In my first post of this learning series, I mentioned that while you may now be armed with knowledge of the most widely used DNS servers, you still may not want to run your own DNS infrastructure. While running a single server is not difficult, providing a well designed and redundant system upon which you can depend is quite difficult and comes with a lot of challenges. In this post we'll take a look at some of those challenges and how we at DNSimple approach them.

Potential issues with hosting your own DNS servers

Hosting your own DNS servers (or using the DNS provided for free by many registrars) usually means that all queries will be resolved from a single physical location. If a visitor far from your DNS server is trying to access your website, the DNS response can take a while to reach them. If your DNS server malfunctions or becomes unavailable for some reason it won't be able provide service and will require you to debug it and deploy a fix. Running your own DNS servers also requires knowledge and skills to keep up with latest security measures to keep the servers running smoothly. You have to watch out for DDoS attacks against DNS and other threats so your website can be consistently available.

Benefits of using a managed DNS provider

At DNSimple, we have a several important goals in mind when designing our service. Let's talk about a few of these goals and how we accomplish them in our managed DNS service offering.

Simplicity

When using a managed DNS provider you are relieved from the responsibilities of setting up and maintaining your own servers. By subscribing to one of DNSimple's plans, you don't need to worry about the details of keeping a global DNS infrastructure running. You simply need to set your records and move on.

In addition, by pooling your services with many others, you are saving money on hardware and software maintenance costs. Rather than building up infrastructure that is sufficiently resilient and redundant, you pay for a service that you know will be reliable and maintained by people who understand DNS deeply.

Finally, we constantly strive to offer a simple web interface and API which makes the management of DNS records much easier. We build DNSimple to be a service we like using and are constantly working to improve all aspects of the system so it's always a joy to use.

Security

Security is one of our top priorities at DNSimple. In addition to our security disclosure program, by which security researchers submit any issues they discover, we do everything we can to be aware of any security issues affecting software on which we depend. As soon as we find out about a vulnerability we get right to patching it. If you were maintaining your own infrastructure, you'd need to do that yourself in addition to making updates to the servers running your applications.

Performance

As a managed DNS provider, we are strongly committed to providing the most performant service to our customers. We do this by several means. When you make a change to one of the zones you have hosted with us, we use a proprietary mechanism to update the records at all of our name server nodes across the world. This ensures that as soon as you've made an update to your records, they begin propagating regardless of where someone is trying to access your site.

Additionally, we use an Anycast network to broadcast the same IP address from multiple computers allowing us to maintain a truly global network, seamlessly and invisibly to end users.

Support

Even if you were confident of your ability to successfully juggle all the other aspects of DNS hosting and maintenance yourself, you still would need to find help from time to time. By choosing to use our managed DNS offering, you will be in direct contact with members of the DNSimple team any time you need help or encounter issues with your DNS. We love helping our customers solve problems and are always happy to answer questions.

Check us out!

If you think you'd benefit from any of these aspects of managed DNS service, pick one of our plans and try us out for 30 days for free.