DNS hosting service is a must to have for a domain to exist. No matter the size and type of domain you are planning to build (a big e-shop or a blog), you need this infrastructure for the domain to be accessible to visitors.
Choosing a quality provider is essential because DNS hosting impacts other important factors. A good or bad service will boost or hinder the domain’s performance, uptime, security, and speed. And, of course, the experience of users while visiting it.
Why get free DNS hosting?
When searching for a DNS hosting provider, you have the choice of paying for the service or getting it for free. Paid services include premium features and more possibilities. But currently, there are reliable and robust enough free services for hosting almost any type of domain. Some free DNS hosting providers offer you: Dynamic DNS, IPv4, and IPv6 support, one account multiple domains, support for a wide variety of DNS records, forward and reverse DNS zones support, customer support, etc.
Ping command is a simple network utility tool. It has a command-line interface. You can write different commands and test various elements of your network – a computer on the network, the router, a particular domain, or IP address. The ping command uses ICMP – Internet control message protocol. When you are performing a check, you need to set a target, and additionally, you can add options for the number of packets, continuous pinging, timeout limits, IPv4 or IPv6, and more. You will get a response with additional statistics. An ICMP request is a small packet of data that your computer will send to the target. The target should bounce it back and send an answer for each ping. You can find the Ping command on Linux and macOS through the Terminal application, or on Windows, through the Command Prompt. You should also be able to find it on Android or iOS/iPadOS through a third-party Terminal application.
The CNAME record is one of the first DNS records that you will read about when you are starting with DNS management. It has a very important task to do, showing the true domain name for the subdomains, making it really an essential DNS record. It saves time and makes it easier to manage the DNS.
CNAME explained completely
There are two parts in the CNAME’s name. C stands for canonical, and it wants to show which is the true domain name for the one that you are trying to resolve. The NAME is obvious. It stands for name, as in hostname.
Reverse DNS is a key component of the configuration of your mail server.
Not having Reverse DNS can mean not sending emails! Without well-configured Reverse DNS zone and PTR records, the rest of the email servers can’t check your domain’s IP address and discard your messages or throw them into the spam box.
Everything you need to know about Reverse DNS
A Reverse DNS is a service that provides Reverse DNS zones for your domain. The Reverse DNS zones serve to host PTR records that can be used for verification purposes, to check the IP addresses and if they lead to the correct hostnames.
There are a lot of DNS record types, at least 50 out there! One of them is called DNS TXT record, and it has a variety of purposes. Yes, it is one simple text record, but it is widely used, so let us explain the TXT record.
TXT record explained
TXT record is a DNS record type that has text information designed for external to the domain sources. The text could be written for people, so it would be easy to read, has enough information and logically organized, or made for computers, and has a more technical format.
Usually, you will see, inside the TXT record, a piece of general information about the domain and an additional part for a particular type of validation.
Time To Live (TTL) sounds like a horror movie, but luckily it is not related to people. It is the value that shows how long the information should be kept in a particular device. There are many pieces of data that have their own TTL value. Here we will see DNS TTL and CDN TTL.
When we are talking about DNS TTL, it is related to the time that the DNS resolvers must keep the DNS records in their cache. Each of the DNS records will have its TTL value. There are some with longer TTL because there is less chance that the value will change and others with shorter TTL value, where there are often changes.
Imagine this situation. You have finally decided to truly manage your DNS. You have selected a DNS service provider, you have created master and secondary zones, and you have added all the DNS records that you will need. You spend a lot of time and effort. And after everything is ready, you want to check and… there are no changes! Don’t worry. The DNS propagation takes time.
What is DNS propagation?
It is a process to update the changes that you make in your DNS. After editing or creating new DNS records, they are saved in the authoritative DNS nameserver. That is ok, but what about all the rest of the DNS name servers? The cache memory of the recursive DNS servers will still keep the older versions of the DNS records based on their TTL value. The DNS propagation is the time it will take to propagate, to update the changes to all of the recursive name servers.
Frequently asked questions about DNS propagation
Do you have any doubts about the DNS propagation, we hope you can find your answer here:
Could we make the DNS propagation faster?
Of course, we can, but there is a catch. Boosting the speed depends on the TTL value of the DNS records, so lowering the TTL value of each of the DNS records will indeed guarantee faster DNS propagation. The problem is that you might not want to have DNS records with low value. It will stress more your DNS servers, updating them too often. We don’t need all of our DNS records to update all the time. It is better to keep the records’ TTL values at their normal level. Plus, editing all of them will take a lot of time.
Can you check if the DNS propagation is ready?
Of course, we can, and this time there is no problem. You need to see if the IP address for a domain name has changed. This will indicate that the A or AAAA records are updated already. We will show you different ways depending on your OS.
*Change yourdomainname.com with your actual domain name.
Linux or macOS
Open the Terminal, and we will use one of the built-in commands called the Dig command.
You can use the host command too, whatever you prefer.
Windows OS The Terminal alternative in Windows is the Command Prompt. Inside it, we will use the NSlookup command.
How long can the DNS propagation take?
It can take a long time. Depending on when the recursive DNS servers updated themselves and the TTL values of the DNS records, it can take as much as 72 hours.
Waiting for the DNS propagation to occur is a time-consuming process that we could not fully predict. This is the situation, and there is little we can do, so just be patient, and in less than 72 hours, the update will happen. Patience is the key here!
CAA record is a DNS record that shows who can be the Certification Authority for a particular domain and issue certificates.
What is Certificate Authority (CA)?
