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For example, if I'm hosting a website on a server in the USA, is it advised to buy another server in Canada or USA for example and use 2 dedicated IP addresses from that server to resolve my nameservers instead of using 2 dedicated IP addresses on my main website server?

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You should have geographic redundancy for your dns if possible. It's ok to run the primary nameserver on your server if you only have one server. However, you should also set up a backup nameserver somewhere else. For example, I manage a small company's single Linux server which also serves dns for their domain. I signed them up for dyndns secondary dns for the backup. Works fine and not very expensive.

This is particularly important if you host your own email. If your domain is completely down, there won't be any dns info available for your domain, and external mail servers will give up trying to send mail quite quickly. If your main server is down but your backup dns is still alive, external mail servers will keep trying to resend mail for at least a day or two. That means the mail is much more likely to eventually get delivered when your server comes back up (although obviously you should work on your mail server redundancy in that case too).

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I'll check out DynDNS - thanks! – Dean May 21 '11 at 19:30

I really have to wonder why someone hosting one web site, or even a few, would host their own DNS servers. That is more for companies, who are in that business.

Is there any reason you don't just have your DNS with a major domain registrar like I have a number of companies I consult for there, and we do get two name servers that are on different subnets (I believe this is what you mean by two IP addresses). It is not so important to separate them by country.

As a practical matter, do you really want to be managing the server too, or just the DNS records? The latter is easier. Also, who do you really think has more robust servers, you or a major company in that business?

It is another story to host the same site in another country with a different domain like for redundancy.

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Yes, good point. In my example, we host our own dns server because we set it up 10 years ago when it was a lot more work to get someone else to do it. In general if you are setting up something now you should really consider a solution managed by someone else. – Phil Hollenback May 21 '11 at 20:11
Even if it is already on their own DNS servers, it can be moved with virtually no effort. I moved one two weeks ago. The big thing is to make sure that you get whoever holds the DNS to give you a complete listing of your current records. Then copy the records to the new DNS server (sometimes they won't let you do this until you have repointed your names servers to them), and then repoint your name servers. Fast, easy and reliable if you pick a big company to host your DNS. – KCotreau May 21 '11 at 20:28

It's not a good idea to use two dedicated IP addresses on the same server to comply with the requirement of having two DNS servers, if that's really what you meant. You should at the very least assign the two IP addresses to different servers, and preferably use geographically distant servers. So in your case having one server in the USA and another in Canada would be ideal.

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I had the slightest idea, and you proved me right. Thanks! – Dean May 21 '11 at 19:29

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