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Two ways to speed up DNS propagation

DNS propagation – What does it mean?

DNS propagation refers to the process of updating and distributing all of the new changes and modifications that you make in your Domain Name System (DNS) to the rest of the entire network. 

When you own an online business, or perhaps, you are administrating a network, you are aware that that requires a lot of adjustments on your DNS. For instance, sometimes, you have to create, delete, or modify a DNS record, or replace an IP address. Additionally, actions such as changing the TTL (time-to-live) values, redirecting your visitors to a precise subdomain, or adding an SSL certificate also require your intervention. That is just a small part of the various different changes that could appear regarding your DNS.

Yet, the specific type of modification doesn’t matter because everything is stored on your authoritative DNS server. On the other hand, the global network includes numerous DNS servers, such as recursive DNS servers, and they are placed in different geographical locations. Each one of them has to receive the new updated information because they have an essential role in the DNS resolution process.

How to speed up DNS propagation?

The majority of the components in the domain namespace are outside of our control, such as the ISPs and the DNS root servers. They have their own policies. Yet, there are two things you could do to speed up the DNS propagation process:

  1. Set a minimal TTL (Time-to-Live) value for the DNS records, for example, several minutes.
  • You can flush the DNS cache of major public DNS resolvers, such as Google Public DNS.

There is a chance that these simple things speed up the DNS propagation significantly. Yet, there is no guarantee or way to predict how long it is actually going to take.

Can we check it?

Of course, it is possible to check the DNS propagation. We just need to examine if the IP address is changed for the domain name. That way, we could understand if the A or AAAA records are updated.

Here are several ways you can complete this task, depending on your operating system (OS).

Linux or macOS

First, you have to open the Terminal app. Inside it, you can use one useful command that is built-in in your OS – the Dig command.

dig exampledomain.com

If you prefer, you can use the Host command too.

host exampledomain.com

Windows OS

First, you have to open the Command Prompt, which is the alternative for the Terminal app. Inside it, you can use the NSlookup command.

nslookup exampledomain.com

*Make sure to replace exampledomain.com with the actual domain name you want to check.

How to check your CNAME record?

What is a CNAME record?

The CNAME record is one of the most common DNS records, and its main purpose is to point one hostname to another. The short acronym CNAME represents with “C” – canonical and with “NAME” – hostname. With this DNS record, the administrator is able to show the actual true canonical domain name. 

In the majority of the cases, this DNS record is used for pointing multiple subdomains to the domain name. As a result, the administrator is not required to make any further adjustments for the subdomains. All of them are automatically redirected to the domain name. Thanks to this single DNS record, the management of your domain is becoming way more simple and easier for the DNS administrator. 

Some illustrations of how you can use CNAME record:

www.example.com to example.com

blog.example.com to example.com

mail.example.com to example.com

Due to the fact that CNAME works in a very specific way, it has a limitation. When you create it and add it to a particular DNS zone, you won’t be able to create any other additional DNS records. 

Structure of the CNAME record

The CNAME record has an easy-to-understand structure. It is represented in an easy text file, which contains several things:

Host: Here, you should place a hostname. More precisely, the subdomain you want to direct to the true domain name. For instance: blog.example.com

Type: Here is the type of DNS record. In our case, that is CNAME. 

Points to: Here, you should place the actual canonical domain name. You could create multiple CNAME records for all of your subdomains and point them to the canonical one.

TTL: The TTL (Time-to-live) value is a period of time. It shows for how long the DNS record will be stored in the cache memory on the recursive DNS server.

How to check your CNAME record?

If you want to check and see your CNAME records, we have several commands that are going to help you achieve this easy task.

  • The first one is the Dig command. You just have to type the following:

$ dig CNAME blog.example.com

  • The second one is the Nslookup command. You just have to write the following:

$ nslookup -type=CNAME blog.example.com

  • Lastly, you could use the Host command by simply typing the following:

$ host blog.example.com

When can you use it?

  • The most popular way to use the CNAME record is to point your standard subdomains or subdomains for services, such as FTP or email, to the primary hostname (domain name). 
  • You can use it for Content Delivery Networks (CDN). That way, you could balance the traffic efficiently. 
  • Another common way for implementing the CNAME record is when a particular company has multiple websites. The DNS administrator could create and add several CNAME records and point them just to a single hostname – the actual domain name. 
  • This DNS record is beneficial if you hold .de, .it, .eu, and more registered domains. The DNS administrator could merge them and establish a single location, such as .com.