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 “example.com” than it is “220.127.116.11” (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.
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.
This is where our DNS cluster comes in. We have two separate nodes, one in Dallas, TX and another in Tampa, FL, that provide redundant DNS to our clients. If your website goes down, your DNS will still be functional as will your email in the Google example I provided above. Even a single DNS server outage would not have any impact on your domain in this case. It would take a rather catastrophic failure at both physical locations to result in a complete DNS outage, which is highly unlikely and has never been an issue for us. This will be further mitigated as we continue to add other physical locations to our cluster.
There is always a lot of focus on control panels, bandwidth, disk space, PHP, MySQL, etc. as far as web hosting is concerned. It is very important that you also consider a provider’s DNS when evaluating them. Without reliable DNS you might find your domain hopelessly unreachable. Rest assured, we have you covered on that front.