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  1. #1
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    Oct 2005
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    Managed DNS services - does it make sense?

    I run a small hosting biz (about 50-60 clients, mostly friends and non-profits with a few small businesses thrown in). I have used my own nameservers (registered at namecheap) so far and it has served me well.

    Looking to grow into a professional business and trying to differentiate myself, I am thinking of using Enterprise DNS services from dnsmadeeasy for all the domains hosted with me. Is this worth the trouble?

    I originally thought of additional nameservers using their Vanity DNS services, but the more I think, the more it seems like using dnsmadeeasy for primary dns could be a big draw with potential clients.

    What do the experienced webmasters here recommend?

    Thank you all in advance.
    Last edited by ramdak5000; 09-01-2008 at 01:26 PM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
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    Quite honestly, using your own nameservers would be the best route.

    Using a professional service would be a waste of money. If your nameservers are down, chances are your servers are down and your in deep anyways.
    Dan Sheppard ~ Freelance whatever

  3. #3
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    A professional DNS service might pay off if you have more then one server...with just one it is a waste of money IMHO ...
    cPanelConfig.com - The fastest growing cPanel configuration guide on the net

  4. #4
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    DNS is really important.

    If you don't currently feel up to becoming a dns expert then using a quality third party is a good option.

    Hopefully if you remain in the business you will become an expert eventually and you will be able to provide as good a service at less cost by doing it yourself.
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  5. #5
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    Sheps, I agree that if the server goes down, then it really doesn't matter if you have the best DNS in the world. In my case, I believe the chances of this happening is rare. I host with ServInt and haven't had any downtime in the last 18 months.

    yolau, that sounds like an interesting point to consider. Could you explain it a bit more? I have only one server at the moment.

    Luxore, I haven't had any problems with my own nameservers so far. Just looking to make it even more robust (and differentiate myself along the way). For example, if I used dnsmadeeasy.com, I would get DNS failover and global anycasting. I admit I am still in the early stages of understanding the full meaning of these things, but it sure does look a lot better than having just a couple of nameservers.

  6. #6
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    If you have DNS servers spread out between at least 2 different facilities, I think you'll be ok without it.

  7. #7
    I use my box as primary and Everydns as secondary. Everydns.net is free and have multiple servers around the globe.

    You could also use your providers's vanity servers also. It's recommended to have 2-7 dns servers.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    India
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    I would suggest you to run a DNS service too on the server you have currently hosted your domains. I don't think that it is gonna be a difficult task to get this accomplished....
    Sony Koithara ,
    CrazyAdmins.com
    -> where admins go c r @ z y!!!

  9. #9
    Some things that might swing you one way or the other.

    1. every customer who checks their dns with dnsreports or intodns will have a red mark against the line that says "must be in different class c" unless your server placement complies

    2. you get to offload the cpu cycles and bandwidth, not much, but it is real

    3. you have zero configuration problems

    4. take a look at the technical and security as well as dns forums here, note the number of people whinging about dns problems. those are support tickets you would have to answer if you do it yourself.

    5. do you have as good tutorials and control panels as dnsmadeeasy?

    6. dnsmadeeasy also has divisions called hostingmadeeasy and domainsmadeeasy, you can guess what they do for a living.

    Having a dns server is easy. Doing dns well is hard.

    Try spending all day with a client because his google apps email won't go to yahoo email and he is using MX's in his zone pointed at google servers, and the google servers have incorrect reverse dns on them. And yahoo is very paranoid about reverse dns. And sometimes, the google dns is unresponsive. But, of course it's your fault because you are the smallest chain in the link. That's after spending all day the week before because yahoo couldn't talk to google. Other direction, same players.
    Last edited by plumsauce; 09-02-2008 at 01:17 AM.
    edgedirector.com
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  10. #10
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    Jun 2003
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    Hi,

    If your going to use managed DNS I would recommend that you use it for your business domain names and just use your own servers for your client's domains.

    While it is true that server is down it your site won't work anyway if DNS still works but having both DNS and the hosting down may extend the noticeable downtime for some clients to due caching.
    Common sense is not so common.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    Some things that might swing you one way or the other.

    1. every customer who checks their dns with dnsreports or intodns will have a red mark against the line that says "must be in different class c" unless your server placement complies
    This is exactly the case now.

