Expiry dates, deadlines, waiting, appointments… sometimes can stress you. But time is a helpful tool for efficiently working, complying with processes, and reaching objectives. The TTL is a good example! Learn these best practices for setting your TTL and manage your domain better.

What is TTL?

Time-to-live is the time or the number of hops every data packet is set up for being alive. Either on a network or devices, like a recursive server’s cache memory.

When a data packet already complied with its configured number of hops or its time expires, routers will discard it. In the case of devices, it will be removed from their cache not to use it anymore.

There’s TTL also on the DNS records of your domain. Their TTL points to the time they will be alive and until when the information they hold will be valid.

Why do we need TTL?

We need TTL to control the amount of data packets that exist. For example, have you ever thought about how many data packets travel every minute across a network? Imagine a scenario without an expiry date. Even the first data packet ever sent could be around without purpose, just traveling non-stop.

Time-to-live helps optimize traffic of data packets, identifies if the data they hold are still valid, and allows to obtain information about them too. For example, you can know how long a data packet has been around, and you can track its route. This information is really valuable in a cyber world full of threats.

Best Practices for Setting Your TTL.

Time-to-live can slow down or speed up important processes of your domain. DNS propagation, for instance. Learn how to use time in your favor! Just follow the best practices for setting your TTLs.

  • To define a convenient TTL value, consider the kind of DNS record you will add or edit and how many changes it can need in time. 
  • If you want to speed your DNS resolution, set up higher TTL values on your DNS records for them to be longer saved on the cache of the DNS recursive servers.
  • If your domain demands constant modifications of the DNS records, a high time-to-live value on them can slow down your propagation process. Lowering TTL values to speed the propagation is the best practice for you.
  • TTL for DNS records that are barely changed should be higher.
  • Domains of mission-critical services like aircraft, railway, electric power grid operating, and control systems require frequent updates and DNS load balancing setups. The best time-to-live practice in these cases is definitely, to define low TTL values. 
  • When you set up the cache TTL for your domain, differentiate between dynamic and static resources. Your dynamic content, specifically what involves users’ interaction, is frequently modified by them. Think about your comments section as an example. When you do not control changes or additions of content, better don’t cache. It will be hard for you to calculate an adequate TTL that keeps that content cached and refreshed on your domain.

But if you control the content, for instance, prices on the products you sell. Since you know how frequently you change such prices (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.), you can perfectly cache and establish a convenient TTL, low or high. 

On the other hand, to cache static resources are really convenient, and the best practice is to set up high TTLs. Loading time will be faster. 

Conclusion.

TTL can be your ally or your executor. Managing time could be a challenging game. TTLs are the chance for you to master how to move time in your favor! You can become the Chronos your domain needs for running smoothly!