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I have decided to start using DNS Made easy for my external DNS but can't deside really if I should go for the $30 or $60/year plan. The smaller plan probably covers my current need as I only have 5 domains and probably wont extend beyond 10 within a year. But the larger plan has DNS failover included which make sit attractive as its value is half the extra cost. From reading their pages I'm still not clear over what it offers exactly. I mean, my web server goes down right so it redirect traffic to new location and as their page say "you don't have to worry about installing any special software or scripts on any of your systems. We take care of all of the work for you." So does it mean they cache a copy of my domain including web site to be served until my server comes up again or what?

It sounds a bit too good to be true though and I suspect some detail have been left out as "you need to have another server somewhere that can jump in and runs a copy of your site, or at least a page giving some useful information" or? I ask here as I got the impression from reading that several frequent visitors use their services and can tell exactly how it is from an inside perspective?

Not that $30 would make a big hole in the wallet exactly but by priciple I don't like to waste resources on something not needed, so would be grateful if someone could help me to get clear on this.

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I got an aswer from DME, whci pretty much confirms what I though: "Joakim, With our Failover service, you would need to have your own backup server/site. We would just be redirecting your domain to the secondary site if your primary site is down." – Joakim Jan 11 '10 at 13:31
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I don't know about their service in particular, but for $30/year I would suspect that all it is is a simple "monitor your primary webserver, if it fails then change the DNS records to point to another IP". This means:

  • Yes, you need to spend extra for a separate server, maintain it, regularly test it to make sure it'll still work in the event of a failover, and make sure you install new versions of your site to it
  • You're responsible for any "extra" stuff that needs to be done, like database replication, to keep the second site up and running
  • Monitoring false-positives will cause unnecessary failovers
  • The failover action, if it happens, will not be instant or complete for the entire Internet (DNS caching will cause problems for some period of time after the migration event)
  • Migrating back again after a failure suffers from the delay as well, giving you a double hit.

Some recent commentary on DNS failover is available in this question:

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Thanks for answering but although what you say maybe is true, you said it yourself that 'I don't know about their service in particular' so it's pure speculatuion ;-) As I know several members here use their services and ought to know more and have practical experience I had hoped for someone to share of that 'hands on knowledge'. I have already read all topics tagged 'dns' and 'failover' btw. – Joakim Jan 11 '10 at 1:02
It looks to me based on reading the info on their site that they allow you to set up multiple A records for your domain\site and they will actively monitor the primary ip address and in the event of a failure at the primary ip address will route traffic to a number of secondary ip addresses for you. The responsibility for installing, configuring, housing, maintaining, etc. of those secondary ip addresses is solely on the consumer. – joeqwerty Jan 11 '10 at 2:14
@joeqwerty Yes that was my first/main impression as well until I read "you don't have to worry about installing any special software or scripts on any of your systems. We take care of all of the work for you." note that it doesn't say (failing?)system but "any of your systems". Huh doesn't seem like any of the DME clients are passing by here this time :-( so I guess I have to make a decision or ask over there. Which I of course could have done from the beginning, just thought I would get anaswer quicker here. Well I got but not to my question really. nop, great place anyway :-) – Joakim Jan 11 '10 at 8:24

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