When you need to point your website to a different server, some preparation will help make the process run smoothly.
When you point a domain to a new server, it can take between 1 minute and 72 hours for the change to take effect, but with some preparation work we can reduce that time frame and ensure your change takes effect within 5 minutes.
The setting we need to adjust is called TTL and stands for Time To Live. Not all domain control panels allow you to adjust the TTL. Take a look in your DNS settings and if you can’t see this setting, ask the company who manage your domain name if you’re able to adjust this setting.
If you can’t change your TTL, you might want to consider opening a free account with Cloudflare and moving your DNS control to them.
If you can’t change your TTL and don’t want to move your DNS control to a different company, it would be worth doing a DNS Lookup, to see what the TTL is for your current DNS settings.
Whatever your current TTL is for your A Records, that’s how long it would take for a change in where your website points to take effect. For example, if your TTL says 24 hours, it will take 24 hours for your change in where your website points to take effect, which means your new website might not go live until the day after you’d planned.
With the ability to change your TTL, you should reduce it to something like 5 minutes prior to changing where your website points and would need to wait the original TTL time before making any changes to where your website points. For example, if you checked your TTL on a Monday morning and it said 24 hours, you could change it to 5 minutes. You would then need to wait until Tuesday morning before you could make a change to where your website points and expect to see that change within 5 minutes.
It’s important to change your TTL back to sensible time frame after the migration, otherwise your domains DNS will receive requests more frequently than required.