Chances are you already have a domain name registered with one of the several domain registrars and you have your website hosted somewhere else. (I always recommend you to have domains and web hosting in different buckets). When you had hosted your website, the hosting company would have given you something called name servers and asked you to configure it on your domain name. This basically does the job of pointing the domain name to the right server (That’s how it is explained to a layman). This is what I did when I got started as well.
But there is more to it. The name servers given by the hosting company do the job of converting the domain name to the relevant IP address. When you type in a domain name in the browser, the borwser looks up what the name servers are for the domain name and “asks” the name server for the IP address of the server. Once the browser gets the IP address, the files are loaded from the server which is hosted in that IP address.
This is similar to calling up a yellow page service and asking for a person’s phone number to contact him. The sooner you get the response, the faster you can call that person and talk to him.
If the name servers are not fast enough to fetch the IP address and give it to the browser, the website starts loading a bit late and affects user experience. Sometimes the name servers can be down due to a technical problem or too many requests and there will be no answer at all. That’s the time when you get the ‘Website Not Found’ error messages.
The reality is that the name servers provided by the domain registrar or the web hosting company are really not that responsive and you could be losing some visitors to your website when the name server is not doing its job well.
Amazon Route 53 and GoDaddy Premium DNS are two services which provide ultra high quality DNS services for small businesses and individual bloggers. These services can cost anywhere from $0.50 to $3 per month for normal users. I do not have any experience with GoDaddy Premium DNS but I have found Amazon Route 53 to be pretty impressive.
Amazon Route 53 Review
- The pricing is very competitive and you will be charged only $0.50 per million queries for the first 1 billion queries per month. Beyond that it is half price. The number of queries your domain name will get is roughy 4 times of your total unique visitors according to my experience.
- If you are changing your website’s servers, you need not change your name servers and wait for it to propogate through the globe. All you need to do is change the value of the A record to the new server’s IP. So the switch over can be quite fast.
- You can host different subdomains in different servers by pointing the sub domains to the respective server IPs. With the name servers provided by the hosting company its not that straight forward.
- Your MX (Mail Exchange) entries are configured here and not with the host. So your emails will have better uptime. Even if your web hosting is down, you will still get the emails on your domain name because Amazon Route 53 guarantees 100% uptime of their servers.
- The layout is simple and straight forward as shown in the figure below.
- You can get the usage reports without any hassle.
- After switching to Amazon’s Route 53, the report at IntoDNS.com does not show any errors at all. Previously it was showing some errors and when I asked my hosting company about it, they said not to worry but I preferred 0 errors.
If you are running a website like a hobby or you have a personal blog, you may not need the premium DNS services. But if you intend to host a website with any commercial intent, I recommend Route 53. The best part about Route 53 from Amazon is that there are no minimum charges or monthly subscription and you pay only for what you use. Almost all the Amazon Web Services are in this model and it excellent for small businesses and start ups. I wish more services in the world are in this billing model!