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Is it possible to check how much time is left before a nameserver like will update its records from my nameserver?

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The OpenDNS CacheCheck tool lets you force an update before TTL. – Nic Feb 24 '12 at 5:17
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Using dig you can check the TTL of a record - like so:

; <<>> DiG 9.7.3 <<>> @
; (1 server found)
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 3937
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 2, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

;       IN  A

;; ANSWER SECTION:    1800    IN  CNAME    1800    IN  A

;; Query time: 88 msec
;; WHEN: Thu Feb 23 23:15:23 2012
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 67

Specifically, you'll want to pay attention to the values in the answer (1800 in this case)

;; ANSWER SECTION:    1800    IN  CNAME    1800    IN  A

1800 is the number of seconds until the TTL expires and the record is refreshed on the nameserver (

If you run the command a few times, you'll see the TTL number go down, so as of the time of writing this, the TTL is now like so (1659 sec)

;; ANSWER SECTION:    1659    IN  CNAME    1659    IN  A
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@Greatestswordsman Keep in mind that the server you're querying isn't necessarily at the same place in its TTL timer as every server behind; there are many anycasted nodes, and which you query depends on your location. One timer running down doesn't mean it'll immediately refresh everywhere; you need to wait for your record's full TTL time. – Shane Madden Feb 24 '12 at 5:22
A good place to see a general geographical sitrep of DNS updates is to use a site such as '' (I have no relation) – thinice Feb 24 '12 at 6:23

For Windows (natively) you can use nslookup.

C:\>nslookup -debug

Got answer:
         opcode = QUERY, id = 4, rcode = NOERROR
         header flags:  response, want recursion, recursion avail.
         questions = 1,  answers = 2,  authority records = 0,  additional = 0
    QUESTIONS:, type = A, class = IN
        canonical name =
        ttl = 1791 (29 mins 51 secs)**
        internet address =
        ttl = 1791 (29 mins 51 secs)**
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