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A client website has their domain name registered at GoDaddy. This domain points to Wix.com's nameservers. I've lowered the TTL in wix to 1 hour.

However, when we go live we'll be switching the nameservers themselves (with Godaddy).

When a zone record expires for the old site (wix), does the DNS look at wix directly for an update, or will it check back with the registrar (godaddy)?

In my mind the cached A-record would expire, but nothing is telling the DNS that the nameserver has changed. The nameserver is on a higher level. I'm not sure if that is correct, though? Or maybe when the cached record expires, it checks for a new record from the registrar. That's what is confusing.

So my question is:

Is changing the TTL of a specific zone record enough to make the nameservers themselves update sooner for visitors?

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A better way to accomplish what you want might be to, if possible, match the records in both name servers then switch the name servers first. That way no matter what name server the client gets it will give the same answer.

Then when you're sure the new name servers are working you can lower the TTL there and switch the individual records.

Also, since the fqdn of the name servers will likely be different, I think the time it takes for clients to make the switch will be affected more by the time it takes the registrar (GoDaddy) to make the change with the root name servers than the TTL of the NS records themselves.

  • Making the zone records match even when they aren't currently in use is pretty clever. I feel like that should have been obvious, but I didn't think of doing that lol. I'll just update both zone records when we launch. That's a lot simpler than I expected. – Radley Sustaire Aug 6 '14 at 22:47
  • The nameserver records themselves also have TTL, so the glue records going from e.g. .com to .example.com will be a couple of NS records that have some TTL. These days, for most top-level domains, changes to any of those variables can be near-instant, even for end-users if you use a registrar that has an automated interface. The main delays will be the classic TTL delays, and the alleviating procedure is pretty much the same everywhere. – Josip Rodin Dec 10 '15 at 0:17

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