Couple of years ago 3rd party DNS hosting was in boom, but for some unknown reason DNS hosting via 3rd party started to lose its ground. Surprisingly recently after few years of pause 3rd party DNS hosting once gain on the rise, credit might goes to increasing dependency and popularity of Cloud Hosting. There are growing numbers of DNS hosting providers who operates servers on various geographic locations that provide resilience and minimize latency for clients around the world. Good news for personal & small business is a lot of DNS hosting provider is free or partially free. Usually free DNS hosting includes facilities to manage A, MX, CNAME, TXT and NS records of the domain zone.
But why do you need DNS hosting, when most of the web hosting and registrar already has that for free? Well, many people justify using 3rd party DNS for reason such as – Redundant DNS hosting by web host, uptime guarantee, TTL control (as many web host DNS lacks it), more feature than web host, failover, load balancing and many more. But ultimately the key reason being 3rd party hosting is used more often is for better control over your Domain’s DNS. Anyway, there are a lot of opinions out there on the net some advocates 3rd party DNS hosting and some totally against the idea.
If you do opt to choose hosting your DNS after all those arguments and counter arguments, where will you host and what should be the deciding factor? Without argument Cloud based DNS hosting is on the rise and proven more efficient, so I will keep my discussion limited to cloud based DNS hosting providers. Here are the top 2 third party cloud based DNS hosting providers, according to my opinion (note: this list is not ultimate & final, just my own opinion and considered accurate at the time of writing)
Though it’s primarily classified as CDN, rather than DNS hosting provider, it’s one of the best out there. What makes CloudFlare so hot? Apparently their distributed DNS service which boosts your site’s performance & speed in addition to security puts it on the top of the list. High profile organizations like Turkish Government started to use CloudFlare not just because their site looks good.
CloudFlare provides both free and paid services. Free services incudes – globally distributed network, super simplified DNS management, secure redundant DNS, Anycast routing, Static content caching, basic server & email security, threat protection and many more. Paid service provides a bit more advance security features & threat challenge control in addition to free services. Both free & paid services include detail analytics which in addition to visitor analytics also monitor threats and search engine crawlers.
To explain and describe all the goodness of CloudFlare, we will need an entire post dedicated to it, which will be a bit out of perspective for this post. In the meantime we can just draw a conclusion that CloudFlare is on the top of the list of hosted DNS providers for – feature richness, performance, security & integrity.
Amazon Route 53
Route 53 is a globally distributed and scalable DNS service which let their users have an extremely reliable service but at a low cost. It gives programmatic access to controlling the service like adding, deleting or modifying DNS records. Those of us a bit tech savvy well aware of the extensive of Amazon’s server’s global reaches, so without a doubt we can say Route 53 is highly available service.
Rout 53 is lightning fast, quite easy to use (not as easy as CloudFlare but still the learning curves are ignorable) and has seriously low latency in terms of DNS queries. What makes Route 53 completely unique to its class is ability to manage through web dashboard and as well as API. Did I mention that Route 53 is completely integrated with Amazon web services yet can be also used outside of amazon infrastructure! Another unique and remarkable feature of Route 53 is ability to use AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) service along with Route 53 to control user specific DNS control rights.
In short we can summarize that Route 53 is highly scalable, simple, fast, secure and comes with Weighted Round-Robin (WRR), also known as DNS load balancing. It lacks the analytics, routing and threat challenge feature we saw in CloudFlare and you have to pay for your usage. Other than that Route 53 is totally rocking hosted DNS service provider, which makes it second best out there.