Are there problems with setting up multiple DNS hosting services as name servers for a website?

Budget is an issue so I was thinking about setting up two free DNS hosting services as name servers for redundancy. My hosting company allows a maximum of 13 name servers.

As an example, is the below a good solution?

  1. Primary ns1.everydns.net
  2. Secondary ns1.afraid.org
  3. ns2.everydns.net
  4. ns2.afraid.org
  5. ns3.everydns.net
  6. ns3.afraid.org
  7. ns4.everydns.net
  8. ns4.afraid.org
  9. ns5.everydns.net
  10. ns5.afraid.org
  • "Budget is an issue" AWS Route53 is $0.50/month. Surely your time spent managing multiple DNS providers is worth that much. – ceejayoz Aug 12 '13 at 18:07

Yes you could do that, but it would seem to be overkill.

It's much more likely that your hosting server will go down, than all of the top 9 DNS servers you have setup there fall over, at the same time. That is why most domains have 2-3 DNS servers max.

But if your hosting is that resilient, and DNS uptime is that important to you, go for it.

  • What would be the recommended setup for using two FREE DNS hosting services that would not be overkill. I keep reading that DNS hosting services go down by DDOS attacks and would like to prevent this. – tokyowp Jan 20 '11 at 17:36
  • @tokyowp If Free DNS options are your only way to go, then I'd suggest picking a couple of providers as you have, and taking a couple of DNS servers from each, that you know are hosted on geographically different servers. If more than a couple of DNS servers from the same provider go down, it's likely that they would all have gone down, so adding more won't leave you in a better position. – Sam Cogan Jan 20 '11 at 17:50
  • @tokyowp: It may be that DNS services have been brought down via DDOS attacks, but when's the last time you know it to actually have happened? Most service outages (Facebook, GMail, etc.) are due to internal issues. In brief, I think you're trying to plan for something that has very little likelihood of actually happening. I can buy hurricane insurance for my home in the midwest because it's possible that we'll get a hurricane... but it's not probable. – joeqwerty Jan 20 '11 at 17:52
  • @joe exactly, yes these things could happen, but there are better places to expend your time and effort! – Sam Cogan Jan 20 '11 at 19:48
  • I created a follow-up question to this one here serverfault.com/questions/225037/…. If you could take a look at it, I`d really appreciate it. – tokyowp Jan 21 '11 at 8:05

I would recommend https://www.cloudflare.com/ It's free and has DDoS protection by default too. Plus a lot of extra stuff which you will like.

  • Seems like a bit of an ad? Maybe you could elaborate the answer a bit? – slm Aug 12 '13 at 18:09
  • As sites can fail to respond for any number of reasons, please refrain from linking to a site without also replying with the relevant section. Please note that advertising as answers is generally frowned down upon (especially if done this obviously). – 89c3b1b8-b1ae-11e6-b842-48d705 Aug 12 '13 at 20:40

There isn't any inherent problem setting up multiple DNS hosting services as your nameservers, but the thing to be sure of is that one is the primary/master server and the rest are secondary/slave servers, otherwise you will need to change DNS information at each provider independently (this can be time-consuming, and muddies up the DNS picture).

As Sam said, there is a better chance that your hosting provider will go down before the simultaneous disappearance of 2-3 DNS providers (particularly if you pick topologically and geographically distant providers). If your hosting infrastructure is resilient enough you may want to consider hosting your DNS on your own system & getting secondary DNS service from something like twisted4life.com (if it's just a web host, see if they offer DNS service as well -- many do).

  • @voretq7 How do I set it up to be primary/master and secondary/slave servers? – tokyowp Jan 20 '11 at 17:40
  • @tokyowp You would have to speak to the individual providers about that. Most DNS hosting services are intended to be masters (or complete solutions which provide a master and at least one slave) -- e.g. everydns.net provides ns1, ns2 & ns3.everydns.net: 3 servers, with one acting as master (or a slightly more complex setup behind the scenes, which is not something you need to be concerned with). – voretaq7 Jan 20 '11 at 17:45

No, what you mention is not a good solution: way too many NS records.

In fact, so many that you risk exceeding the standard UDP packet size and forcing all clients to fallback to TCP, which has a huge performance and complexity drop. See RFC2182, Section 5.

It may be reasonable for you to employ multiple service providers, but if you do, make sure to use only a fraction of the servers of each, so as to end up with 3-5 NS records max in your delegation.

Pros for multiple service providers:

  • possibly better latencies at resolvers, if you pick geographically sparse providers
  • absolute uptime even if they have individual downtimes (unlikely)

Contra for multiple service providers:

  • added complexity
  • do you really need absolute DNS uptime?

As a side note, EveryDNS was bought out by DynDNS and discontinued in September 2011.

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