Email Time-To-Live (TTL) Settings

I’m working on a transition from use of MS Exchange to Google Apps.

Typically, I’d like to temporarily change TTL settings to enable quicker propagation of changes during the transition.

Of course, I’d need that quicker propagation ONLY during preliminary testing and during actually switchover/transfer of email from Exchange to Google Apps.

I can’t seem to determine what the current DreamHost TTL settings are or where (or IF) I can access those for a change.

Can someone provide some direction for me?

  1. What is the effective TTL now?

  2. How can that be changed to allow quicker propagation of changes across the internet?

  3. How can that later be changed back to a more typical TTL value once quicker propagation is no longer needed?

Thanks much,


You can’t edit our TTLs but if you’re using Google Apps, there’s a great work around for you.

Set up everything on gmail. Then set your MS exchange email server to forward emails to

Flip your MX records over, and everything will be forwarded on correctly until MX catches up. This is also good because it’ll protect you for those weird servers in the middle of no where that update once a month, never you mind about your TTLs.

Thanks for the input… now a little follow-up…

First, what IS the TTL value? It’ll be helpful for me to know this whether it’s possible for me to change it or NOT…

Regarding the switchover mechanism… Actually, my PREFERENCE is to do it a bit differently than your suggestion.

Google would call my desired approach a “split delivery” approach with Google as the primary server:

  1. (Usually, I’d want to change TTL values to facilitate fast propagation of changes.)

  2. Set a “subdomain” like “” at DreamHost. This will point to the legacy Exchange servers.

[Any tips about setting up a “subdomain” on DreamHost?]

  1. In Google, (AFTER I believe the changes in step 1 have reliably propagated across the internet) establish “forwarding” rules that will forward all mail arriving at Google to the “” subdomain

  2. Switch DreamHost to send all mail to Google

  3. (Usually, after testing of this setup, I’d change TTL values back to something providing “normal” propagation timing of DreamHost records.

After propagation of the revised DreamHost info around the internet, this approach gives me user-by-user control of my switchover. Whenever I’m ready to move “john smith”, I just remove the Google forwarding rule for that person. I will NOT have to go any where else to make that change. Then I can transfer their historic email from Exchange to Google. This will provide more control of which users are switched, which is desirable. And I’d prefer to be working in Google rather than in Exchange.

It would still be useful to know the TTL value in effect with DreamHost records… I’d like to KNOW when changes like my steps 1 and 3 above will be RELIABLE and CONSISTENT across the internet.

Thanks much,


You can open a support ticket to ask about the details for TTL (I’m the WP guru, and if you’ve seen my twitter rants about how many times I’ve goofed my own TTL, you’ll know why I don’t answer that question :wink: ).

Making a subdomain is pretty easy on DreamHost. Just four simple steps, one of which is going to your panel: