What is Managed DNS?

There’s no way of getting around it. If you have a domain and want people to find it, you need DNS. But not just any DNS will do. For businesses at any level, you’re best served with a managed DNS service, and that is what this blog is all about.

What is DNS?

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical naming convention designed to help devices communicate. Its main purpose is to convert human language into computer language. In other words, DNS takes a domain name like and translates it into an IP address like The IP address is where your domain is actually located and how your website is found online. 

DNS Servers

Okay, so that’s the ‘what’ of DNS. Let’s take a quick look at the ‘how’ of it. What makes the DNS process possible is the nameservers involved:

1. Recursive Nameserver:

The recursive nameserver, also known as a resolver, is what is responsible for answering an internet user’s query or request for a specific website or online resource. Every DNS lookup starts here. Recursive servers can answer queries directly if the information is in their cache, or they will contact another server to get the answer.

2. Root Nameserver:

These servers operate in the root zone. They don’t resolve queries directly, but rather, they provide the requesting server with important information regarding the domain in question. It’s the root server that holds the location of all the TLD nameservers.

3. TLD Nameserver:

The top level domain (TLD) nameserver is where the recursive server learns which nameserver is authoritative for a particular domain. TLD servers contain all domain names with common extensions (.com, .org, .net, .gov, etc.). 

4. Authoritative Nameserver:

The authoritative nameserver is the server that holds the most up-to-date information on a given domain and is what provides the final (authoritative) answer of a domain’s location. This is how recursive servers know where to send a user.

DNS Query Process - DNS Lookup

Each of the above servers is critical in the DNS process. And while there are several moving parts to a DNS lookup, it all happens within a matter of milliseconds. 

Tip: Visit our blog on authoritative and recursive DNS to learn more. 

Why Do You Need Managed DNS Services?

To reiterate, without DNS your domain will just be floating around in cyberspace with no way of being reached by users. That said, many web hosting companies (think GoDaddy or similar) include free DNS with their product. 

On the surface, that sounds great. 

But the truth is, free isn’t usually a good enough solution for businesses—especially mid-sized and enterprise-level companies. Managed DNS provides more advanced, custom solutions for domains. DNS providers also typically run on stronger infrastructure, have faster speeds, and are more reliable than their free counterparts.

Let’s break this down.

Free vs Premium DNS 

One of the biggest factors to consider with free DNS is usage restriction. More often than not, free accounts have severe limitations for queries and other common DNS features. Overages can come with a hefty price tag and many companies bombard you with upselling solicitations. 

While not always the case, free DNS services aren’t as private or secure as those managed by premium providers. This can be due to inferior infrastructure, security holes in software, or lack of expertise—especially true with companies that don’t specialize in DNS. To maintain the “free” service, some companies will also sell your data. 

Whatever you do, read the fine print carefully to ensure you know what you’re getting into. 

That goes for free and premium DNS. Aside from usage overages on free features, hidden costs are often attached to paid services as well, so do your due diligence before making a final DNS decision for your organization.    

Free vs Paid authoritative DNS

Best DNS Features

There is no one-size-fits-all DNS solution. Every company has its own unique needs. But there are some features that every business can benefit from. Let’s take a look at the top 5:

1. DNS Failover

Failover is hands down the simplest and most cost-effective way to protect your domain from server outages and performance issues.

2. Secondary DNS

Even though we have the longest uptime history in the industry, we are still advocates of Secondary DNS. This is the only solution that can protect your domain from provider-related outages.

3. Traffic Management/Optimization

In today’s online marketplace, having a traffic management solution like our Global Traffic Director in place is crucial to your domain’s success. With a traffic management solution, you can optimize your traffic based on end-user location and ensure the fastest, most accurate query resolution possible.

4. Round Robin Load Balancing

Round Robin load balancing is a tried and true, highly effective method of boosting the speed and performance of your resources, as well as ensuring none of them become overloaded. Round Robin lets you cycle traffic evenly among all your endpoints and pairs perfectly with other DNS services like Failover and Secondary DNS.

5. DNS Analytics

DNS Analytics is perhaps the most under-utilized and underrated tool in DNS. Granted, this option isn’t available at all at most providers, but once you are exposed to the power DNS analytics puts at your disposable, you’ll never want to use a provider that doesn’t offer them again. 

6. Threat Detection

While there are plenty of third-party threat detection services, utilizing a product like our Real-time Traffic Anomaly Detection (RTTAD) protects your domain at the DNS level by monitoring and learning your unique traffic patterns with AI and machine learning. 

Things To Look For In a Managed DNS Provider

DNS isn’t just a service, it’s the lifeline of your domain. That means choosing the right DNS partner is crucial. You want to select a provider that offers advanced, flexible solutions that not only fit your organization’s needs today, but that can scale with you in the future. You also want to ensure your provider has stable, state-of-the-art infrastructure, consistently fast speeds, high uptime history, and impeccable customer service. With all those things in place, your domain will reap the benefits.

Schedule a demo with our DNS experts today to see how DNS Made Easy can help your organization. Here, you’re not a customer—you’re a partner!

Related Resources:

Free vs. Paid Authoritative DNS

What is a root server? Definition and mechanics

Heather Oliver
Heather Oliver is a Technical Writer for Constellix and DNS Made Easy, subsidiaries of Tiggee LLC. She’s fascinated by technology and loves adding a little spark to complex topics. Want to connect? Find her on LinkedIn.

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