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Your Own Name Servers

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.

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