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
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
"firstname.lastname@example.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. soa.granitecanyon.com