What is a SOA Record?

A Start of Authority (SOA) record, sometimes called a serial number, is assigned to every domain and changes everytime its DNS settings change. For example, if example.com is pointed to InMotion Hosting nameservers, we create a SOA record for the domain in our authoritative DNS records and update it as you change DNS settings.

A common reason to check a domain SOA record is to ensure a recent DNS change has propagated. For example, the record may have changed to improve overall email authentication. A successful DNS change for this modification would be described as having “propagated.” Below we cover how to view and update your SOA record.

Here’s the breakdown of a SOA record: domain.com. ns1.inmotionhosting.com. 2018102905 86400 7200 3600000 86400.

DomainFollowed by primary nameserver.
2018102905YYYYMMDD (Year, Month, Day) date format and ## update number
86400Seconds before the zone should be refreshed (1 day)
7200Seconds before a failed refresh should be retried (2 hours)
3600000Seconds before a zone is no longer considered authoritative (5 weeks 6 days 16 hours)
86400Seconds before a resolver should assign a negative result for a subdomain before retrying(1 day)

Note: You can convert seconds to days using an online including the DuckDuckGo converter.

View Records Update Records

View Your SOA Record

Online tools such as MxToolbox and ViewDNS.info are the easiest method to view SOA records.

SSH command dig can show the same information.

 dig SOA domain.com  ;; ANSWER SECTION: domain.com. 86400 IN   SOA ns1.inmotionhosting.com. 2018102905 86400 7200 3600000 86400

Add +multiline to the command for more details.

 dig SOA +multiline domain.com  ;; ANSWER SECTION: domain.com.        86316 IN SOA ns1.inmotionhosting.com. (                 2018102905 ; serial                86400      ; refresh (1 day)                7200       ; retry (2 hours)                3600000    ; expire (5 weeks 6 days 16 hours)               86400      ; minimum (1 day)                )

Update SOA Record

Updating DNS records generally forces the SOA record to update automatically within 24-48 hours. If your SOA record hasn’t updated after a recent change, you’ll need to edit another DNS record and/or contact Live Support to update this for you.

Update SOA in WHM

VPS users can force SOA record updates in WHM as root.

  1. Log into WHM.
  2. On the left, select Edit DNS Zone.
  3. Select the domain.
  4. Under the nameserver is the current SOA record. For example:
    2018102906 Serial Number

    To update the SOA record, increase the last digit pair by one. For example,
    2018102906 to 2018102907 or
    2018102929 to 2018102930.

  5. Press Save at the bottom.
    The DNS changes should propogate within 24-48 hours.

For more information on editing DNS records, view our guides on editing DNS records in WHM and cPanel Zone Editor.

InMotion Hosting Contributor
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