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Running your own DNS, or is it hosted by a third party?

DIscussing the pros and cons of self-hosted DNS

4:21 pm on Jul 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi All,

This thread is an offshoot of a previous conversation about Registrars [webmasterworld.com ], that has morphed slightly into a discussion about DNS.

My initial issue was that when moving my domains from one registrar to another, my sites would go down because the Registrar was also my DNS host. After doing some reading here and elsewhere, I learned that I need to host the DNS separately so that their would be no interruption in service.

Now, I'm hosting the DNS on the same server that my sites are being served from. I don't think this is the ideal, and I was hoping that some of the more experienced webmasters here could advise. Do you use a both a registrar and a DNS host, or are they the same company? Do you host your own DNS, and has that lead to any issues over time?

Many thanks for your replies, and thanks to Webwork for redirecting me here.

10:58 pm on July 13, 2010 (gmt 0)


WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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the best practice is to have your registrar, dns and web site provide/hosted by autonomous systems/organizations to avoid single-point-of-failure situations.
ideally there would also be some autonomy among the multiple DNS you are using.
1:21 am on July 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I agree with the separation of the domain registrar and the hosting company, however I don't personally use a third-party DNS provider. I either use the hosting company DNS, or my preferred domain registrar offers DNS hosting included in the registration price. The important part is being able to change nameservers without being held hostage by the hosting company - separate domain registration alone solves this problem.

You will get better redundancy by choosing a dedicated DNS provider. I dislike the very idea of running DNS on the same server as the website (another single point of failure), and nor do I like "vanity DNS" (private nameservers).
1:56 am on July 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hosting DNS on your own server may give problems in case of a server crash or server move. Instead of just changing the IP addresses associated with your domains, you have to change the name server settings at your registrar. Propagation of new name server settings takes often much longer than propagation of new DNS records. The TTL (Time To Live) of name server records is long by default because these settings don't change often and to reduce the load on the main global server backbone.

Hosting at a specialized DNS company is the most versatile but comes at a price. The advantage you often have is redundancy with multiple DNS servers on different geographical locations and the option to use advanced DNS features like SPF records, dynamic DNS entries and automatic fail over to another server in case your main server fails.

If you don't need those special features, using the DNS system of your registrar or hosting company is the cheapest option. The main problem is being able to access those settings in case of a dispute with your registrar or hoster.
6:42 pm on July 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thanks all!

@phranque: totally agree

@encyclo, @lammert: Agreed as well; my initial question arose because I had initially set up my DNS server at the registrar, but that tanked the site when I transferred the domain to another registrar. This because the receiving registrar used the previously defined nameservers, which belonged of course to the losing registrar.
2:35 am on Aug 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

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We just had a client whose domain was registered at GoDaddy. Their site disappeared one day for no apparent reason and after some investigating we determined that there was a DNS resolution failure. We called GoDaddy and after asking questions several levels deep they finally admitted to having issues on name servers 25 and 26 (which, incidentally were the two our client was assigned).

We waited while the error was fixed (8 hours or so). Not long in the grand scheme of things but understandably, from our client's perspective, time was money.

After the situation was resolved I got curious and decided to look into these two name servers ns25.domaincontrol.com and ns26.domaincontrol.com. Interestingly enough if you tracert or ping them, they both resolve to the same IP address. So much for geographically separated name servers.

I have a couple of solutions to the name server issue.
First, I like to separate DNS from the webhost. In this case the client did just that and his uptime was still compromised. Beyond that, I like to use third party services to handle DNS. DNS Park has a good service. For under $10.00 per year you can use their DNS servers which gives you 5 name servers to utilize.

I have also deployed dedicated name servers. If you are linux savy you could deploy a couple of cloud servers, configure BIND, and be off to the races. I wrote a short primer / proof-of-concept for achieving failover name servers for reliability and uptime [blog.dephuedatadesign.com].

The bottom line is that if uptime is a high mission-critical priority, I think you need to take a close look at your DNS / Name Server configuration.