The Importance of DNS Diversification

dns diversification

The lack of DNS diversification is a serious problem that has been brewing since the inception of the Internet. A few years ago, we saw what happened (October 21, 2016) when a major DNS provider went down and took half of the Internet with it, including major companies like Twitter, Spotify, Airbnb, and even Reddit.

Do you know how much a Managed DNS outage would cost your business? According to Gartner, 98% of organizations say a single hour of downtime costs over $100,000. 81% of respondents indicated that 60 minutes of downtime costs their business over $300,000. 33% of those enterprises reported that one hour of downtime costs their firms $1-5 million. Can your company afford downtime? The answer is probably NO.

Let’s Start at the Beginning Though, What Exactly is DNS?

Understanding the above is essential. However, it makes no sense if one does not realize what DNS is in the first place. Broken down, DNS stands for the Domain Name System. It can easily be referred to as the phonebook of the Internet. As an Internet user, you usually access websites through domain names such as noip.com, facebook.com, or reddit.com, and so on. Your web browser interacts with the Internet through an Internet Protocol (IP) address, and this is where DNS comes in.

DNS translates domain names into IP addresses that can then be read by browsers on the computer, thereby allowing the loading of Internet resources. Typically, every device that is connected to the Internet has a unique IP address. This address is used to identify the device and track the activities on the device. DNS servers help to remove the need to memorize IP addresses, thereby allowing for a smooth and efficient user experience.

How Does DNS Work?

When you type www.noip.com into your browser, your device’s recursive DNS server checks to see if it knows what IP address www.noip.com resolves to. If you are going to this website for the first time, it will not know the IP address and it will have to do a lookup to see who controls www.noip.com. The lookup will show No-IP as the authoritative DNS provider with the name server of ns1.no-ip.com. Your device’s recursive DNS server will then ask ns1.no-ip.com what IP address does www.noip.com resolve to. Then, ns1.no-ip.com will respond and return that the IP address is 8.23.224.107.

Your recursive DNS server will now remember this for a pre-defined amount of time,  this is known as cache. Now, anytime you go to www.noip.com within the cache period (typically 30 days), it will remember the IP address it remembered without having to ask again for the IP address again.

Managed DNS Services

With Managed DNS, you can be assured your customers will reach your website by utilizing the Managed DNS authoritative DNS servers that store your DNS records, all while providing DNS resolutions in the background. This allows your customers to reach your website, quickly and efficiently.

If your customer does not have the IP address stored in its’ computers cache, the operating system of the computer will kick off a recursive search to find the IP address for the domain that the user is trying to fetch.

This search often ends at an authoritative server, which then provides the “authoritative” answer to the user’s query. With Managed DNS, these authoritative servers are run on behalf of the customers.

No-IP Plus Managed DNS allows your website to perform optimally, because our network infrastructure is backed by a redundant Anycast network that spans the globe with over 200 points of presence. More importantly, with Plus Managed DNS, you will no longer have to set up and build a redundant and resilient infrastructure on your own. With No-IP’s Plus Managed DNS, your website will always be available, and all of your client requests will always be answered.

No-IP Plus Managed DNS is just $29.95 a year. This includes our award-winning Customer Support, SSL upgrades, up to 50 hostnames, and a 100% Uptime Guarantee.

DNS Diversification
Now that we have explained Managed DNS and the benefits associated with a Managed DNS services, it is only fair that we finally get to the point and talk about DNS Diversification. As a business, it is always the safest bet to diversify your services, including your DNS services.

This means that if you have one provider who handles your web hosting, you should have a different one managing your DNS and one for your email. That way, you will have a fail-safe therefore avoiding a single point of failure. Whenever possible, you should have backup solutions in place. When it comes to the end-user, the use of redundant systems will help ensure that if one system is down, the entire customer experience is not compromised.

Remember the issue we highlighted with the DNS provider outage above? Well, if those impacted companies had embraced DNS diversification, they would not have had a single point of failure. If they had a secondary DNS provider in their records, their DNS would have kept resolving and their customers would have never noticed a problem. But since they did not have a secondary DNS provider defined,  once their primary DNS service was down, their entire website was down.

No-IP  offers a vey simply and affordable solution to this problem. Squared Backup DNS is our secondary DNS service that allows you to easily get a secondary DNS configuration on your domain. You simply provide your primary DNS provider with our authoritative master DNS servers IP address then, you allow zone transfers and automatic updates to our server. Once this is completed, you update the name servers at your domain’s registrar to also include No-IP’s name servers and you are DONE. Moving forward, any changes you make at your primary DNS provider will automatically be sent to No-IP’s name servers. By doing this, you have now increased your website’s DNS redundancy which is backed by your primary DNS provider and also backed by No-IP’s redundant and robust Anycast DNS network.

It may seem complicated, but you essentially just have your main DNS provider and a backup DNS provider. If you are familiar with NS Records, this is how the configuration would look:

Example of a Diversified Zone File:

ns1.otherdns.com
ns2.otherdns.com
ns3.otherdns.com
ns1.no-ip.com
ns2.no-ip.com

In the example above, if the first NS record, ns1.otherdns.com happens to go down, it will still resolve because the zone file includes another DNS provider (in this example, No-IP is the Secondary DNS provider) and is located in the 4th and 5th name server records.

As mentioned earlier, it is the 21st century, an era where having a website is of the utmost importance. You do not want to have downtime, ever, as it can make all the difference between earning a customer and losing them for good.

If you are looking for a primary managed DNS provider, No-IP Plus Managed DNS is backed by a robust infrastructure that comes with a 100% uptime guarantee. We recommend finding a secondary DNS provider for peace of mind that your customers will always be able to access your website.

If you already have a primary DNS provider, No-IP Squared Backup DNS is a great Secondary DNS solution that will diversify your DNS and leverage No-IP’s robust and redundant Anycast network.

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