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Tanya Valdez is a Technical Writer at Constellix. She makes the information-transfer material digestible through her own transfer of information to our customers and readers. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
Secondary DNS servers add a duplicate set of zone files that store your domain’s resources. This adds an extra layer of redundancy to your website since they are housed on another DNS provider’s server. If one of them experiences an outage, your domain and your pockets won’t have to suffer.
We have many resources with helpful information about Secondary DNS services, but there are still some common misconceptions about the service. We have compiled a few that we hear most often to help set the record straight.
Fact: A backup DNS would indicate there is only one active system at a given time and the backup would take over only if the primary is down. Having Secondary DNS provides the domain with additional active, authoritative servers to answer queries at a given time, not a “backup” server.
Fact: Similar to the other myth, in a Secondary DNS configuration, there are two or more systems always authoritative for answering queries. Resolving nameservers send traffic to the authoritative nameservers using Round Robin. That way traffic is equally distributed across both sets.
Fact: There is a misconception that Secondary DNS can be outside your budget, but this is not necessarily true. Customers with Secondary DNS are paying for the same amount of queries. It’s important to pay attention to features and products and their price tags that come along with them for each provider to ensure you are getting the best DNS management service for the best price. Plus, there are highly notable savings that come along with outage prevention strategies that can have long-term side effects due to a negative brand reputation, so make sure to look into the providers’ outage history while you’re at it.
Fact: This goes hand-in-hand with our previous myth. Any website that generates revenue should look into investing in redundancy. Secondary DNS is a cost-effective solution that ensures you never experience monetary losses that are a direct result of website inaccessibility.
Fact: Unfortunately, not all DNS providers offer or are able to support this feature. Non-RFC compliant solutions don’t always have the ability to be replicated over a traditional primary-secondary AXFR relationship. Some providers, such as Constellix, offer integrations that can make this possible. And for those that are RFC compliant and choose not to support secondary DNS at all, your interests may not be their ultimate priority.
Did You Know? Brands that use more than one DNS provider have completely avoided downtime and performance degradation when one of the providers has experienced an outage.
End users should have an alternate path to ensure that they get to your resources and having an extra set of nameservers does just that. Not only does Secondary DNS provide another route for queries, but it also builds a preference to the DNS provider with the fastest speeds for a better end-user experience.
Have a question? Constellix helps maintain connections. Book a free demo to see what configurations would best suit your needs in creating healthy, end-user experiences.
Here are some more great resources to help strengthen your DNS strategy:
What is a CDN?
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