I'm starting a small web design shop. We does not have much money so we would like to keep our costs as low as possible.

All we need is a @ourcompany.com mail address and a few web pages to showcase our work and we are looking at Google Apps which gives enough functionality for us. However, to verify ownership of the domain to google apps, there are 2 possible ways:

  • Upload a file with special name to tell google that we have access.
  • Change a CNAME record to point to google.com to show that we do control the domain.

Both methods require a internet-facing machine with a fixed IP in which we have none.

So we are looking at free DNS services like zoneedit.com and such... which seems promising but we are concerned about security/reliability issues. So I thought I'd ask here first.

Do you recommends using a free DNS hosting and if so or if not, why?

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For real-live, actual DNS hosting, I have been loving ZoneEdit for more years than I can remember. Your first 5 domains are free, and the next are a small one-time cost. You can manage everything over the web and they do basic email and web hosting.

For these reasons, I would definitely recommend using DNS hosting.

  • Have you ever have any downtime/spam/hacking issues with zoneedit? – chakrit May 3 '09 at 20:01
  • me, no. Not in over 5 years. – saschabeaumont May 3 '09 at 22:53
  • I used to use <hn.org> exclusively. It was an awesome free service but that shut down a couple of years ago. Since then I also use ZoneEdit. Very solid & reliable. No noticable downsides. – Gareth May 3 '09 at 23:31
  • I've never had downtime, spam, or hacking issues with ZoneEdit. – jhs May 4 '09 at 3:13
  • 3
    Since about Oct 2010, ZoneEdit.com offers 2 free domains instead of 5 (unless you have bought credits before that time) – Roalt Dec 29 '10 at 9:20

I've used ZoneEdit for years and been happy with their service. However, due to some recent hiccups, I decided to try out some alternatives.

I spent a few months testing several DNS hosting companies that have a free option. It isn't definitive, but I tried all of these personally with my own domain.

These results only represent a recent snapshot of 8 days. Things can and often do change over time. But at least for this month, I would recommend Namecheap. In addition to free DNS services, they offer free email forwarding.

  1. Namecheap (avg response: 82 ms, std dev: 175 ms)
  2. ClouDNS (avg response: 93 ms, std dev: 319 ms)
  3. ZoneEdit (avg response: 91 ms, std dev: 280 ms)
  4. GeoScaling (avg response: 103 ms, std dev: 332 ms)
  5. XName (avg response: 117 ms, std dev: 325 ms)
  6. DNS Exit (avg response: 256 ms, std dev: 1025 ms)
  7. FreeDNS (avg response: 187 ms, std dev: 530 ms)
  8. Afraid (avg response: 223 ms, std dev: 1022 ms, over 20% downtime)

I have no affiliation with any of these services.



Along with EditDNS, EveryDNS has been discontinued.


DynDNS has been rock solid for me for years. I have had no reason to complain and I recommend it. Their documentation is excellent, and there are tons of clients there, both for Win32 and for unixy OSes. The way I read their Acceptable Use Policy, usage in your scenario (which is commercial usage) is OK with them.

That being said, you'll have much more flexibility running your own DNS server - you can create your own subdomains for example. Depending on your name registrar you might want to park the domain with them since they might offer tools for that.

  • Thanks for taking the time to look into the info about commercial usage :-) – chakrit May 3 '09 at 20:00

Someone is hosting the DNS for the domain now. If you look at the actual registration for the domain, name servers must be provided. When you register the domain, generally the registering company assigns their own name servers. There should be some way for you to add the CNAME entry using that mechanism.

  • My domain registrar has a DNS setup but I can only change them if I host my website with them... so... bummer ... – chakrit May 3 '09 at 19:58
  • Please identify the domain registrar, so that the rest of us can know to avoid it! – tomjedrz May 3 '09 at 20:30

Most registrars offer at least some level of basic DNS these days; someone's hosting your domain now, who is it? Failing that, ZoneEdit works pretty well.


I think www.dnsever.com is good. ZoneEdit provides only 2 free domains, but DNSEver.com has no limit about the number of domains.


I suggest the NS FREE package from Zerigo. It should be sufficient until you are profitable enough to upgrade. We use their more expensive packages with much success.


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