Article: Your Own Name Servers

by Richard Lowe


I've gotten downright tired of moving my site again and again. It
seems there are no competent hosting companies anywhere on the
planet. I don't ask for much. In addition to the usual features
for a paid web host, I just want my site to be up and relatively
quick. Downtime should be measured in hours per year, and at it's
slowest the site should respond in less than half a second.

So far I haven't found a single hosting company that even comes
close. I've tried about a dozen different firms, and they've all
come up short. In fact, the most important rule of any web host
is violated on a regular basis time and again. The sites are down
and very slow. Virtually anything else can be tolerated, except
for downtime.

Finally I sat back one day and thought long and hard about my
options. I was getting very frustrated with my current hosting
company because the server was timing out on occasion, causing my
sites to become unavailable for a few minutes here and a few
minutes there.

I started looking for hosts and saw a word that caught my eye. The
word was "dedicated". Now that was a thought a whole machine all
to myself. There was some appeal to that thought, but the price
was too high, or at least I thought so at the time.

Looking closer into the concept, I found a dedicated hosting
service that was actually reasonably priced. For a couple of
hundred dollars a month I had a web and mail server all to myself.
Yes, I know that sounds high when compared to a shared hosting
service, but remember this included an incredible amount of
bandwidth, lots of disk space and plenty of power.

I paid for the first month and soon discovered the server had it's
own name server software. This meant I no longer had to deal with
an ISP for name server services.

What's so good about that? Well, as an example, some time ago I
wanted to install Bigmailbox on a site. This would have allowed my
visitors to have a mailbox named "theirname@renaissancefaire.org".
I thought this would be a pretty cool service to offer my
visitors.

The ISP would not make the change necessary to install this
feature. The change requires about 1 minute, yet they would not do
it. Not even for a charge. With access to my own name server I
could have made this change myself. It's very simple really. Just
a one line modification.

Another thing I wanted to do on occasion is create subdomains. For
example, wallpaper.renaissancefaire.org. This would allow me to
create sites within sites in a logical, easy to remember format.

Most of my previous ISPs would not allow me to make these changes.
One of them wanted to charge 10 per change. Ten dollars for a one
minute modification. Now I can do this kind of thing myself, as
often as I want.

Another change that I've wanted to make also involved subdomains,
but with a twist. I wanted to create a subdomain of
search.renaissancefaire.org which called up a search engine on
everyone.net. My old ISPs would not make this change not one of
them. Yet it was a simple one line entry in the nameserver. Now I
can make these changes myself.

But a problem soon introduced itself. You see, the name server is
actually entered into the domain definition at the domain
registrar. This more or less informs the internet where to find
your site, email server, subdomains and so on.

Registrars require at least two name servers. My site only had
one. I could have defined two by asking my dedicated hosting
company for another IP address, but this had a problem. The reason
for requiring two name servers is redundancy. If both IP addresses
are on the same machine, then that redundancy does not exist.

I needed another name server somewhere else on the internet. A
little searching and I found one.

http://soa.granitecanyon.com/

This is a free service which allows people with exactly the same
problem that I was facing to create their own name server entries.
You simply enter the domain name, your email address and the raw
DNS server table for the domain. These DNS server tables are a
little tricky to set up, but the service provides excellent
documentation and will not allow an invalid entry to be set up.

So what do you do? You create your entries at this service, then
modify your domain at the registrar to use them (wait a couple of
days after defining them, however).

I believe you can use this service even if you host your site on
a normal shared host (and possibly even a free host). You would
need to set up your site normally and get the ISP to set up their
name servers as appropriate. Once that was done, you could go to
granitecanyon.com and define your own name server entries, then
proceed to the registrar a couple of days later to use those
entries. Theoretically this should work fine.

What is the bottom line? If you are using a dedicated host or you
want to gain some measure of control over your name servers, you
can now do so. This will enable you to do what you need without
paying high costs or begging your ISP for a favor.

To see a list of article available for reprint, you can send an
email to:
mailto:articlelist@internettips.net?subject=send_article_list
or visit
http://internettips.net/requestarticles.htm





About the Author


Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets
at http://www.internettips.net Visit our website any time to
read over 1,000 complete FREE articles about how to improve your
internet profits, enjoyment and knowledge.


Related Resources

Resources