    When you say server placement, do you mean the servers hosting the domains? All I have is one VPS. The private nameservers I use for the domains hosted on the VPS were registered through namecheap and point to two of the four IP addresses I was provided for the VPS. The domain for which the private nameservers are registered is also hosted on the same VPS. This is my current set up.

    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    3. you have zero configuration problems
    You mean, when running the set up I described above or when using something like dnsmadeeasy.com?

    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    4. take a look at the technical and security as well as dns forums here, note the number of people whinging about dns problems. those are support tickets you would have to answer if you do it yourself.
    Again, you mean I would have more support tickets to answer when running dnsmadeeasy.com?

    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    5. do you have as good tutorials and control panels as dnsmadeeasy?
    For the foreseeable future, I am going to handle all this for my clients, so I don't think this is an issue. But, to understand this better - does having managed dns provide the ability for my clients to do it themselves? I don't see this facility with dnsmadeeasy and cPanel anyway doesn't provide this. A bit confused here.

    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    And yahoo is very paranoid about reverse dns.
    Agree. I have clients emailing me all the time about mails sent from their domains not reaching yahoo accounts. Many Indian ISPs have poorly configured Reverse DNS and Yahoo! simply drops these emails.

    Thanks to everyone else too.

  12. #12
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    The very oldest rfcs say you should have your nameservers in different places, both netwise and geographically, so that no one event will bring them all down.

    Some people say this isn't important because if your dns is down the servers probably are too, but this isn't completely true. The exception is email.

    If your server or network goes missing temporarily, taking all your nameservers with it, then anyone who tries to send mail to one of your customers will get an immediate and confusing failure message.

    Then they phone the person they are trying to email and that person phones you.

    If however your server disappears momentarily, but you still have a functioning nameserver in another location, the email will be accepted from the sender and queued on their outbound mailserver until the message can be delivered (or until the retry time-out expires).

    In my opinion that's a better thing to have happen. You don't want people phoning you every time there is a net burp or you have to reboot your server.

    So despite what practically every cpanel "host" says, there is benefit to having nameservers in different places.
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  13. #13
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    @Luxore
    Nicely put.

    I want to add a question, is there any 3rd party dns service provider which make us possible to syncronize with our cpanel server? or maybe other panel server.
    Magnet Hosting | Layanan Hosting dan Server Indonesia
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  14. #14
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by plumsauce
    Some things that might swing you one way or the other.

    1. every customer who checks their dns with dnsreports or intodns will have a red mark against the line that says "must be in different class c" unless your server placement complies

    This is exactly the case now.

    When you say server placement, do you mean the servers hosting the domains? All I have is one VPS. The private nameservers I use for the domains hosted on the VPS were registered through namecheap and point to two of the four IP addresses I was provided for the VPS. The domain for which the private nameservers are registered is also hosted on the same VPS. This is my current set up.
    No, I mean the dns server ip addresses. To pass the test, they must be in separate class c(/24) ip networks. One test even notes if they are in different ASN's.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by plumsauce
    3. you have zero configuration problems

    You mean, when running the set up I described above or when using something like dnsmadeeasy.com?
    No dns servers on your box means no dns servers to setup or maintain on your box.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by plumsauce
    4. take a look at the technical and security as well as dns forums here, note the number of people whinging about dns problems. those are support tickets you would have to answer if you do it yourself.

    Again, you mean I would have more support tickets to answer when running dnsmadeeasy.com?
    You would probably have less tickets to deal with if someone else is responsible for the dns. This is related to #3.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by plumsauce
    5. do you have as good tutorials and control panels as dnsmadeeasy?

    For the foreseeable future, I am going to handle all this for my clients, so I don't think this is an issue. But, to understand this better - does having managed dns provide the ability for my clients to do it themselves? I don't see this facility with dnsmadeeasy and cPanel anyway doesn't provide this. A bit confused here.
    Sorry, that was easydns.com that has the tutorials.

    BTW, with respect to what LUXORE says, some hosts find it advantageous to maintain their own sites away from the customer sites. That way, if the customer server goes down, they are still reachable for email and support tickets. If you maintain them on the same box, you could be blindsided by an outage.
    edgedirector.com
    managed dns global failover and load balance (gslb)
    exactstate.com
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    435
    DNS Made Easy gives you an IP anycasted DNS environment. So worldwide your DNS queries will be answered quicker.
    But in the end if you are hosting just in one location then having a redundant DNS solution does not do that much in redundancy for your own hosting. It would just be one less thing to worry about and your DNS will never go down.
    People that state that DNS Made Easy is the same as if you ran DNS on own of your own VPSs or dedicated servers just have very little knowledge on enterprise DNS architectures or what they really do.

