain locally from your Windows/Mac command prompt to verify the IP address. If the ping and traceroute test shows your new host, then the DNS propagation process is complete.

Can I Speed Up The Propagation Process?

The short answer is no. InMotion Hosting sets the default TTL to 14400 (4 hours); however, the network that you are using to access the internet may update at a slower rate.

You can try clearing your DNS cache or ‘Flush the DNS’. However, clearing your DNS cache does not always work and you may still need to wait for propagation to finish. Also, though not recommended, you can try speeding up the propagation time by setting your TTL to a lower number. This will refresh the DNS at a quicker rate. 


Now that you understand propagation, explore our articles to learn more about domain names and moving over to InMotion Hosting!

Thoughts on “Propagation – How Long do DNS Changes Take?

  • How often can I change the DNS on my domain? I changed it yesterday to park it for free at GoDaddy and today I want to build my site on WordPress with Bluehost as my hosting platform. I’m afraid I may need to wait a few days between DNS changes, is that right? I’m thinking I don’t want to confuse the propagation sequence. Thanks in advance for your advise.

    • When a domain is newly registered, the nameservers are changed, or DNS changes are made, you can expect a propagation time up to 24 hours. This is because it takes time for the DNS to take effect across the internet. The actual time of propagation may vary in some locations based on your network setup. You can find more info on time required for propagation and how to check if your DNS is propagated here.

  • I don’t know if you’ll still take comments for this post, but I just wanted to check that I had this DNS propogation thing down. I recently purchased a domain from godaddy and published my website using their website template. It didn’t let me do anything however and they said the only way the website would work is if I purchased their WordPress package, which I eventually did. It worked for a bit before the entire website went offline and WPAdmin stopped working. They’ve said it’s because I was using WordPress and their own website creator at the same time, and that the IP address has been added again in the A record (?), so the website should be up again in 24-48 hours, taking account of DNS propagation. Is that right?

    • Sorry to hear about the problems with your WordPress site. There are many reasons why a WordPress site would stop working. If the IP address was changed and changed back, then it would require some DNS propagation time for the IP to be recognized correctly. If everything is within the US (like most of their servers), then the change should typically take hours. We typically say 4-24 hours for DNS propagation to complete.

  • I recently changed my host provider and while it was resolving the DNS information I found that there were a couple of days when my site was online for other people but I was unable to see it myself (except through proxynet). The problem eventually resolved itself this morning as the DNS server information on my internet provider’s servers was updated but it left me in frustrated confusion for several days. I was persuaded by the host provider that it was due to the “cache” on my internet provider being sent to my hub instead of the updated online information but my internet provider said “No there is no cache”. Both were clearly using a different terminology or a different understanding of the situation. As a “bear of little brain” myself, I’m just glad it was resolved without my intervention (apart from the fact that I reinstalled my system in hopes that it would solve the issue – obviously that had no effect, because the problem was server-side!).  The tech folk on the host and internet providers should perhaps have pointed me to your page here! 🙂

  • I want to install software in my hosting through cpanel.

    Should I wait untuk the DNS propagated properly?

    What I mean properly is when I ping my domain name it show Inmotion IP.

     

    I just change my domain nameserver to Inmotion.

    • As long as you can connect to your cPanel you can install software. If you are pinging the domain name and it is showing the InMotion IP, then it is pointed to that server and will show files from there.

  • If I get an error while loading a site “ERR_TOO_MANY_REDIRECTS”, does it mean that the site owner is changing the DNS or URL?

    • Hello Meet,

      The error that you’re seeing is not normally caused by a change in DNS or URL. It can be caused by different things. Try doing a search on the error message and you will see the various options to fix the error. Here’s a link to provide an example.

      If you have any further questions, please let us know.

      Kindest regards,
      Arnel C.

    • Unless you have a special setup, You will want to make your domain’s main A record (or @ record) point to the IP address you want to use (your hosting server).

    • Did the records update in the tool you used to manage your DNS and the email not appear at the new destination? Or, did neither of the above happen? Remember to check the Nameservers for the domain you are managing. It is possible that domain’s settings are being managed at a different location.

  • Hello TJ

    Its working now.. I had to add a secondary domain from my cpanel,

    Thanks to Jason K, he sorted out the issue 🙂

    Regards,

    `Syed

    • Hello Syed,

      Thank you for contacting us and letting us know. We’re happy you were able to get it working!

      Thank you,
      John-Paul

  • I recently purchased a domain “simplepsd.com”.

    I changed the nameserves but the site is still not active. Please help me with the status. Am i missing anything?

    • Hello Syed,

      Is it still not working as I am loading up a WordPress website using the Porto theme.

      Best Regards,
      TJ Edens

  • I am trying to sign in to my newly addon domain cpanel;  http://www.******.com:2082/ , it does not authenticate my name & password. I tried removing and I addon again, but still remains the same. My domain provider has said to wait for 8-12hours for the propagation. Now five hours has passed. Is the issue because of the propagation time, or do I need to redirect? Please help!

    • Hello Anuar,

      Thank you for contacting us. Yes, propagation can take up to 24 hours to propagate. Also, adding a new domain name to your account takes time to propagate.

      As long as you are pointed to the correct nameservers, it should resolve successfully.

      Thank you,
      John-Paul

  • We recently set up a mobile site and our webmaster has told us he set up the CNAME records, however when we check it  we get an error message.  It has been over 24 hours.  Here is our mobile link

    m.cwihomes.com

    Thank you for your help!

    • Hello Stefanie,

      I double checked this today, and it seems to be okay. If you have any further questions or comments, please let us know.

      Regards,
      Arnel C.

  • Am trying to move my site from one host to another but on accessing my site it redirects to an entirely different site altogether. Pls what is the reason for this.

    • Hello Kipe,

      Thanks for the question. Unfortunately, you have given us NO information about your domain name so that we could research it. If you’re moving a domain from one host to another, the name servers that were assigned to your domain are what determine WHERE you site is pulling its files from. You can use WHOIS to determine where your site is pointing to. If you’re an InMotion customer, we have an article that explains how to change your DNS.

      I hope this helps to answer your question, please let us know if you require any further assistance.

      Regards,
      Arnel C.

    • Hello Saimon,

      Sorry you’re having problems seeing the page properly. When we look, we see the store page with no problem. It may simply be a caching issue. Make sure that your browser cache is clear before reloading the page. I hope this helps to resolve your problem. Please let us know if you have any further questions or comments.

      Regards,
      Arnel C.

    • This page was linked to from the add subdomain portion of cPanel. It discusses how DNS propagation works for a newly registered domain, but does not mention if there are any differences between that and just adding a subdomain. Otherwise, very informative, thanks!

  • Hi,

     

    Is there anyway to stop the propagation beacuse i updated wrong name server.

     

    please check and clarify with me.

     

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hello siva, and thanks for the comment.

      Unfortunately there is no way to stop propagation if your updated name servers have already started spreading around the web. You could simply set your domain to the correct name server, and then that correct value would begin to propagate around the web at that point.

      However if some servers already got the update for your domain pointing at the wrong name server, they will continue to point to the incorrect server and won’t default back to the correct value until you update it and fix it.

      Please let us know if you had any further questions at all.

      – Jacob

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