September 10, 2012 11:55 AM   Subscribe

GoDaddy.com is down, along with most domains that host with them or use their DNS services. Apparently due to an attack by Anonymous or an Anonymous member. I have a few questions about DNS.

Years ago, I purchased domains, hosting and DNS services from GoDaddy. Over the past couple of years, I've moved all of my hosting elsewhere (Webfaction FTW!), but I left registration and DNS at GoDaddy out of convenience.

GoDaddy's been down for more than an hour, so DNS is on my mind. A few questions:

1. Is it possible to set up DNS hosting for my domains elsewhere while all of godaddy is down (including their DNS and domain-management tools)?
2. Would it have been possible for me to have a secondary DNS server or some other kind of failover DNS that would have kept my domains online in the event of such an outage?
3. In the longer term, let's say I want to wash my hands of GoDaddy, completely (I do). I have a bunch of domains that are registered through GoDaddy, and all of them rely on GoDaddy's DNS servers, but none of them are hosted with GoDaddy. What would I need to do to move everything off of GoDaddy, and do you have any recommendations for a better company to work with?

posted by syzygy to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Just as a data point: my domains use Godaddy's DNS services, but are not hosted with them. For now they are both up.
posted by bswinburn at 12:04 PM on September 10, 2012

Response by poster: bswinburn: Make sure you clear your DNS cache and try again. I've seen several people claim that their sites relying on GoDaddy DNS services were online, only to realize later that that was not the case.

If you're on windows, open a command prompt and type the following: ipconfig /flushdns

Then try to reach your domains again. By the way, this outage is being reported by mashable, techcrunch and other major tech media outlets right now.
posted by syzygy at 12:06 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

To answer number 3, I like NameCheap. Their domain transfer process is easy.
posted by bedhead at 12:07 PM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Hmm...it's possible my DNS cache is old, but in that case I'm going to live with it. I sorta want to be able to get to my websites.
posted by bswinburn at 12:13 PM on September 10, 2012

Response by poster: @bswinburn: If you want to see whether your domains are reachable for the outside world, you can use one of a number of sites online to check. http://www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com/ works pretty quickly, for instance.
posted by syzygy at 12:20 PM on September 10, 2012

The domains where I've got DNS hosted on godaddy is down for me as well, so yeah, this is a problem.

To answer your questions:
1. Not easily, since you'll normally need an authorization code from the current provider to move the registration somewhere else. (I imagine this might be overruled by the "owners" of the suffix, e.g. Network Solutions for .com, but who knows.)
2. Sure, just google "free secondary DNS". After you've registered a secondary DNS and added the servers to the domain registration you can check with the "whois" command (or one of the whois websites) which servers are listed for your domain. It is not a proper failover mechanism, but if the DNS server(s) with the highest priority doesn't answer the second will be probed and so on.
3. Already answered by bedhead it seems.
posted by Baron Humbert von Gikkingen at 12:20 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ok, I flushed the DNS on my itouch, nuked all the network settings in fact, and I can still get to my webpages on that. I used ATT's DNS servers in the greater LA area, which ever those are, so they seem to be handling the problem for now.

Onpreview: downforeveryoneorjustme.com says my sites are up for everyone. I swear, I'm using godaddy.
posted by bswinburn at 12:22 PM on September 10, 2012

Response by poster: @bedhead: Thanks for the namecheap recommendation. These are mostly business domains, and when they're down we (or our customers) are loosing money. I'll look into namecheap, but the name itself makes me feel a little queasy. I'd prefer namestrong, for instance ;-)

Sersiously, I'm looking for quality and reliability, first. Price is secondary.
posted by syzygy at 12:23 PM on September 10, 2012

1. There's likely nothing you can do right now: your basic domain registration contains a list of the DNS servers that should be used to do lookups for your domain (i.e., whois example.com will have a nameservers section). You can't change that with GoDaddy being down, and, even if GoDaddy's registrar services were available, propagation of that change can take a day.

2. There are a variety of backup DNS services available (for example, BackupDNS, which I used for a while). Just google for "backup dns service" to get some options. These services basically run a DNS server that will be a slave to your primary. You'll need to configure your primary to allow zone transfers to the backup dns service; that'll depend on what you're using, and should be easy to do.

