DNS: What is TTL?

TTL stands for “Time to Live” and it’s essentially a number specifying of how long your domain registrar should wait before it refreshes your record(s) and publishes any changes that have been made since it last refreshed.  This value is usually measured in seconds unless otherwise specified.

Here’s a quick conversion guide:

TTL value in seconds Converted
300 5 minutes
900 15 minutes
1800 30 minutes
3600 1 hour
43,200 12 hours
86,400 24 hours



Let’s say you want to take a new site live on JohnnyVPS, so you open your DNS editor and the records look something like this:

Domain DNS Record Type Value TTL
example.com A record Your old IP address 86400
www CNAME record example.com 86400

That TTL value tells us a few things:

  • It might be up to 24 hours (86,400 seconds) before your records are checked again, depending on when your registrar last refreshed these records.
  • If you were to make changes now, it could be up to 24 hours before you see these changes go live.
  • Even if you edit the TTL to a lower number, this rule about how often this record is updated itself might not get updated until the clock runs down on the old 24-hour TTL value. Some registrars will force its records to update immediately when you make changes but to be on the safe side, assume that your records won’t change until the old TTL has expired.

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