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I have recently consolidated all my domains with godaddy. I am using their free dns manager to handle the dns for them. I know there are dns providers like dyndns and easydns. What exactly do they provide that is different than godaddy? (aside from more records)

Basically, under what conditions should I be looking for a paid DNS host?


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Zoneedit also offers basic failover support - that can be useful. – Wanderlust Dec 13 '10 at 14:10
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Short answer - you are already using a paid DNS host - the cost is just hidden within the domain registration service.

GoDaddy are hosting your DNS records as part of the registration service. EasyDNS will do the same thing for you - i.e. register a domain name for you, and provide DNS services, as will all the competition. If you don't know why you would want one provider over another, then the only thing that probably matters is the price you paid for the domain name.

DynDNS provide additional services which allow you to use your domain name with a dynamic IP address - e.g. your ISP doesn't give you a static IP address. Again, if you don't know you need this, then you probably don't.

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Great, thanks. Sites like easydns and dyndns claim "geographically diverse servers to put you in complete control of your zones and ensure your domain's DNS resolution never fails." - is this something I should be concerned about not getting with godaddy? – Kevin Dec 13 '10 at 13:24
Chances are you're getting geographically diverse servers with GoDaddy, they're the largest registrar in the world (by volume) so they're no fly by night operation. If there isn't anything that you need that they don't provide (in terms of DNS management) then I see no valid reason to move your DNS elsewhere. – joeqwerty Dec 13 '10 at 13:28
By the way, your choice of DNS provider may depend on exactly what you are using the domain for. WikiLeaks had their DNS record pulled last week by EveryDNS, who bought DynDNS. So if you are setting up a *Leaks website, you probably want to use someone else ;-) – dunxd Dec 13 '10 at 14:56

As mentioned by others, a paid service can help you if you have a dynamic IP which may be helpful for a small business, but there are also several other benefits that I have not seen listed here. One of the primary benefits of a paid service is the length of the TTL you are allowed to set. If you look at GoDaddy for example they typically allow a TTL of no shorter than 30 mins, with a default of 1hour. This is pretty good for general use, but if for example you work for an online university and need to make sure that switching to the new website will be complete worldwide within roughly 5 minutes (like I do), then GoDaddy probably isn't the service for you.

Additionally, most paid services usually have much greater support to prevent DNS hacks including malicious records/redirects but also are better prepared to handle DoS attacks etc. They normally provide much better tracking of how many hits you are receiving and on which DNS names you are receiving those hits. And they also generally provide much more robust reporting on all the things I have mentioned, which isn't hard since GoDaddy provides none.

In short, it depends on your business but if you need your DNS to be up all the time with no exceptions and you have a need to have better/faster control of your records and where your queries are coming from - you will be looking for something more than a GoDaddy and you will be paying for it.

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I upscored this for the point about TTLs, but I find depressingly often that low TTLs are ignored by everyone else's DNS servers anyway. – MadHatter Dec 13 '10 at 14:33
Yeah that does happen pretty often, but even with that a business that makes there living off of web transactions can find that in depth information about their DNS via reporting is alone enough to warrant the cost. Additionally, I really can't control what other providers do with the TTLs but the best chance I have for near real time changes is to set mine as low as possible. – Charles Dec 13 '10 at 16:53

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