Sep 11, 2023
What Is a Premium DNS and Why You Might Not Need It Just Yet
A domain name system (DNS) is a directory for all resources connected to the internet. Its primary purpose is to match domains to their IP addresses much like a phone book lists phone numbers with peoples’ names.
An integral part of a DNS is a domain nameserver – a web server that pinpoints a domain name’s location and facilitates the DNS resolution process.
Nameservers affect website’s security, availability, and performance. Thus, the quality of these three elements depends on the chosen DNS hosting service.
We will explain how a premium DNS differs from a free or regular one, its benefits, and answer whether the premium DNS service is necessary for you or your business.
How Is a Premium DNS Different?
There are numerous free domain nameserver hosting providers available. They typically provide DNS hosting services along with free domain registration.
Meanwhile, a premium domain nameserver web hosting service usually includes several benefits such as strong security, fast performance, and customized DNS configuration.
This section will cover the differences between a free and a premium DNS in more detail.
Important! Keep in mind that the benefits offered may differ from one DNS provider to another.
First, let’s look at the features a free DNS generally includes:
- Firewall policy – a set of security rules to determine the types of incoming and outgoing website traffic, blocking unwanted traffic in the process.
- Rate limiting and blocking – refers to limiting the number of requests or API calls to control the negative impact a system might suffer, such as from malicious bot activity, for example.
- Secondary DNS – contains copies of the original site files. This secondary DNS server ensures a site will be accessible even if the primary DNS is hacked or suffers from other types of failure.
- Multiple DNS record support – every domain must have a few DNS records, such as A, CNAME, MX, NS, and SOA records, or zone files accessible via its domain name. DNS records provide various domain information, such as its IP address.
- SSL certificate – some DNS hosting providers offer a free SSL encryption to secure data transfers and encrypt sensitive user data, such as customers’ address and credit card information.
- Email forwarding – a system for creating other email addresses or aliases for a domain. This is especially useful for business websites. When people send emails to the business email address, the emails will automatically be forwarded to the personal email address, letting you check all emails in one place.
- Web redirection – making a website accessible from more than one URL address. For example, if you set up the URL redirection, users typing in your old URL will still access the site.
- Dynamic DNS (DDNS) – unlike a standard DNS that only works with static IP addresses, DDNS automatically updates DNS records whenever an IP address changes. This makes it possible for users worldwide to access a site even if the IP address is constantly being updated.
In addition to the features listed above, a premium DNS includes the following ones:
- Advanced reporting – offers a detailed reporting system with analytics that includes such information as source countries and record types of the requested hostnames.
- DNS templates – creates pre-defined DNS zone formats for domain names and makes easy DNS updates from the dashboard. This feature is especially useful for managing several sites.
- Two-way authentication – secures a site using two-factor login authentication for extra protection.
- Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) support – specifications that provide websites and web applications an extra layer of security against cyber threats. It uses public-key cryptography to provide a digital signature on authoritative zone data, which is then validated at its destination.
- Professional support team – you can expect round-the-clock and more hands-on support with a paid DNS service compared to the regular support system.
- Anycast global network – a network duplicating information across multiple DNS servers found worldwide. The device accessing the website will then reach the server located closest to the user, resulting in a faster response.
What Are the Benefits of Premium DNS Services?
After listing the typical features of free and premium DNS services, we will explain the main benefits of purchasing a premium DNS. The advantages can generally be narrowed down to three categories – larger resources, better security, and faster performance.
Premium DNS providers have a larger pool of resources. Compared to a free or a regular DNS, a paid DNS usually comes with more domains, DNS zones, DNS records, and the number of DNS queries per month.
|ClouDNS’ Free DNS
|GoDaddy’s Premium DNS Hosting
|DNS zones or domains
With a large number of resources, websites with a paid DNS can handle high levels of traffic without any problems.
In addition, a premium DNS provider typically gives customers more administrative control and configuration options when it comes to DNS management.
When it comes to types of cyberattacks, the most frequent of them are called DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. This occurs when multiple computer systems are instructed to attack a specific target, flooding the target’s network with malicious traffic. This can make a website inaccessible.
Sometimes, users may even be directed to a malicious IP address and encouraged to give out sensitive information.
A premium DNS provider will protect a site using various DDoS protection elements such as active monitoring, an alarm system, automatic triggers, traffic filtering, and DNS traffic load balancing.
Traffic load balancing in particular is a great way to secure a website against a DDoS attack.
The high traffic is dispersed to multiple DNS servers – the more servers there are, the lower the amount of traffic experienced by each DNS server will be. Thus, a sudden spike of traffic cannot overwhelm one server.
