Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Importance of Redundant DNS

In a nutshell, the Domain Name System (DNS) acts as a phone book that allows you to easily find the IP address that is associated with a particular domain. For example, it is much easier to remember “” than it is “” (IPv4) or even “2606:2800:220:6d:26bf:1447:1097:aa7” (IPv6). This is critical functionality that every internet user depends on, often without even realizing it. DNS is likewise a critical part of any hosting provider’s services. It does little good if your web servers and email servers are online if your DNS servers are not. Your domain will not be functional.

Domain names and internet concept

It is for this reason that we provide a geographically redundant DNS cluster for all of our clients to use. In the past it was common for all of a domain’s services (web, email, etc.) to be hosted on a single server. As such, it didn’t matter too much if the DNS was also hosted on this same single server because it was largely a case of it all being online or not. Today, though, it is very common for users to host their websites, email, and other services in different places. The most common, of course, is hosting email off site with Google (Gmail) or another such provider. If you’re using a hosting provider that hosts DNS on the same server as your website, then you will lose all services if your website goes down since the DNS will not function. This is why it is important to host DNS separately and redundantly such that an outage like this does not occur. This prevents a website outage from turning into a complete domain outage. Continue reading

Behind the Scenes: Switches, VPN & RDP

As a continuation of our “Behind the Scenes” blog series I wanted to highlight some maintenance that we’ve completed over the past two weeks.


For starters, we’ve gone through all of our switches and have applied firmware updates as necessary. For the most part these were relatively minor but some did address potential denial of service vulnerabilities. Overall this helps us to avoid problems in the future and keeping up with new updates is generally a good idea anyways. These updates went off without a hitch thanks to our ability to first test them on equivalent spares that we keep on hand. Hardware failing in some form or another is simply a fact of life and we plan for this by building in redundancy and keeping spares on hand. We make sure to have full configuration backups for all of our switches should they need to be restored. On key switches the spares are even pre-loaded with the current configuration and powered on in-cabinet such that only swapping of network cabling would be necessary to recover from a failure. As great timing would have it, our data center also performed similar maintenance this morning on their networking equipment per our scheduled network maintenance announcement. This was likewise completed without issue. Continue reading