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What is domain propagation? How long does it take?

What is domain propagation? How long does it take?

Having a tough time understanding why your domain takes time to load when you’ve just bought or renewed it? Me too! -Not now though, I got the perfect explanation from my colleague. I hope this will shed some light for you as well.

Let’s start with acronyms you might encounter in this post.
DNS (Domain Name Systems)
IP (Internet Protocol)
ISP (Internet Service Provider)

What is DNS? Yourdmainname.com is an easy-to-remember name associated with an IP address usually in the format of example 138.128.165.250. You’d agree that it’s easier for you and your clients to remember yourdomainname.com rather than 138.128.165.250, hence we use the domain name as the unique identifier.

What is DNS propagation?
You may update your domain’s nameservers at one point due to migration to another host or change in name servers or reset DNS or after renewing an expired domain name. These are some of the instances that could trigger propagation to take place. In a simpler way, propagation is simply the period of time in which ISP nodes across the world take to update their cache with your domain information especially when new information has come up. The process could take 24- 72 hours to start working fully across the globe.

Why does it take up to 72 hours?
To propagate worldwide, DNS changes require about 72 hours. An example, If you registered a domain in Kenya and would like to access it in the USA, your request will go through several ISP nodes first before connecting to the ISP in Kenya. Each ISP node checks it’s cache for any DNS information about your domain. It’s necessary to note that different ISP’s refresh their cache in different intervals. That’s why you might renew your domain and still, load expired or register one and still, load not found. You are simply loading old DNS information from the unrefreshed cache, which takes time to fully update.

Point to note: Your web host does not have any control over propagation.

Can anyone speed up the process?
It’s often recommended that you can try clearing your DNS cache or ‘Flush the DNS’ but you should know that it doesn’t work always.
We have DNS servers within Europe and Africa that help to speed up propagation. You may notice that your domain name could take a very short time to propagate in certain regions and longer in others.

While at propagation, it’s important that I mention DNS and Browser Caching as you might come across them when we are trying to resolve domain propagation issues. Here is what you need to know.

DNS Caching: Most computers cache DNS meaning your computer could be remembering the old IP address of your domain name. Often, by this time clients have contacted our support team for further assistance on flushing DNS.

Browser Caching: This is commonly experienced by most clients but it has nothing to do with your DNS. At times, you could be viewing your old information not because DNS propagation has not completed but because your browser has cached information. We advise that you go to your browsing history and clear your cache before trying to load your domain again. This will ensure your browsers fetches new information on your domain.

With this basics, we conclude that we, as your web host, have no control over the propagation of your domain. Now that you are in the know, you might wanna keep calm next time and wait for DNS propagation!

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