Backup DNS: Everything you need to know

So, do you want to be 100% sure that your domain is online? Backup DNS for your Primary DNS service is a handy addition that will make your DNS network broader. If you use a Backup DNS, you can add multiple nameservers that will be authoritative for your domain and answer queries.

What is a Backup DNS service?

Backup DNS service (Secondary DNS) is an additional DNS service that you can get from another DNS provider, different from your primary, with the goal to add extra redundancy. You can use extra nameservers as authoritative, and they can answer queries too.

How to update the Backup zone?

The zone file (all the DNS records) from the Primary DNS server could be copied with an automatic zone transfer (AXFR or IXFR).

Can I edit the DNS records inside the Secondary DNS?

The copy of the zone file will be a read-only copy that won’t allow you directly to write new information (add new DNS records) or delete. You will still control everything from the Primary DNS.

What benefits does the Backup DNS service have?

  • You will have a copy of the Primary DNS zone for easy migration and backup.
  • You will have more nameservers that can cover more territories and provide better service.
  • It shortens the distance between the clients and your servers. This will increase the speed of your domain resolution.
  • More servers mean you will be able to resist stronger DDoS attacks.
  • Redundancy. Even if the Primary DNS is down, the Backup will still answer queries as long as its DNS records are up to date.
  • Use it to hide the Primary DNS server. You can hide it and allow only the secondary nameservers to be visible.
  • Avoid single point of failure. If you have a single Primary DNS server, you are at a higher risk.

Can I use a Backup DNS to hide my Primary DNS?

Yes, you can use a Secondary DNS in a Hidden Primary configuration and hide the Primary DNS. That way, if attacks try to disrupt your network, they will be attacking the Secondary one.

What cons does the Backup DNS service have?

  • Additional cost. You will need to pay another monthly subscription for another DNS service.
  • If your Primary DNS is down for a long time, the DNS records inside your Backup DNS will expire, and it won’t be able to answer queries anymore until it updates the records from the Primary again.

Does the Backup DNS work only when the Primary DNS is down?

No. Both your Primary DNS and Secondary can answer queries at the same time. This increases the performance of your network and helps clients get faster responses.

What steps should you take to start using a Backup DNS service?

  1. First, go to your Primary DNS service. Go to its control panel and allow DNS zone transfers.
  2. Go to the Secondary DNS provider and create a Secondary DNS zone.
  3. Then go to your registrar (where you registered your domain name) and update the list of nameservers you have. Add the new servers.
  4. Go back to your Primary DNS provider and add NS records with the new nameservers.
  5. Finally, configure the zone transfer from the control panel of the Primary DNS.

Conclusion

Having a Backup DNS has a lot of benefits. It is relatively easy to set up and use. Second, you can get better performance for a small additional cost. Your client will appreciate the speed boost.

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