DNS propagation – Get familiar with the process

DNS propagation – What is it?

DNS propagation is a complex process involving the update and spread of new modified information across the network of servers. Whenever you make a change in your DNS, for instance, create a new DNS record or edit an existing one, it is going to be saved in the authoritative DNS name server. 

However, the network contains numerous DNS servers, such as the recursive ones, which are spread in different geographical places all over the world. Therefore, each server on the network has to receive the updated changes to function correctly in the process of DNS resolution. 

The time required for distributing the changes to all of the different recursive servers is the DNS propagation.

How does it work?

DNS changes and modifications are needed in various situations. For example, you may want to migrate to a different hosting provider or renovate your website, or maybe you want to add a brand new service (email, FTP). These are just some of the various actions that would demand making adjustments, adding, and removing DNS data (DNS records).

Your DNS administrator or yourself is going to complete these tasks straight to the authoritative DNS server. Then when everything is set up there, the process of updating and spreading through the network has to begin. Each DNS server on the globe has to obtain a duplicate of the new DNS information.

That is why it should not shock you if some of your users receive the new version of your website and others who are located in a separate country get the previous version. However, as we mentioned, DNS propagation is a process, and it needs time to propagate completely to all of the DNS servers.

What affects longer DNS propagation?

DNS propagation could take a long period of time. So, that depends on several factors:

  • The TTL values of the DNS records. The various DNS data has limited time established, determining how long servers should store the DNS records. So, the servers are not going to seek the DNS data until the TTL expires.
  • The TTL values from ISP’s servers. Internet service providers (ISP) configure their DNS in their own way. Typically, their TTL values are higher to optimize the usage of the resources and store the DNS records of the domains for faster response to DNS queries. For that reason, their TTLs should expire, and then your new DNS modifications are going to propagate. 
  • The devices’ DNS cache. The computers of your users also have a DNS cache, which stores the DNS records of the domains they visit. So, until the TTL expires, some users could receive the older version of your website. They could delete their DNS cache or wait for the TTL to expire to reach the updated version of your website.
  • DNS changes in the highest hierarchy level. You probably know that the DNS servers have a hierarchical structure. For that reason, when changes are completed on the root servers, the DNS propagation is going to take more time. At that level, the TTL values are usually higher.

What is web hosting and do I need it?

So, you are eager to start your online business, that is great! One of the first things that everybody will tell you is that you need good web hosting. But what is it and why do you need it? Don’t worry, here you will learn everything you need to know.

​What is web hosting?

A web hosting is a service that provides storage for all resources of a website and also all the required server software – programming language, databases, email server, and more, and makes the website available on the Internet.

You can create a web server yourself and host your own site, but you need to make this server available online and keep it running all the time. That is not an easy task, so most people prefer somebody else to do it. So they go for a web hosting provider.

There you choose the resources you want, and the provider takes care of the whole infrastructure – the servers, internet electricity, software, etc.

The types of web hosting that you will probably face are:

  • Shared hosting. You share the same server with more people
  • VPS (Virtual private server). You share a server, but your site is isolated, and you have dedicated resources)
  • Dedicated web hosting. You have the whole server for yourself.

​Web hosting explained for beginners.

Your website (e-commerce site, blog, product portfolio, etc.) needs a place to “live”. The web hosting is like a long-term rental estate. You pay once per year or monthly, and you get a package with certain limitations.

The limitations are usually:

  • Storage space – how much space can all of your files be?
  • Bandwidth – how much traffic can you and your users generate interacting with your website?
  • The number of sites. How many sites do you want to host? Some people host multiple at the same “house”.
  • Database count. How many databases do you need? You will need at least one for your site. It will write there the information about content and users.
  • Server specification. How powerful server, and what part of it could you use? You can use shared web hosting and share a powerful server with multiple users like you. Each one gets a defined percentage of the whole computer. Also, the RAM (operating memory) could be limited for you. Better will allow you to have more rich websites without loading problems for the users.
  • Additional features. How many email account do you need? Do you require an SSL certificate for secure communication? What other extras do you need? Of course, having good customer support is always a great plus.

​Do you need web hosting?

Yes, you do need web hosting for your site. Otherwise, it won’t be available to the public. It needs to be hosted on a web server. You can either host it yourself on a computer with an Internet connection that you have, or you can use a web hosting provider to get the service.

​Conclusion.

Now you know what web hosting is, and you also learned why you need to have it. What follows now is to take a look at the providers. Think about what traffic you expect, how much you can afford to spend, and where your clients are located. Then get the right plan for you. Remember, if you are not sure, you can always start small and later upgrade to a better plan. The other, downgrading could be harder and more expensive.