  16. #16
    But in the end if you are hosting just in one location then having a redundant DNS solution does not do that much in redundancy for your own hosting.
    Quite right.

    However, having dnsreports give a green light in dns tests can help to present a more professional appearance both for the OP and his customers.
    edgedirector.com
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  17. #17
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    The MX issue is exactly the point. And if your support email is on the same VPS also, if something happens and your customers try to email you regarding downtime you do not want to lose those emails, you want to be able to reply when you are back up.

    You can have most external providers sync with cpanel. Set them to be secondary DNS servers with your cpanel server as the master. They should pick up any changes as they are made. Then, just publish their DNS servers in the actual domain records and leave your cpanel server out of it.

    Finally, people are saying things about reverse dns and mail here. While it is true that it needs to be set up, if you are on a VPS the reverse block is probably not under your control. You would need to have rdns set up by contacting your provider in most cases.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    No, I mean the dns server ip addresses. To pass the test, they must be in separate class c(/24) ip networks. One test even notes if they are in different ASN's.
    They're on the same ip network now. If I were to add a couple of nameservers as vanity nameservers through dnsmadeeasy.com, they would be on different networks, correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    BTW, with respect to what LUXORE says, some hosts find it advantageous to maintain their own sites away from the customer sites. That way, if the customer server goes down, they are still reachable for email and support tickets. If you maintain them on the same box, you could be blindsided by an outage.
    I am hearing this more frequently on different forums. Sounds a very sensible thing to do. So, if I have 4 nameservers, I suppose I could use 2 for my hosting company domain and the remaining 2 for the server that hosts my clients?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luxore View Post
    If however your server disappears momentarily, but you still have a functioning nameserver in another location, the email will be accepted from the sender and queued on their outbound mailserver until the message can be delivered (or until the retry time-out expires).
    Thanks for this. This is something I hadn't considered as an advantage when having multiple nameservers dispersed geographically.
    Last edited by ramdak5000; 09-03-2008 at 08:27 AM. Reason: typo

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    No dns servers on your box means no dns servers to setup or maintain on your box.
    Actually, the dns servers are indeed running on my vps. But Servint do such a good job with their maintenance (including the reverse dns) that I have never once had a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by mkc View Post
    Finally, people are saying things about reverse dns and mail here. While it is true that it needs to be set up, if you are on a VPS the reverse block is probably not under your control. You would need to have rdns set up by contacting your provider in most cases.
    If I had my entire DNS with a 3rd party like dnsmadeeasy, wouldn't the reverse dns be done there? That is, wouldn't I have the entire control? I don't quite get it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mkc View Post
    You can have most external providers sync with cpanel. Set them to be secondary DNS servers with your cpanel server as the master. They should pick up any changes as they are made. Then, just publish their DNS servers in the actual domain records and leave your cpanel server out of it.
    Trying to understand this a bit better. Right now my cPanel VPS runs the dns servers for all my hosted domains including my own business domain. If I were to add a couple of vanity nameservers through dnsmadeeasy or any other 3rd party service, would I need to set up those vanity nameservers as the secondary DNS servers? Is there a specific how-to you could suggest for setting up the syncing?

    Also, could you please explain 'just publish their DNS servers in the actual domain records and leave your cPanel server out of it'?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ramdak5000 View Post
    If I had my entire DNS with a 3rd party like dnsmadeeasy, wouldn't the reverse dns be done there? That is, wouldn't I have the entire control? I don't quite get it.
    Your upstream isp needs to delegate control of the range to you or your dns servers will never be queried.

    While normal dns is determined by the nameservers listed in the whois entry of a domain, the reverse dns is not since when doing a reverse lookup you know the ip block and not the domain.

    See https://www.dnsmadeeasy.com/s0306/tuts/reverse_dns.html

    Quote Originally Posted by ramdak5000 View Post
    Trying to understand this a bit better. Right now my cPanel VPS runs the dns servers for all my hosted domains including my own business domain. If I were to add a couple of vanity nameservers through dnsmadeeasy or any other 3rd party service, would I need to set up those vanity nameservers as the secondary DNS servers? Is there a specific how-to you could suggest for setting up the syncing?
    You let cpanel run its own dns so your users can continue to manage their own DNS settings through cpanel. If you don't do this then when customers want to set up addon domains and parked domains through cpanel, it would require intervention on your part to make sure your the dns entries are matching what CPanel thinks things should look like.

