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Domain Names Forum

    
DNS Service Providers: Who do you use? Why?
Moderator's Note: This is a 1 time "off the rules" thread, Keep it factual.
Webwork

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3287511 posted 6:57 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

This thread falls within my practice to periodically create exceptions to the Domain Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com] in the interest of building an educational threads that might find their way into the Domain Forum Library.

The usual "rules of the exception" apply: Keep your post educational - which means load up on the information, the facts, your experience and insights - and please skip simplistic "voting posts". ("XZY Services rocks!")

What DNS service provider do you use? Why?

Do "free" DNS providers make coin when your use their free services? How?

Do you use a back-up DNS service provider? Why?

What should someone look for when making a decision and choice to use a DNS service provider?

Has anyone ever had a bad experience? Without naming names what happened?

Are there any know exploits or gimmicks that come attached to free DNS or even paid DNS?

[edited by: Webwork at 7:07 pm (utc) on Mar. 20, 2007]

 

bcolflesh

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3287511 posted 7:01 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

If you need Dynamic or Static for free:

[dyndns.com...]

Does a good job.

bakedjake

WebmasterWorld Administrator bakedjake us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3287511 posted 7:54 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I use dyndns for paid stuff, actually. Have never needed anything else.

Key_Master

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3287511 posted 8:05 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's recommended you use at least three nameservers for your domain, each one located in a geographically distinct area.

Without sounding like a commercial :), I have three nameservers through zoneedit.com and two more through my host (which I don't use for my important sites). I also use zoneedit's mail servers and their failover IP service. Why zoneedit? They specialize in dns services, been around forever and have a very good reputation. As far as exploits are concerned, you're more likely to find that the host provided nameservers are more vulnerable. I know zoneedit passes the dnsreport.com test with flying colors whereas the host provided nameservers fails in some very critical areas (ie, Open DNS Servers).

[edited by: Key_Master at 8:09 pm (utc) on Mar. 20, 2007]

gpmgroup

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3287511 posted 8:07 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

We have been using [ZoneEdit.com...] since 2002 without any outages.

Nameservers in the US and Europe.
Failover & load balancing
Backup mail service

The first 5 zones are free too.

[granitecanyon.com...] offers a totally free "Public" DNS service.

jtara

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3287511 posted 9:09 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

I've used zoneedit, dyndns, and dnsmadeeasy, and have been happy with all of them. I currently use dnsmadeasy.

Zoneedit is free for the first 5 domains. It's great for hobby domains or a small handful of websites.

At one time, zoneedit didn't support dynamic DNS, and so I used dyndns for my home machine. Zoneedit now supports dynamic DNS, however. dyndns is free only if you use a subdomain of one of their own domains. A reasonable solution, though, for naming a home computer.

dnsmadeeasy doesn't offer anything for free. But they are reasonably-priced (less than zoneedit for more than a handful of domains) and as far as I know, they are the only reasonably-priced DNS provider to offer IP-Anycast routing. (Note than many of the rootservers now use IP-Anycast routing. However, only a small handful of commercial DNS providers offer it.)

For a good summary of IP-Anycast technology, see the Wikipedia article:

[en.wikipedia.org...]

I think that they offer near enterprise-level service for a price that nearly any webmaster can afford.

Although they have 5 DNS server addresses they actually have something like 20 servers. The way IP-Anycast works is that there are multiple servers on the same addresss (on multiple continents), and the user gets routed to the nearest server. ultradns offers a similar service (which I have not tried) at a much higher cost. Many of the biggest names use ultradns. (I believe that ultradns was acquired by Neustar, so you may not see ultradns listed as the nameserver any more.)

If you have multiple domains, and particular if you have multiple domains pointing to the same website, look for features that make this easy to manage - such as record sets, "vanity DNS", configurable SOA records, and configurable TTL.

-----
As far as "hacks" go, the single most useful hack to learn is setting the TTL, or time-to-live. There are actually seperate TTLs for each DNS record, as well as for the SOA (the master record for each domain). When you move your web server, reduce the TTL, in advance, to a small value (say, 5 minutes). Wait for the old TTL to time-out, then make the switch. The down-time and/or ambiguous period (i.e. where some users may be directed to the old server, and some to the new one) can be reduced to a very small time period, instead of having 24 hours or more of chaos. Once the switch is done, you can set the TTL back up.

[edited by: jtara at 9:22 pm (utc) on Mar. 20, 2007]

bcolflesh

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3287511 posted 9:14 pm on Mar 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

When you move your web server, reduce the TTL, in advance, to a small value (say, 5 minutes). Wait for the old TTL to time-out, then make the switch. The down-time and/or ambiguous period (i.e. where some users may be directed to the old server, and some to the new one) can be reduced to a very small time period, instead of having 24 hours or more of chaos. Once the switch is done, you can set the TTL back up.

Good idea - thanks for posting that.

PowerUp

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3287511 posted 3:09 am on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

This thread falls within my practice to periodically create exceptions to the Domain Forum Charter in the interest of building an educational threads that might find their way into the Domain Forum Library.

Yes, please educate me. I still don't understand how a dns service provider works.

Currently this is my setup.
I registered my domain with ABC.com
I signed up for hosting with ABC.com as well. I know this is not advisable so I'm planning to switch to another web host when the current hosting expires.
I login to ABC.com, to my account, and set the nameservers to point to my host (I'm just guessing this is how it works).
I also login to my hosting account to associate it with my domain name.
My website works.

How does the DNS service provider come into the picture? and at which stage?

[edited by: PowerUp at 3:11 am (utc) on Mar. 21, 2007]

cshel

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3287511 posted 9:23 am on Mar 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, please educate me. I still don't understand how a dns service provider works.

Currently this is my setup.
I registered my domain with ABC.com
I signed up for hosting with ABC.com as well. I know this is not advisable so I'm planning to switch to another web host when the current hosting expires.
I login to ABC.com, to my account, and set the nameservers to point to my host (I'm just guessing this is how it works).
I also login to my hosting account to associate it with my domain name.
My website works.

How does the DNS service provider come into the picture? and at which stage?

A domain name doesn't resolve to any actual IP address unless there is a nameserver (providing Domain Name Service) someplace that knows the real IP address that the domain name should resolve to.

This is how I used to explain things back in the day when I ran an ISP...

========
Your computer wants to go to a website.

Your computer sends a request to its nameserver and says "Hey, connect me to ABC.com wouldja?"

Your nameserver checks it's records and says, "I don't know how to get to ABC.com. Hold on a sec, I'll ask someone else."

Your nameserver then checks the central registry for information about ABC.com.

The central registry says, "If you want to know exactly how to get to ABC.com, you need to go ask dns1.XYZ.com, because according to my records dns1.XYZ.com and dns2.XYZ.com should both know this stuff."

Your nameserver says thanks and checks in with dns1.XYZ.com, who says, "Oh yeah, I know ABC.com. You need to go to 111.222.333.444. Have a nice day!"

Your nameserver then gets back to your computer and says, "Found it. I'll connect you now."

(this entire conversation happens in less than seconds)
=========

The registrar (the company with whom you registered your domain name) and the actual registry (the master list of domains and the people who've registered them) don't keep track of the IP addresses of website hosts/servers... they keep track of (generally) 1 to 4 authoritative nameservers for each domain.

A DNS provider runs nameservers (which provide dns) that DO keep track of IP addresses for various domains and will be provide the IP addresses of the domains for which it is responsible to anyone who asks.

Providing DNS is an add-on service that many registrars elect to offer to make life less complicated for their customers, but it is a completely separate service from domain registration.

Hope this helps :-)

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