3. You can use almost anyone else for registrar services (e.g., Hover.com). You can use almost anyone else for DNS services (e.g., DNSMadeEasy). These don't have to be the same entity, though there might be some convenience if they were. Dedicated DNS companies like DNSMadeEasy may have better DNS management tools and options (e.g., HTTP redirection) than a registrar that happens to provide DNS services.
posted by chengjih at 12:24 PM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

NameCheap is very reliable - we use them for all of our business domains as well and I've never had any problems or downtime.
posted by bedhead at 12:35 PM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

3. I shill for my host all the time because I love them like my children - check out ICDSoft. I've used them for 10 years and never had noticeable downtime, support tickets are usually responded to within minutes, they keep their servers updated with the latest software, etc.
posted by TallulahBankhead at 12:41 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Namecheap is an industry standard, MUCH MORE SO than GoDaddy. Myself and just about every hosting or design company I know will absolutely NOT deal with GD, in fact I charge a hefty surcharge to clients who have purchased hosting before coming to me, just because I hate them so very, very, very much.

I am currently hosting ~15 sites on my lone NC account, zero issues and zero downtime.

Apparently part of the issue sometimes is that GD is so big and handles so many DNS requests, that they do things like blackhole redirect malware links and such at the rest of governmental agencies and folks like Symantec/Kaspersky/etc.

But yes, you can transfer anything you want to anyone you want, regardless of who your hosting is through. Any time I've transferred to NC, it's been live within 15 minutes, same with the opposite direction. I have NEVER EVER EVER had GoDaddy transfers go through in less than a day. EVER.
posted by TomMelee at 12:48 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

To re-iterate what chengjih said in point 3:

Registrar and DNS hosting are not the same thing. Most registrars offer DNS hosting, but you aren't forced to use it. This also means that you do not need to transfer the registration of your domains to a different registrar in order to move the DNS service. Nor do you need to care how good a potential registrar's DNS service is, if you want to change in the future. It's fine if you want to ditch GoDaddy altogether (I don't use GoDaddy and don't really have an opinion on them). But don't be confused: you can avoid the current problem simply by moving your DNS to a proper DNS host, without transferring your domains off of GoDaddy. (This is, however, not going to be possible if GoDaddy's management interface is down, because you need to change the name servers for the domain.)

My opinion is that for anything beyond a basic personal site (where downtime doesn't really matter, and performance is a non-issue), you should have your DNS run by a competent DNS company (or maybe your web host, depending), and not tie it to your domain registration. It's pretty cheap (probably included if you use your web host, but for a business site I don't even think that's a great idea), and well worth it. Not only will you likely get better service, but you'll be able to move your registration or DNS later without having to also change the other one.
posted by primethyme at 1:27 PM on September 10, 2012

Best answer: Namecheap is a great registrar, but I wouldn't recommend hosting your primary DNS there. Their DNS is free, not something they seem to focus on, and they do have servers drop out and get DDOSed from time to time. You want one of the big services with good redundancy and AnyCast.

When we had DNS on Namecheap, we set up Route53 so that when Namecheap acted up, we just crossed our fingers & cut over (Namecheap makes this really easy, too). There are a bunch of DNS providers that are nicely self-service, too. Check out http://blog.cloudharmony.com/2012/08/comparison-and-analysis-of-managed-dns.html for a pretty extensive (and recent!) review of the major players.
posted by jenh at 6:35 PM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by yoyo_nyc at 8:16 PM on September 10, 2012


GoDaddy has become a terrible company and has made itself a target. I would be irresponsible for a business to stay with them.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 8:29 PM on September 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. After researching the various options, I'm leaning toward going with namecheap for registration, dyn.com for premium DNS (for our most important domains) and WebFaction.com (our host) for DNS on less important domains.

jenh: Thanks for the pointer to the article, as well as the advice and personal experience. Dyn comes out looking quite good in the comparison, and their pricing seems reasonable to me. All of the sites we run have PageSpeed scores in the high 90's. We're dedicated to high performance, and dyn's numbers look great there.

yoyo_nyc: Agreed 100%. I've wanted out of GoDaddy for some time, but inertia is a powerful obstacle to overcome.
posted by syzygy at 2:50 AM on September 11, 2012

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