In addition to the DDoS protection, many premium DNS providers also offer tutorials on how to set up a secondary nameserver as a backup in case the primary server experiences DNS issues.
If you want to secure your website even further, prepare redundant nameservers with several DNS providers.
In the Unicast DNS network system, the DNS information is stored where the server is physically located. In other words, any device accessing the website will connect to this particular server, regardless of the user’s location.
As a result, when the website and the server hosting the information are located at vastly different geographical locations, it will take longer for servers to respond to DNS queries.
When the server crashes, the website will no longer be accessible due to this single point of failure.
On the other hand, within the Anycast DNS network system, the information of a website is duplicated across multiple DNS servers located all over the world.
Thus, when a user is accessing the website from their device, information will be retrieved from the server closest to the user.
If one of the DNS servers is attacked, the device can immediately try connecting to another server containing the same information.
Premium DNS providers usually have large infrastructures with many DNS servers located worldwide. This means all website visitors can experience fast DNS lookups and web performance regardless of their geographical locations.
Why Is a Premium DNS Service Not Necessary Yet?
Advocates of the premium DNS service often claim that having a paid DNS is now a necessary and non-negotiable aspect of running a website.
However, this is not always true. This section will elaborate on why a premium DNS service is not necessary for most sites yet.
Firstly, let’s take the aforementioned premium DNS service provided by GoDaddy as an example.
GoDaddy offers Premium DNS Hosting at $2.99/month. Some of its notable features include:
- DDoS protection
- Secondary DNS
- 99.9% uptime guarantee
- Unlimited domains
- 1,500 DNS records per domain
However, many of these features aren’t necessary to a common user. In addition, some of the features or their equivalent may be obtained with a free or a regular DNS service instead of a premium one.
Let’s break down each of the features one by one:
- Price – at $2.99/month, the price for GoDaddy’s Premium DNS Hosting is almost twice higher than a full hosting package at Hostinger – specifically the Single Shared Hosting plan for $1.99/month. This Hostinger plan offers numerous features such as 30 GB SSD storage, 100 GB bandwidth, 10,000 monthly visits, a free email account, and a free SSL certificate.
- DDoS protection – DDoS attacks are a primary concern of running any website. However, there are many free alternatives available. For example, you can strengthen your WordPress website security by installing security plugins such as Cloudflare or Wordfence.
- DNSSEC – you don’t need a paid DNS to enjoy DNSSEC as many domain registrars who provide DNS hosting services already support DNSSEC, including Hostinger.
- Secondary DNS – many free DNS providers such as FreeDNS already offer secondary DNS to act as a backup if the primary DNS fails, ensuring the web application stays online.
- 99.9% uptime guarantee – many free or regular domain nameservers also offer similar uptime. Examples include BuddyNS and OpenDNS, both of which provide 100% uptime.
- Unlimited domains and 1,500 DNS records per domain – these features are quite farfetched. Typically, only people who own thousands of subdomains require 1,500 DNS records. Most customers don’t need such immense capabilities. If you truly need thousands of subdomains or domains registered, buying a premium DNS is worth considering.
The features of a premium DNS are comparable to the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), which is a great invention that may experience more widespread use in the future. However, most networks and websites today still use the IPv4, which is IPv6’s predecessor.
A DNS is a naming system for all computers and services connected to the internet, and is used for matching domain names to IP addresses.
An important aspect of a DNS is a domain nameserver – it’s a web server that locates a domain name, facilitating the DNS lookup process.
It also affects a website’s security, availability, and performance. The quality of these aspects depends on the DNS service used.
There are free and premium domain nameserver or DNS hosting providers. Besides different pricing, a paid DNS usually comes with more extensive features. For example, some features typically offered with free DNS services include:
- Firewall policies
- Rate limiting and blocking
- Secondary DNS
- Multiple DNS record support
- SSL certificates
- Email forwarding
- Web redirection
In addition to those features, some extra features that may come with premium DNS services are:
- Advanced reporting
- Admin control
- DNS templates
- Two-way authentication
- DNSSEC support
- Professional support team
- Anycast DNS global network
In short, the benefits of premium DNS include larger resources, improved security, and faster performance.
However, while the features provided by premium DNS are great, they don’t make much difference for an everyday customer. That being said, it may become necessary in the future, so it’s not a completely redundant product.
As of now, many free alternatives offer similar benefits to the ones provided by a paid DNS.
We hope this article has helped you learn more about a premium DNS and its importance. Good luck!