What Is DNS Propagation?

What happens after changing your domain's DNS records

Updated over a week ago

Domain DNS zone propagation is the process of updating the information about a domain name on the internet.

When changes are made to a domain's DNS records, such as pointing your domain via nameservers or adding MX records to use email, propagation is triggered. These changes are then communicated to the network of DNS servers worldwide so that they can be updated with the latest information.

The propagation process is fully automatic and can take up to 24 hours. This is because it takes time for the changes to be passed along to all the existing DNS servers around the world.

The amount of time can also differ depending on the type of DNS record. For example, changes to NS (nameservers) or A records (which map a domain name to an IP address) may propagate in less than 24 hours, and some can be even faster. In rare cases, a certain record might take up to 72 hours to propagate.

You can use online tools such as DNS Checker to check the progress. Just insert your domain name, choose the DNS record type, and click Search:

The DNS Checker tool showing how to check the propagation for a domain's records

Here is a guide about the different types of results you may get:

  • All cross marks ❌ – the propagation has not started. This is typically the case if the record you're searching for does not exist. If the record exists on your domain's DNS zone and it has been over 24 hours, it can indicate a propagating issue

  • A combination of cross marks and check marks ✅ – the propagation is in process and should be completed in time

  • All check marks ✅ – the propagation is completed, your record is fully updated worldwide and should work correctly

In case you encounter any issues after verifying that the propagation process is completed, flush the DNS cache on your device and check again.

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