Centralized DNS for Faster, Safer and Easier Hosting
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Looking back 2 years ago at our promise to unleash a series of service enhancements after switching fully to Site Tools, we keep delivering! After launching the Ultrafast PHP, new MySQL setup on shared and cloud, SG Optimizer new features, and more, we have also reworked our DNS service to make it faster, safer, more flexible and easy to use than ever. Take a read at what we have done and how that affects your websites hosted on our platform.
What’s under the hood of our new DNS service
Let us first make a quick reminder – the DNS (domain name system) is what makes it possible for a domain name to open a specific website. This system indicates on which of all the servers in the whole internet your website is hosted. Usually, a specific set of 2 nameservers and 2 IPs correspond to each server and they should be added in your domain’s management panel for the system to work. Each server also has a DNS service installed on it that processes the DNS queries and shows the proper website when a visitor types your domain in the browser.
With our new centralized DNS setup we no longer need DNS service installed on each of our production servers that host your website. We are able to move all our DNS services to a completely separate cluster of multiple servers. This cluster is dedicated for DNS service only and is geographically dispersed around the globe thanks to the super cool Anycast network routing technology. Centralized DNS also allows us to have just one pair of nameservers and IPs for all the servers that SiteGround manages, and these are:
What are the benefits of our new DNS service
Faster Domain Resolving, Faster Website Loading
When a visitor searches for your website’s domain, the first thing that the browser does is make a DNS lookup to see on which IP the domain resolves and connects to the server with that IP. With the previous DNS setup lookup requests coming from a different continent from your server’s were handled a bit slower due to the physical distance between the visitor and the server resolving your domain. Now, with the centralized DNS which works on five different geographical locations and multiple instances, the resolving is handled by the closest node saving networking delays and improving your website loading speed.
As the new DNS setup relies on multiple geographically dispersed machines, it is extremely resilient. For example if one of the DNS servers goes down, the DNS requests would be handled by the second closest point, which is up and running. This setup also guards against DDoS attacks, as if there is a high amount of malicious traffic, it will be distributed among multiple DNS machines and it becomes much more difficult for such an attack to succeed. On top of that the DNS service is super scalable, and new machines can be added easily whenever there is a need for more resources.
If you are using your domain simultaneously for your hosting at SiteGround and other services too (for example your MX records are pointed to Gmail), having the DNS service hosted on a different location from your website has one more advantage. In case your hosting server goes down, your DNS will still work and your outside services will still resolve without being affected.
Seamless Migrations Between Servers
It’s part of our job to move data around – whether we transfer your account from an old hardware to a newer one, from cPanel server setup to machines with Site Tools setup, or from an old data center to Google Cloud infrastructure, migrations are something that happen and will continue to happen. Every time we migrate servers, one of the biggest challenges is handling the DNS zones. The new server comes with new nameservers and once websites get transferred, the domains have to be pointed to use the new nameservers. We have been updating them automatically for all domains managed via our control panels, but external domains needed manual change by webmasters. In both cases, there would be DNS propagation with potential downtime impact. With the new Centralized DNS it will be much easier to migrate and perform server upgrades in the future. In most of the cases such migrations would not involve any kind of DNS settings change thus preventing any issues caused by propagation.
More Convenience & Ease of Use for you
With the decentralized DNS, people managing multiple sites on different servers have to keep track of different sets of nameservers, which may be inconvenient. The new centralized DNS simplifies multiple web site management processes for our clients, as all domains of all sites hosted on our platform, regardless of their hosting account or server can now use the same pair of nameservers.
When will the new DNS service become available?
All new websites created on our platform are already using the new DNS service. For older websites, we are now starting a gradual switch to the new centralized DNS. We will be updating nameservers for all domains registered with us automatically. For external domains used with our system, we will be informing our clients by email, confirming when it will be safe to update their DNS settings to the new ones. The old DNS system will continue to be supported for several more months, till the migration to the new one is fully completed.