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Our company has multiple domain names, all registered with one registrar. Our DNS on the other hand is being managed by Rackspace under our old web development firm's reseller account.

We have now changed our web hosting to a new host and pretty much our business relationship with this old web dev firm is terminated except for DNS. We still have to go through them when we need to make any public DNS changes.

What do you think is the best way to handle migrating our DNS account off of their hands and putting it back under our control with minimal hassle and service disruption?

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  1. Obtain a copy of your zone file from the old provider, preferably in BIND zone format.
    This should be a plain text file that looks something like the example here.

  2. Provide this file to your new hosting company to load on their DNS servers.

  3. Coordinate with your new hosting company to change the authoritative name servers for your domain once step (2) is completed.

  4. Coordinate with your old hosting company to remove your zone from their name servers
    This should be done after a suitable waiting period to ensure that the world is looking at the new nameserver -- Twice the TTL on your NS records, or 48 hours (whichever is longer) is the rule of thumb I use.

Depending on how your domain was registered and whether or not your existing hosting company is the administrative contact you may also have to arrange to transfer the domain registration away from them. Your new provider can assist you with that as well.

If you follow the basic steps above in the order given you should experience no service disruption.

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Don't forget about the TTL on the NS records. Any recursive DNS servers (or clients) that have cached the NS for the old provider will continue to look there until the NS records have expired. You really want to have dual-authority set up (for the old and new) until that TTL expires. Also, it's best to keep your DNS and hosting providers separate. You want to explore a Managed DNS service to handle this (there are lots). If your web host provider suffers an outage, you'll have no way to change the DNS to a different host. [37signals.com/svn/posts/800-what-happened-this-morning] –  lhagemann Jan 26 '12 at 16:58
    
Currently, domain registrar, hosting company and DNS provider are three different companies. Do you think migrating DNS to the domain registrar (NetSol) would be a good idea? –  Zero Subnet Jan 26 '12 at 17:40
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Just an opinion, but I'm not a fan of using domain registrars as DNS providers. I've been bitten too many times by registrars who don't know DNS very well (at least on the front line support side). YMMV. –  malcolmpdx Jan 26 '12 at 17:43
    
@chakram88 You have a good point about keeping the old nameserver up for a while (NS TTL * 2 at least) -- I've added step 4 to my answer. I can't say I completely agree about managed DNS services or keeping DNS and hosting separate though -- Many hosting companies have excellent geographically distributed DNS & provide great domain management services for their customers. The 37Signals issue you link to was an aberration, and if you read their blog post carefully DNS was not the issue (in fact they made DNS changes during the outage to send people to the status page). –  voretaq7 Jan 26 '12 at 17:55

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