    Then set up other servers as slaves to this. This lets you make changes through cpanel, but gives you the redundancy of the off-site servers.

    Then, point the actual domains to nsX.dnsmadeeasy.com instead of nsX.yourdomain.com and you keep all the traffic on their servers and not on yours.

    See https://www.dnsmadeeasy.com/s0306/prod/secdns.html

    All this said, if you can keep your mail server off your customer machine, do it. In addition to remaining available during downtime it is also better from a security standpoint. If someone does manage to hack your server, you don't want them seeing things in your ticket system.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luxore View Post
    ...
    If however your server disappears momentarily, but you still have a functioning nameserver in another location, the email will be accepted from the sender and queued on their outbound mailserver until the message can be delivered (or until the retry time-out expires).

    In my opinion that's a better thing to have happen. You don't want people phoning you every time there is a net burp or you have to reboot your server.

    So despite what practically every cpanel "host" says, there is benefit to having nameservers in different places.
    Actually, although this is common belief, this is just not true according to the RFCs internet architecture is essentially based on.

    Mail is always queued, whether the DNS server is down, or whether the server is down - either or both. This is mandated by the specs that specify how email is to be transported. The key here is that a completely different error is actually returned if a domain doesn't exist - NXDOMAIN - and it's that NXDOMAIN error that would cause mail to bounce. Mail Transfer Agents (such as sendmail, exim, postfix and qmail) all know when a request times out that they should wait and retry the message.

    So, if you have a singlehomed server, there really is no value to be gained by distributing DNS service. If however you have services running from multiple IPs there is a LOT of value in having your DNS records for that domain distributed.

    As far as I recall, there is some validity to the claim above that a site may appear to be down slightly longer if DNS access isn't available; I beleive the rule is that negative answers can be cached for 30 minutes. However, this is just from memory, and I'm not sure whether a timeout constitutes a negative answer, perhaps someone can answer authoritatively.

    And as plumsauce says, having your nameservers on different IP ranges is good for the proletariat when they run intodns or something similar and see a red line. If you charge high dollar rates, that's a real consideration, otherwise I'd talk them out of it.

    And don't get me started on secondary mail service. Ugh. Great way to collect extra spam and to lose mail (through accidental misconfiguration over time).

    The rule with a lot of this stuff in sysadmin is really a simple one - keep your systems simple - KISS. The simpler a system is, the more you understand it, the more stable it is. That doesn't mean you can't take redundancy measures, obviously, but if I had a $1 for every time I've seen a complex system fail because of that complexity, I'd be pretty happy!

  23. #23
    Sheps, I agree that if the server goes down, then it really doesn't matter if you have the best DNS in the world. In my case, I believe the chances of this happening is rare. I host with ServInt and haven't had any downtime in the last 18 months.
    And when the server would be available again some users still won't be able to access the website due to DNS cache.

    I host with ServInt and haven't had any downtime in the last 18 months.
    Impossible, do you have any statistics that prove it? If not i bet there were some downtimes, but you didn't noticed.

    If you haven't restarted the machine it doesn't automatically mean that you have 100% uptime.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ramdak5000 View Post
    I originally thought of additional nameservers using their Vanity DNS services, but the more I think, the more it seems like using dnsmadeeasy for primary dns could be a big draw with potential clients.

    What do the experienced webmasters here recommend?
    I have no idea why outsourcing your DNS to someone else would be a big draw for your customers. In my experience, outsourcing something as basic as DNS is a red flag that you're not "real".

    Vern

  25. #25

    Free DNS is good but run your own if you have Customer

    If you have few domain names to manage then I suggest using everydns.net or domainsredirect.com. I personally use www.domainsredirect.com for FREE DNS management but commercially we run our own DNS servers.

    For commercial customers who have MISSION CRITICAL stuff you probably are better using a CDN service and their DNS servers split all over the world. For regular customers it doesnt make a difference whether you run your own or use 3rd party as long as they can modify their records (which they can easily be delegated to do with the commercial Control Panels like Plesk.
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