You've got a domain name and web hosting, maybe from different providers? How do you link them together? You could use nameservers, or you could use one of the best managed DNS hosting providers online!
Today we're taking a look at 5 tried and tested providers for hosting your DNS records, allowing you to make changes to your website records within minutes.
The old fashioned way of setting up web hosting for your website was nameservers, but managed DNS offers more features, often for free! (with paid upgrades)
Based in Sofia, Bulgaria Cloudns is a cloud based Managed DNS supplier, allowing users to manage and monitor their web traffic through a web-based dashboard in real time.
They manage 29 Anycast server locations around the world, including in Europe and the US but also Brazil, India, Hong Kong (with direct connectivity to mainland China), Australia and South Africa.
Features include email and web forwarding, choice of DNS zones and DNS statistic reports.
Cloudns has three different DNS products – Premium DNS, DDoS Protected DNS and Geo DNS. Each one comes with a free forever, basic plan and three paid versions.
Premium DNS start at $2.95 per month for the Small version and rises to $4.95 for Medium and $14.95 for Large, each with increasing levels of servers, zones, records and queries.
DDoS Protected DNS comes with the same features as the Premium plan but with added DDoS (dedicated denial of service) protection. Prices start at $5.95 per month, rising to $11.95 and then $39.95, again with varying levels of features.
GeoDNS meanwhile comes with all of the DDoS features plus multiple geolocation targets and is available in monthly Start ($9.95), Business ($44.45) and Professional ($79.95) levels, with up to 1 billion DNS queries.
San Francisco based Cloudflare provides DNS services, but also provides content delivery network (CDN) services and other internet security products, and is used by many of the most popular websites.
Its premium DNS has built in dedicated denial of Service (DDoS) protection, which is unmetered and unlimited. Cloudfare’s network capacity is 15 times the size of the largest ever DDoS attack, allowing for plenty of breathing space.
It also features Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC), adding an extra layer of protection and safeguarding websites from “man in the middle” attacks.
Cloudfare have one of the largest server networks available, with servers in 200 cities in 95 countries, including substantial coverage in areas such as the Caribbean, Latin American, the Middle East, Africa and mainland China.
This results in 100 % uptime and an average DNS connection speed of 11 milliseconds. Other features include load balancing, user permission tools and 24/7 global support.
Cloudflare has Free, Pro, Business and Enterprise price plans.
The Free plan is suitable for individuals and comes with basic features. The Pro version is priced at $20 per month, whilst the Business plan is $200 per month, and comes with DDoS Mitigation, a content delivery network, enhanced security features and email support within 2 hours.
Enterprise plans are available on request for larger applications.
3. Namecheap PremiumDNS
The DNS service from domain registrar Namecheap has a service level agreement guaranteeing 100% uptime. If a user’s website is inaccessible due to a problem with Namecheap’s network, Namecheap will provide compensation for every day that the service is not met.
Namecheap don’t divulge too much detail regarding their serving network, merely stating service is provided from globally distributed anycast locations.
It has some solid security features too, including two factor authentication and DNNSEC to protect against malicious attacks, although there is no mention of DDoS protection which is offered by other providers.
Namecheap also offers Dynamic DNS and Secondary DNS, which offers a back up nameserver in the event of a problem with the primary, as well as advanced analytics reports. All features can be managed through a central dashboard.
Namecheap has a simple pricing structure for its DNS – Free, Basic and Premium. Free and Basic are free forever, whilst Premium is $4.88 a year, renewing at $9.98.
Premium comes with some added features and security such as 2 million monthly queries (versus 500,000 and 1 million for Free and Basic), DNNSEC and the 100% uptime guarantee.
And its all backed up with Namecheap customer service, including 24/7 live chat and ticketed support, and an extensive knowledge base with video tutorials, articles and documentation.
ZoneEdit is one of the oldest DNS providers, stared back in 2000. It is a Managed DNS, allowing users to manage traffic to their websites and control all record types in real time.
It also provides Dynamic DNS for connections without static IPs, and allows domains to be used for email forwarding with MX Spooling for mail backup.
ZonEdit makes no mention of the size of its server network, nor its location, only sating that an account comes with access to 3 nameservers.
ZoneEdit also has a complicated pricing strategy, based on credits. Each DNS zone requires monthly credits to stay active, with any traffic charged at additional credits. Additionally, each product also costs credits.
For instance, a managed DNS costs 1 credit per month, whilst a Tertiary DNS is an extra credit per month, and a Backup MX is another credit per month.
Credits are available to purchase in 7 different packs. A 1 credit pack costs $1.40, whilst a 5 pack is $5, a 36 credit pack costs $30, up to a 1200 pack which costs $500.
Support is limited to an online form and a community support forum, with various threads and topics.
NS1 offer four DNS related products – Managed, Dedicated, Private and Managed DNS for China.
The Managed DNS uses NS1’s Filter Chain technology, allowing for easily customised traffic management, with all traffic routed through their global Anycast server network, built and operated by NS1.
A number of integrations are available, as well as process automation tools, real time monitoring and analytics and DNNSEC security.
The Dedicated DNS comes with all of the same features as the Managed DNS, but is located on a dedicated server network, physically and logically separate from any other DNS and is custom built for every customer.
Private DNS meanwhile, is a self-hosted, software only DNS, suitable for large scale applications with complex infrastructures.
NS1 are also the only DNS provided that provide a managed DNS specifically for China specific domain names, with Name Server Acceleration to get past Chinese firewalls and delivery nodes located in key Chinese cities.
All Enterprise plans come with a dedicated account manager, with 24/7 phone and email support. There is also chat based migration and integration support, an extensive online help centre and blog, and a network status page, outlining any incidents and outages on NS1’s side.
All pricing is available on request. There are free demos available of all products, as well as a free Developer Plan.