Before we can discuss about Domain Propagation, it is important for us to know about DNS first.
What is ‘DNS’?
Domain Name System (DNS) is a software program that runs on a dedicated computer known as a DNS server. DNS serves two functions which are very important and beneficial for the users.
As human being communicates with another human being using language(s), computer also communicates with another computer through a set of numbers. The numbers are known as ‘IP Address’. DNS will translate the domain names into IP addresses. Every domain name must have at least two DNS servers. If your friends type your website address in the web browser, their computer will ask for the IP address of your domain name from the DNS server and they can easily browse your website.
Besides as an online translator of domain names, DNS acts as an authority for the designated domain name. The two DNS servers will be your domain name authorities. What is authority? After your domain name provider put the entry in the DNS server, it’s technically to indicate you are visible to the world now as it will store all the information about your domain name. Anyone in the world can access your website by browsing your domain name and their computer will communicate or ask permission to browse from the two DNS servers.
The Propagation Process
After the client have bought and registered the domain, the domain name providers will point the domain name to their DNS servers. The domain propagation starts here and will take about 24-48 hours to complete before your website is visible to everyone. Propagation refers to the period of timeline all the DNS servers in the world to communicate to each and other. It is highly depending on the Internet Server Provider (ISP) who caches your DNS records and only updates them every few days (there is not any kind of standard of the cache time and it is different for all servers: it can be few hours to few days). To let this process to be completed, one has to be patience. It is crucial for the website holder as he will benefit a lot from it.
Why domain propagation and what’s the benefit after all?
In order to speed up the rate at which your customers can view the internet, each Internet Server Provider (ISP) caches their DNS records. This means that they make their own copy of the master records, and read from them locally instead of looking them up on the Internet each time someone wants view a website. This actually speeds up web surfing quite a bit, by firstly, speeding up the return time it takes for a web browser to request a domain lookup and get an answer, and secondly, reducing the amount of traffic on the web therefore giving it the ability to work faster.