Best way to keep web & email server 24x7 w/ DSL & 3rd party hosting company.

Posted on 2004-08-27
Last Modified: 2010-04-11
I have two internet connections for redundancy: 1 cable, 1 dsl. I also have a 3rd party hosting company. I would like to configure my connection so that minimally if my dsl connection is down (static ip), I can use the 3rd party hosting company to collect my emails and also display a basic web-site indicating our site is currently being worked on. I was thinking about running a secondary dns server on the 3rd party host with mx & a records for their server, and a primary dns server at our office with records pointing to our site in house? Not sure if the two dns would conflict as it would be for the same domain. I realize that the TTL would probably have to be 0.
Question by:FASTECHS
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Accepted Solution

mcp_jon earned 300 total points
ID: 11914006
Your right, the TTL should be set to 0.
No, both DNS on the same Network will have NO problem, because you can have many DNS servers in your network, used for larger companies, or, for your case, it should work just fine !

Best Regards

Assisted Solution

de11 earned 200 total points
ID: 11914577
I can tell you what I might do in your situation:
Using a 3rd party DNS provider such as Zone Edit ( and allows you to manage up to 5 domains Free, after that its very reasonable) you can run a Dynamic IP updater that will update zoneedit when your IP address changes or if your DSL service fails. Thus it will update zoneedit with the Cable service IP address.

This would of course require you to have both internet connects running at all times, and set up the server with Two Gateways. I.E. You have to routers with two static IP's ( and and set up your Server's TCP/IP settings with both gateways. Then you have to change the Metrics of each gateway so that the DSL is the preffered and thus only gateway used until it fails.

The IP address updater I use is call Direct Update and can update a plethora of Dynamic DNS providers as well as install it self as a Winnt Service. There are also others that will run on Linux/BSD.

When you have set this up you will be able to dynamically update any records you want, including MX records.

This will provide you seemless fail over to your secondary connection with out people sending you email or viewing your website even knowing.


Author Comment

ID: 11919597
Thanks everyone! de11, your design is interesting and I will definately implement to utilize the redundancy of the connections. I am also concerned with a situation in which recently we have had very stormy weather.  At my parent's house lightening struck causing all electronics to go, and most importantly the phone and cable to be down. I am wondering how I would configure the dns so that there is a redundant web connection. Kinda like this (1) try dsl, if no dsl try (2) cable, if no cable refer visitors to third party host where they would receive a temporary notice we are down and the host would also collect emails.

Assisted Solution

de11 earned 200 total points
ID: 11924368
The redundant web site might need some more thought. However with the Email issue, I know that offers a service that allows you to use their email server (which will forward the emails to your server) and if your server is down will hold the email until your server comes back online. Typically up to 5 days later.

Another thought was that in my expierences (I live in the city though) If you keep your DSL Modem and Cable modem on a UPS along with your server and other networking gear you can continue conectivity through power outages. With DSL especially the Central Office is backed up and will stay up.

Have you considered using a third party hosting provider for email and hosting? If cost was an issue I would think it would be justified by all the expenses of DSL/Cable.


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