What is website propagation (also known as DNS propagation)
Propagation can be described in very simple terms as the difference in time between when you edit your domain name, whether that's buying it brand new or making changes such as moving host, and when you actually see it live.
Why do different people see my website at different times?
Many times we are asked by our clients "I can't see my website but my empoyee, brother, friend can see it". That's quite usual. The "web" is like a spider web, and we are all at different ends of the web. If you can imagine when you send something it can go down any strand to get to the other side. Sometimes a part is blocked or slower, so the information does not always take a direct route. Eventually the whole web will be able to see the new site, but at first only parts of it will see it, and at varying speeds.
What decides who can see the website first?
There are various factors in who sees the site first. Your location is the key one. And then there's the location of your domain name, and the location of your website.
Can I speed this process up?
You can reduce the TTL (time to live) of your DNS (often your domain name registrar). But usually that only helps by a very short time, for example a few second or minutes. The rest of it is down to the web, there are many bits of hardware involved and no one person owns them all. Unfortunately it's a case of sit and wait.
How long does this it take for a domain name to propagate?
A domain name can take up to 72 hours to propagate fully. Often it is quicker, and as previously stated, it doesn't happen at the same time for everyone. So you may see the website near instantly at times, whereas someone else may take a little longer. You would expect many to see it within a few hours.
But I must see it quicker!
Ok, there is one little trick. Each time you visit a site the DNS is cached. This is great because it stops unecessary requests to the server and speeds up the delivery of the website. 99% of the time that is exactly what you want. However, if you're desperate to see your site, it may not be. In that instance it may help to flush your DNS. Here's how to flush it on the main operating systems. Remember there is no guarantee this will work, but it's your only choice. Be patient, things don't normally take too long.
You can flush your local DNS cache in Windows by following these easy steps:
Open Start menu
Type cmd and press enter
In the Command Prompt type
and press Enter
Windows 8, 10:
On your keyboard, press Win+X to open the WinX Menu
Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator
Run this command
and press Enter
It is advisable to clear up your browser's cache as well.
You can flush your local DNS cache in Mac OS (up to El Capitan) from your Terminal:
- Go to Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal
- Type the following command and press Enter:
- After that type the second command and press Enter:
sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
Nowadays many Linux distributions do not utilize a local DNS resolver cache, like Windows and Mac OS X. If you do not know whether your distribution has such local DNS caching, we would recommend you to check the official website of your Linux installation.
Here is how to flush the DNS cache in Linux:
Open your Terminal.
Restart the name service cache daemon by executing this command:
sudo /etc/init.d/nscd restart
There are some cases when the nscd daemon might not be installed. In Ubuntu (and other Debian-based distros) you can install it from your Terminal by executing this command:
sudo apt-get install nscd
For any RedHad-based distributions (such as Fedora, CentOS) you can install the nscd daemon through the yum package manager:
yum install nscd