The Top 5 Things to Look for in a DNS Service Provider

The Top 5 Things to Look for in a DNS Service Provider

At Total Uptime, we’re often asked how we compare to other DNS service providers. Since every business has a different set of requirements, we thought we’d compile a list of the top 5 reasons some of our customers have chosen Total Uptime Cloud DNS vs. other solution providers who may also offer DNS services. Evaluate these items against your own criteria to determine what’s most important to your organization.

  1. Core competency: What does the organization do? Is DNS a significant focus for them, or do they do a lot of things? Is DNS an add-on, or is it their core business. At Total Uptime, we’re regularly compared to organizations like GoDaddy, Network Solutions or even Amazon Web Services (AWS). There is no question that organizations like these are excellent companies, but ask yourself this: What is their core business? For GoDaddy and Network Solutions, it is domain registration and hosting. Amazon’s focus is computing. So while they may offer DNS as an add-on, does that mean they are the best-of-breed? If you only buy DNS from them, and not their main/flagship/core product, will they still give you the level of service you require? Some of the points below will help you further evaluate that.
  2. Availability: What is the provider’s track record for uptime and availability? When a provider has a lot of balls in the air, it’s difficult for any single one of them to have very high levels of availability, let alone 100%. Perhaps this is due to the fact that their resources are spread more thinly across all solutions, or because they are not proficient in all of them. If a provider like Amazon had a major outage, would they work to bring compute online first, how about storage, or DNS? It certainly would be unwise to choose to outsource to a DNS Service Provider who has a history of outages.

    It’s also very important to understand their architecture. How do they deliver DNS? Do they operate multiple name server clusters? Do they employ Anycast? Do they use BIND or similar server technology that has known security issues?  Are there Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that back everything up?
  3. Performance: What is the provider’s ability to resolve DNS queries quickly for users around the globe. And is performance something they designed from the beginning? Like availability, understanding the provider’s architecture will also demonstrate their ability to deliver fast resolving DNS. A provider with Anycast capability is a good starting point, but how is that Anycast balanced? Do they have servers around the globe? Have they carefully chosen certain Tier-1 providers for that Anycast network? Consider how performance might impact your business too. If you operate a basic website that doesn’t have an e-commerce component, DNS performance may not be a significant factor. But if you do e-commerce, especially on a global scale, or even worse… if you are in the business of ad-serving, DNS performance couldn’t be more important.
  4. Security: How important is it that nobody other than yourself or authorized users of your organization gain access to the DNS management interface? You need a provider that has more than just SSL for the interface. Consider someone who allows multiple user accounts where you can define different roles or levels of access. You may also find a “change log” vitally important in order to see what records where changed, by whom, and when. Lastly… do you require a feature such as two-factor authentication, making the ability to log into the web interface with stolen credentials nearly impossible?
  5. Features: What functionality do you want to see? Every organization has different requirements. Perhaps you need the ability to give different departments within your organization the ability to manage their own domains, or sub-domains. Perhaps you desire the unique ability to automate the updating of DNS records when servers or datacenters go down, such as DNS Failover. Or perhaps you need the ability to direct users connecting from different geographies to different servers or datacenters using a GEO DNS function. 
Carefully considering your organizations requirements for DNS is critical. If you’re an e-commerce company, performance may be at the top of the list. If you’re a law-firm, where one delayed email could spell disaster, availability may be the most important. Whatever the case, be certain that your DNS provider meets all of your needs.  And, hopefully by this point you’ve guessed that Total Uptime specializes in DNS and offers every one of the items we’ve talked about in this article. Why not give our 14-day free trial a test-drive?

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