While it may sound like a secondary DNS provider is a backup to your primary DNS provider… It’s actually when you have two providers that are authoritative for answering your queries.
Think of it as an extra set of name servers that are authoritative for your domain(s). Whenever you query a domain with Secondary DNS enabled, you will have a 50/50 chance of seeing the nameservers for each provider.
In a basic, single provider DNS configuration all users will be answered by the provider’s nameserver set. History has shown us that this is not a reliable practice, as this leaves domains vulnerable to single provider outages.
If a DNS provider is unavailable, all of its clients’ domains will not resolve. It actually happens more often than you would think. There are dozens of DNS provider outages every year with downtime ranging from a few minutes to entire days.
But there is hope! Savvy admins that use more than one DNS provider are able to withstand these kinds of outages because there are multiple nameserver sets authoritative for their domains.
If one of the providers were to be unavailable, resolving nameservers would only send query traffic to the available nameserver set. All of this happens automatically with no appreciable effects to end users.
Query traffic is split evenly across both providers’ nameservers. The secondary provider receives all the zone updates from the primary.
This is the easiest strategy both for setup and maintenance. Instantly double the number of authoritative nameservers for your domains and enjoy immediate updates.
Hidden primary is also referred to as a Master / Slave configuration because only one set of name servers actually answers queries, the secondary nameservers. However, those nameservers are not shown when you query that domain. Rather, the world will see the nameservers of the hidden primary.
This configuration allows you to run your DNS in-house, but propagate to the cloud when needed. Hybrid configurations benefit from the security of on-prem while also that of an Anycast network: global scalability, cost effectiveness, and can be turned up in an instant.
A primary/primary setup means you have two providers equally authoritative for your domain. This is the most popular and widely used configuration, especially among large-scale domains.
This is the only technique that can be used with services that aren’t RFC compliant. Overall, the best technique for faster and more accurate query routing.
Primary/primary also works great with CDN’s, because it allows for region-specific routing.
First, you’ll need to transfer your zone file information from your primary to your secondary provider. Depending on the strategy you chose, you will do this manually through an API or a provider’s control panel.
Just like when you change DNS providers, you will need to add the appropriate NS (nameserver) records with a list of both nameserver sets at each provider.
Tell your registrar the nameserver set(s) that are authoritative for your domains.
Whenever you make an update to your primary provider, the primary will automatically update the secondary provider. If you are using a primary/primary then you will need to update both providers with the same configurations.
Tutorial: Learn how to setup Secondary DNS in the DNS Made Easy Control panel.Learn how
New Study: 65% of top retail domains are vulnerable to single DNS provider outages.Read more
More domains are using multiple DNS providers after recent devastating outages.Read more
Webinar: Secondary DNS is no longer just a backup plan. Four strategies to try and exclusive Q&A with Founder Steven Job.Watch now