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We currently have Network Solutions as our domain registrar. We are looking to transfer the domain to 1and1. We use Office365 to handle our email and other hosted services, so the only change we made to Network Solutions DNS settings was to set the nameserver to Microsoft's nameserver (Microsoft, in turn, created a handful of CNAME, A, and MX records for our actual website, Sharepoint, and hosted Exchange server).

Will we be able to complete the transfer without any downtime (particularly to our email)? I think we should be able to, because the nameserver will still be pointed to Microsoft's and we aren't changing any DNS settings. We are simply changing which registrar we use for our domain.

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For future readers: be aware of Seth's comments/answer below. –  TheCleaner Oct 15 '13 at 14:32

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Changing your registrar alone will not impact DNS provided your nameservers or DNS records do not change in the process.

There are 3 levels of information here:

  • Registrar
  • Nameservers
  • DNS Records

You will only have downtime if your DNS records are changed to invalid settings.

Some examples ...

You can change registrars without changing nameservers. In this case, DNS records would not change so there would be no downtime.

You can change nameservers without or with changing registrars, in this case the old and new nameservers require the same (A,MX, CNAME) records. If they match, then there is no downtime.

If you change DNS records, then you may have downtime if the new records are not pointing to the desired location.

Your Case

If I understand your case, you are likely using Network Solution's DNS. If so, this means you will be changing both your registrar and nameservers.

To prevent downtime, just make sure that 1&1's DNS system has the same DNS records (A, CNAME, MX, TXT) as Netsol. The only records that would change would be the NS records.

If you do this, the DNS records will then be identical during the move -- and no downtime as it will not matter which set of nameservers are used by a DNS resolver.

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I'm a little confused over DNS vs nameserver settings. If I run nslookup -type=ns <mydomain.com> I get back (a couple rows like this): ns2.bdm.microsoftonline.com internet address = 157.56.81.41. That means I'm using Microsoft's nameserver, right? On the Microsoft site is where the additional DNS records (MX, A, CNAME) are. Who tells the DNS servers which nameserver to get records from? My registrar? –  Tyler DeWitt May 29 '13 at 19:41
    
You will want to do a whois lookup. That will determine what nameservers are authoritative for your domain. If these are the MS nameservers listed above, then just assure that these are also listed at 1&1. This is a case of changing registrars but not changing nameservers. If you just assure that 1&1 has your current nameservers listed, then DNS records will not change - and no downtime. –  jeffatrackaid May 29 '13 at 19:43
    
The bottom of the whois command lists off the MSFT nameservers. So long as 1&1 also lists those nameservers, I should have no downtime? I was trying to think of the evil corporation scenario where a request to my domain would come back with a dns error, but the only way for that to happen (once I tell 1&1 to use the MSFT nameservers) would be for netsol to change my nameservers, right? Is it the registrar that tells the DNS resolver which nameserver to use? –  Tyler DeWitt May 29 '13 at 19:51
    
The root DNS servers tells your DNS what nameservers to use. Your registrar is responsible for telling the root nameservers what NS records to us. See this for an attempt to clarify this: rackaid.com/resources/… –  jeffatrackaid May 29 '13 at 20:12
    
Thanks for the visualization. One last detail: Would netsol tell the Root Server to change my nameserver during the transfer to 1&1? –  Tyler DeWitt May 29 '13 at 20:30

BEFORE YOU TRY THIS, BEWARE:

1and1 does not allow the entry of the records you will require for Office 365 on their name servers. They allow ONLY the entry of a CNAME record OR MX records, not both.

In addition, "The 1&1 Internet website also doesn’t support TXT, SPF, or SRV records. Learn about these service limitations to decide if you want to switch to different DNS hosting provider."

See here: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-suite-help/create-dns-records-at-1-1-internet-for-office-365-HA103106443.aspx

This is a major flaw in their service, and seems to be unique to them.

DO NOT USE 1AND1 WITH OFFICE 365.

I've been forced to use third party name servers to allow the entry of the records I need. (1and1 killed our site for 24 hours when I requested a change of nameservers).

But I can't move my site to 1and1 because they ALSO don't have static IP addresses for my third party name servers to point to. I'm waiting for my 60-day hold to end so I can get away from them.

Don't fall into the trap we did!

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While this may be very useful information it unfortunately has the tone of a rant. You might be better served by attempting to strip out some of the well deserved emotional reaction. –  Scott Pack Jun 28 '13 at 1:21
2  
That wasn't a rant, he speaks the truth. I can't believe the 1&1 dns limitations, no one should use 1&1 unless they are going to use everything with them (email, web, etc). It's a nightmare. –  user180584 Jul 7 '13 at 5:40
    
Verified. We just went through this. We are now in the process of switching from 1and1 –  Kernel Panic Sep 25 '13 at 14:45

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