The magic behind the scenes that makes your domain name function correctly is the Domain Name System, or DNS for short. DNS is often called the “phonebook of the Internet” because it translates your human-friendly domain name (such as provirtualsolutions.com) into its corresponding numeric web server address (IP). In a nutshell, DNS is what makes the Internet usable by humans.
When you purchase a domain name registration from your registrar, such as GoDaddy or Namecheap, it will give you access to edit your DNS settings. This allows you to have your website and email set up in different locations. For example, this site is hosted with WP Engine, but the email is hosted at G Suite. DNS record editing makes this possible. So, if you can do this at your registrar, why use an outside DNS management service? First, what is a DNS management service?
Simply defined, an outside DNS manager is a service that allows you to set up customized DNS record details, and often includes advanced features such as status monitoring, security or traffic balancing. It also allows expanded capability for more complex records, such as email service for multiple subdomains or corporate network based email. While editing DNS records at a registrar can be daunting, DNS managers often make record editing clearer and offer more focused how-to support.
Well-regarded DNS management services include DNS Made Easy, EasyDNS, and Dyn, among others. Assuming you’re not a huge enterprise, entry-level plans are more than enough to meet most needs. Costs vary by service level, but most starter plans are well below $100 per year, and can include DNS record management for multiple domain names.
So, what are the major advantages of using a DNS management service?
- Focus on DNS management – This helps make editing your domain’s records easier. If you’re unsure of how to make an edit, how-tos are readily available, along with support if needed.
- Advanced traffic management – DNS service plans usually include some level of advanced features such as failover records (which can reroute traffic in case of a down network point), analytics and expanded query and record limits. Advanced plans even allow different routing rules for different international regions, which is helpful if your business has global reach.
- Instant domain record propagation – This is a biggie! When you switch hosting or email providers, no more standard “up to 24 hours” wait times—this alone is enough reason to use a DNS service.
- Improved website reliability and speed – Some plans include a feature called secondary DNS, which allows for a second nameserver set. Basically, it functions as a backup that can help avoid downtime for your email and website.
- Reduced risk with domain registration transfers – If you transfer your domain from one registrar to another, for example GoDaddy to Namecheap, the DNS record detail usually follows suit, but not always! If you have any custom records set up, these critical details can be lost in the move. Having your DNS details hosted elsewhere will prevent important settings from falling off the moving truck!
These are common reasons to use a DNS manager, but there are others! If you’re curious about how these services work, check out EasyDNS, DNS Made Easy and Dyn. I can assist with getting you started or help with a domain transfer. Click here to schedule an intro call and we’ll discuss your best options.