The CA is the entity that has the right to issue certificates like SSL certificates or TLS certificates. You can easily identify the CA, based on their name and their certificate revocation list (CRL). The Certificate Authority must provide a public key or a certificate from their CA if it is subordinate.
What is the CAA record?
The CAA record (Certification Authority Authorization) is a DNS record that a domain name owner can use to specify the certificate authority which can issue for their domain name. Inside the CAA, the domain owner can adjust the settings that cover the whole domain or just particular subdomains.
If you manage the CAA on a domain level, it will automatically apply on the subdomain level, too, unless you set it inside the record.
The CAA work with both wildcard certificates and single-name certificates. Separate and together too.
What DNS servers mainly translate domain names of websites into IP addresses. Servers communicate among them to identify data’s location of the domains we required to make them accessible.
To know where your website is hosted, you definitely need a DNS server. Two popular DNS routing models are Unicast DNS and Anycast DNS.
What is Unicast DNS?
With Unicast, only one server stores the IP of the website. Its info is available where that DNS server is situated. No matter the place in the world, users request to visit the website, they have to get to this exact point.
DNS request will go to DNS name servers of users ISP, looking for an answer. If it doesn’t get an answer there, it will go from server to server, searching for one that can answer.
In the case of Unicast, we have just one that can answer.
Suppose the server that has stored the website data is close to the requester, great! He will get a fast answer. But a user requesting the same website from far away will have to wait much more time to get the same answer from the same name server.
Advantages of Unicast DNS
Unicast means one machine, one IP. So installing unicast is simpler because you have to be worried about the maintenance and proper performance of just one server.
Therefore, Unicast is cheaper than Anycast. There are different alternatives, but Unicast is still very used on the Internet for its price.
It is a choice for websites that target specific markets and not the whole world. If your business is directed just to Chinese users, you can choose Unicast, a DNS server in such a country, so your website will be easily reachable since it is close to your audience and your budget won’t be affected.
Disadvantages of Unicast DNS
If the DNS server that stores your website data gets attacked or crashes, accessibility to your website will be seriously affected.
If your business targets potentially people all around the world, Unicast DNS is not the best for you. As explained before, you can’t guarantee the best experience for users located far from your server’s location.
What is Anycast DNS?
Several servers located in different geographical points can provide the same IP through Anycast. DNS information from your domain name is copied on as many servers as you pay to have a better presence.
With Anycast, the closest DNS server will answer the user’s request. If one is down, offline due to maintenance or a different reason, the request will go to the second closest, available DNS server to get the answer, and so on. Then user’s request definitely will be answered faster, and the experience will be better in terms of waiting for a response, loading time, etc.
Advantages of Anycast DNS
Faster response time. The faster the servers’ response is, the shorter waiting time and fewer potential clients abandoning your site.
Higher uptime and accessibility. A server can fail, but a whole group of servers rarely, at least not at the same time. Therefore, your site will have higher uptime, and access will be guaranteed for users at any time.
Better position on search engines. Positive user experience (short waiting response, fast loading, accessibility, etc.) is considered by search engines to rank better or worse your site.
Better security. If one server gets compromised, you will have others to rely on.
Disadvantage of Anycast DNS
Having more than one server is clearly more expensive. Depending on your budget, this could be a problem.
Configuring all servers takes a bit of extra effort but is worth it.
Anycast is clearly more robust than Unicast. What really defines which is more suitable, it’s your business size and needs.
Did you know that there is a DNS service that allows you to put your custom DNS branding on the name servers the DNS provider offers? With DNS branding, you can put the name of a domain you own instead of the names that come by default, like ns1.DNSprovider.com, and be changed to ns1.YourDomain.com.
Why would you want to use Vanity name server?
What is a Vanity name server (DNS Branding)?
DNS Branding offers vanity name servers that are name servers that you can put a custom name on them instead of the DNS provider’s default name. You can put your own domain name, hide the DNS provider, and have a better brand image.
See the following example of Vanity name servers, so you get the idea better:
DNS Vanity name servers are actually a mask on top of the DNS provider.
Because using Vanity name server will show the custom name, like ns1.YourDomain.com, when somebody is performing a Whois lookup or using any of the commands for testing NS DNS records.
Another reason is that using this DNS branding is that you can hide which exactly is your DNS provider or public DNS server you are using, so nobody uses this information against you in any way.
White-label services. You can offer different network services and make a deal with a DNS provider, to offer their services through your plans, without mentioning their involvement and slapping your brand on top of the DNS service. That way, you can add more features and look like a truly feature-rich service provider.
How can you set up a Vanity name server?
Configuring Vanity name servers takes a few simple steps, and it is very similar on most of the DNS providers:
First, go to your domain registrar site and log in. There we need to add Child Name Servers to your domain. Those servers you want to use like ns1.YourDomain.com, ns2.YourDomain.com, etc., and add the IP addresses according to the domain registrar.
Now, go to your DNS settings and add the same A records as the Child Name Servers for the DNS zone. You can do it for your Primary DNS zone or Secondary DNS zone. Both work.
After adding the A DNS records, the same way as the Child Name Servers, it is time to change the NS records (name server record) that you can find the DNS zone. Edit the existing ones, or delete them and add a new one. The content of them should look like YourDomain.com NS ns1.YourDomain.com, and so on for the rest of them.
Time to get back to the domain registrar settings. There, from the control panel, change the previous name servers with those you just created. You might need to wait up to 48 hours to update the DNS records on all the DNS resolvers.
Now you know what Vanity name servers are, what purpose do they have, and how to start using them, are you interested in using them?