Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rackspace Step 5: Updating the DNS

It's been a while since I posted on my work with moving all my sites over the rackspace, it's been summer and the start of the school year for my kids. The task I intermittently focused on through the summer was to move my domain name hosting over to rackspace. Its great that rackspace also provides a DNS based cloud service, and I like the management console available to manage your DNS.

 
Moving DNS servers may not be so simple
Usually you would think that changing DNS servers would be a simple, and it should be. Depending on where you start and who "controls" the ability to update, things may not go as smoothly as you would like. I mention this because without a good move of your DNS your site may disappear from the internet for a period of time. What I want to say is, "When moving your DNS it is important that you monitor the move closely". This is what happened to me and a similar series of events could happen to you;
  1. I logged into my previous providers domain hosting console and changed the domain name server for the domain I was moving. I was prompted the save was successful.
  2. I went back to the console to see what name servers were assigned to the domain, it was still the old names. I figured this was OK because name server changes need to be updated through-out the internet to truly complete.
  3. A couple days later I logged into the domain hosting console to check the name associated with the name server of the domain. It was still set to the old name server. Naturally, I tried again to update it myself. And again I got a confirmation of the change.
  4. I got busy and a few days later I checked the names again and my DNS was still pointing at the old name server. I wrote an email to tech support, sent it off and waited.
  5. Almost immediately, I got confirmation of my query and was assigned a tracking number for the issue. A few days later nothing, so I phoned... I did speak to someone and they confirmed they had made the change, to the correct domain name. I was adamant about this and they confirmed the correct domain name.
  6. The next morning I logged into my domain hosting console and discovered they had made the name server changes to the incorrect domain. 
There is really no point in going any further with this description, and eventually I got it all cleared up. Needless to say, all this was only confirming I was doing the right thing to be moving away from netnation as my hosting provider. Don't get me wrong, netnation has provided me with many years of very stable hosting. Its just my needs have changed and the cost savings provided by cloud based services are too strong to ignore. The main lesson learned is when making changes to things DNS related you need to monitor it very closely, particularly when their are intermediaries involved...

Suggested Reading
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_Name_System
http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/blog/2009/06/04/dns-the-overlooked-cloud-service/
http://www.rackspace.com/knowledge_center/index.php/Managing_DNS

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