Last night at our West Metro Detroit WordPress meetup, we spoke about web hosting and changing hosts.
One of the side conversations was about updating domain records when you change your host.
And what you can do to make the process run quickly and smoothly.
Domain Name System
As you might know, every time you use a domain name on your computer, the DNS (Domain Name System) records are stored in cache.
Whether it’s cache in your browser, operating system, Internet service provider, or the DNS servers.
The records are stored in cache for performance improvements.
When you update your domain records, for example, when you move your site to a new web host, you want the domain records to be updated as quickly as possible.
Which is what I recommend in my post about changing to a new web host: lower the Time to Live (TTL) for your domain when you make a domain record change.
Time to Live
When you lower the TTL, DNS servers will update their cached information for your domain name. A lower TTL means less time for the change (propagation) to take place across DNS servers around the world.
When you move (migrate) your domain from one web host to another host, you’ll want to reduce your TTL before you make the migration.
And that could mean making the TTL change (as low as a minute or five minutes) a couple days before you expect to migrate your site.
That way the DNS records will expire faster when you update the records.
One site you can use to check for domain propagation is DNS Checker.
And if you’re still seeing content from your former web host after propagation, I explain what you can do to troubleshoot.
After propagation, there’s still one step you want to take to complete the domain name changes for the new web host.
Reset TTL After Domain Name Change
After you confirm your domain changes have completed successfully, increase your TTL to something like 24 hours (86400 seconds).
You want a longer time period to avoid any security issues.
If someone gains access to your domain name credentials, it will take longer for the changes to take place.
You’ll be notified by email (or whatever communication option you chose for your domain name registration) about any changes.
You’ll have time to correct the changes or contact your domain name registrar to tell them you didn’t authorize the changes.
Resetting your TTL on your domain name after propagation is a crucial step you can take to protect your domain name. You’ll want to add it to your “moving to new web host” checklist.
What settings do you use to reset your TTL on domain name records? Share your experiences in the comments.