HOW TO: Speed Up DNS Propagation after Changing Host

November 17, 2009 | By | 8 Replies More

Reading time: 3 – 5 minutes

One of the things that you would encounter once you changed hosting is for DNS propagation to resolve quickly in order for your website to be back online. At some point, you may want to do something to make it a little faster but there are certain factors that hinder it from occurring.

Before you can appreciate how DNS propagation works, you must first understand that DNS (stands for Domain Name Server) is something that your web hosting provider creates particularly a Master DNS record for your domain. Your domain registrar (the company where you paid to own your domain) then points to your web host’s DNS servers and once the update is completed, outside sources can view your site online the moment they find your site’s corresponding IP address via your web host as the master authority of your domain.

Web hosting environments actually set TTL (Tweaking Time-To-Live) values on their end so as not to overuse the servers from too many requests. Your local ISP (Internet Server Provider) also caches their DNS records in order for them to render webpage requests locally than looking them up online each time thus resulting for a faster web surfing experience.

This caching system however is the reason why your website doesn’t immediately show up online after any hosting transfer. Most of the time, ISP’s cached DNS records are only updated after every few days that’s why you would always have to expect that when you transfer hosting, you’ll be advised that it will take 48-72 hours before you can view your site online.

The time is takes for your ISP’s DNS server cache to update is called propagation. Once it resolves, you can already view your website online.

In my case, it didn’t actually take an entire day before I was able to see my site back online not even longer than 12 hours!

In case you will encounter the same scenario, here’s how you do it:

1. In windows, click Start > Run and type in cmd (a command window will open).

2. Type in ipconfig /flushdns then press Return/Enter.

If the above solution doesn’t work, you may use a frequently updating DNS service like OpenDNS, a fast and intelligent DNS service for free.

To give you a faster result than your ISP server, you can set up OpenDNS using the following servers:

Preferred DNS Server: 208.67.222.222
Alternate DNS Server: 208.67.220.220

These DNS servers can easily be setup in your computer’s TCP/IP settings or router. This step works most of the time like it did for me because this resolves website inaccessibility due to DNS propagation time lag (see XP setup screenshot below).

OpenDNS server settings in WindowsXP

OpenDNS server settings in WindowsXP

Here’s how you set it up on WindowsXP:

1. Press Start> click Control Panel> choose Network and Internet Connections> then click Network Connections> choose LAN connection, right-click then choose Properties.

2. Double click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) then fill out “Use the following DNS server addresses” with the ones taken from OpenDNS then save your settings.

For more instructions on how to set up OpenDNS on different routers and OS, visit this link.

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Category: web authoring

Comments (8)

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  1. JeePee says:

    This is nice, but it only resolves your personal viewing of the website that can now be found on another IP address. Visitors of your website from accross the world use different ISP and use different DNS services. So even though YOU change as described in this article, it does not mean that someone in a different city or country benefits from this. They will have to wait until the DNS server THEY use has updated the DNS record that points to your website.

    There is a trick to also update that faster. See:
    http://www.technologytricks.com/speed-up-dns-propagation/

  2. Mathdelane says:

    I know that before hand but at this time and age, your post is already obsolete enough to assume that most DNS caching nowadays are almost immediate. If my ISP or any other ISP caches DNS in less than 24 hrs., the possibility of viewing a website no longer takes more than 24hrs. provided that newly transferred website ‘s DNS record has finally pointed to its new DNS authority. TTL is no longer a big issue at this point because there was one time out of the four times that I’ve transferred host, DNS propagation was almost immediate.

  3. JeePee says:

    Not entirely obsolete because most answers I have found on the web still state that it takes 24 to 72 hours to refresh the DNS service cache.

    I am investigating this for a change in IP address (server move) for an online hotel reservation system, where hotel availability is automatically updated by an interface that sits in the hotel. Hence, even a 24 hour period is way to long. We need it to be much shorter, preferably immediately.

    It might be very well that there are providers that do it almost instantly, but we better be sure so we need to change the TTL value.

  4. Mathdelane says:

    If you are changing servers and this was about changing hosts, TTL change can only be requested from the previous DNS authority/host as far as I know. Online reservation systems also depend on the software they use but will only function of course when they get back online and most of the time it can’t be immediate. Even large travel agencies simply go offline in cases like you’ve mentioned. However, online reservation systems I assume should auto-update itself since there’s a software that runs it.

  5. JeePee says:

    You access the online reservation system on a web url. So if the IP address changes, the url needs to go to the new IP address in stead of the old one. That has nothing to do with the software.

  6. Mathdelane says:

    It definitely has nothing to do with the software! Heavens! Try to read your previous comments and base my previous response on what you’re ranting about.

    Resolve your DNS issues with your host because this is not the right place for pointless rants.

  7. Deborah says:

    Thank you so much. Using the open DNS allowed me to update my site, which was approaching 72 hours to propagate. I am very grateful for your tips!

  8. JohnMiller says:

    My thanks, too, for alerting me to using Open DNS which gave me an immediate site update instead of having to wait for it to come through my ISP’s cache. Brilliant!

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