DNS host

Posted on 2012-09-11
Last Modified: 2012-09-11
I need some Expert opinions!

I recently moved nameservers for our domain from Network Solutions to GoDaddy. Unfortunately yesterday GoDaddy experienced what may have been a DDoS attack, with it taking down our websites and email for most of the business day. A lot of orders come through our website and email so needless to say, we can't afford for this to happen again.

Today, I contacted Verisign and Neustar who both claim 100% uptime and the ability to thwart DDoS attacks. For this level of service, they charge $200-$300 per month versus about $10 per month I was paying with NetSol and GoDaddy.

Of course the extra cost is worth our business being up all the time. But is the claim of 100% uptime realistic? Am I just as safe with any domain hosting service? Should I just stay put and expect to have my domain host go offline and lose a day or two of business each year?

Your experiences and opinions are appreciated!
Question by:undejj
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    This discussion (below) has an answer that gives you a state of the real world uptime of the web's sites:
    LVL 23

    Assisted Solution

    Well I think your answer is in your question.

    If you only lose 1 day a year with godaddy (and honestly I dont think it would even be that much) then get an estimate of how much money you lost that day.

    Now $200 a month x 12 = $2400 - $120 (for the money you spend anyway) which equals about $2280.

    Did you lose more than $2280 with that day of downtime?  If not then it makes sense to stay put.  If you lost more than $2280 then it makes sense to move to someone with an SLA of 100% uptime.

    Another option (which makes more sense) is to have multiple DNS hosts.  Maybe two $10 a month hosts (I like  This way if one goes down the other would still be answering for your domain.
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution

    Read the SLA documentation very carefully for anyone who is claiming 100% uptime.  Due to the expense, 100% uptime is unrealistic.  SLA's like that often have clauses that exclude planned down time, etc.  

    Not to mention what happens if they are hacked, etc.  And no one is 100% hack-proof.

    In a case like this, you need to do a cost/benefit analysis.  How much money is it worth it to you to make sure you have uptime in varying degrees.  

    Part of that is looking at how many sales you probably lost, but also add a factor in for how many people came to browse your site even if they weren't ready to buy, etc.

    Then you need to consider your risk tolerance.  For example:

    99.9% reliability ("3-nines" - which is a little under 9 hrs per yr)
    99.99% reliability (4-nines - or less than 1 hr per year)
    99.999% reliability (5-nines - or just over 5 mins per year)

    Many companies would find 4 or 5 nines uptime acceptable, but it really depends on your business model.  

    Then consider how you can mitigate your risks. E.g., multiple DNS hosts.  

    Then look around at who can provide the kind of reliability that you require and find out whether their prices make sense for the reliability you require.

    But if the issue is your site being up, you really need to look at more than just DNS SLA's.  You need to consider your ISP's SLA, your database host SLA, your firewall SLA, etc.  Which means you need to factor in redundancy for all those components.  Else next time it won't be your DNS that will be out, but instead your database will be down, or your app server will go down, or your firewall will go down, etc, etc, etc.

    Hope this helps

    Author Closing Comment

    Thank you both! Based on your feedback, I decided to go with multiple hosts - one registrar and two DNS hosts. I like to think the likelihood of any two of the three being unavailable at any one time is far less a possibility than when I had all eggs in one basket with one host who was also the registrar. It turns out those hosts who allow zone transfers are also those who are less expensive so this solution may cost me $30 per month - 3X what I was paying - yet far less than $200 per month with no real guarantee of more redundancy and reliability.

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