If you’ve ever been sitting and waiting anxiously to view your college exam results, you’ve probably noticed that the university generally provides more than one link to view them. Theoretically, that should make you a little less nervous. The simple reason being that if one link doesn’t work, you’ll still be able to view your results because other links are also available. This process of making the same data available through multiple providers is called Secondary DNS. But, what the heck is DNS in the first place?
Domain Name System (or DNS) is basically an internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. Since IP addresses are numerical it makes them complex and much more difficult to remember. Domain names are alphabetical and easy to remember which is where DNS comes in. It takes the domain you enter (for example: www.example.com) and translates it to the proper server IP address which the website is hosted on (for example: 188.8.131.52). Now that you’ve had a short lesson in DNS, let’s understand what Secondary DNS means.
What is Secondary DNS?
When an organization or company uses multiple providers to host their primary DNS information, it’s known as Secondary DNS. In the example above where a university was posting the results of an exam that gave students multiple links to check scores, it would be using secondary DNS to host its primary DNS information across multiple links. In a nutshell, if you had 4 different sets of nameservers setup to answer queries, then if one goes down the load is shared among the remaining three. Once the first nameserver is up and running again then traffic will begin getting divided between all four of them again.
Secondary DNS Advantages
Better Customer Experience – Due to the availability of Secondary DNS the load on your primary DNS get reduced and customers will have a more seamless experience accessing your website data.
Good Backup – Secondary DNS always acts as the best firefighting mechanism when the primary DNS is down or out of order. The other servers will still be working, although they will experience a higher load. Still, this is better than having a complete blackout until the primary DNS is back up and running.
Round Robin Resolving – This is a process where the server provides a different server on account of Secondary DNS every single time a user accesses the server. This helps as a load balancing act.
Configuring Secondary DNS
Secondary DNS should be used by websites which have a high inflow of traffic that might lead to the primary DNS server going down. Companies you use on a daily basis like Amazon, Google and Microsoft all use Secondary DNS. A website blackout can be the worst thing a company experiences when running special sales, releasing exam results, or paying for promotion on a specific campaign. Since you’re dealing with people in each of those scenarios, it can mean a loss in both customers and revenue. Configuring secondary DNS can help you avoid all of those issues!
If you’re interested in setting up Secondary DNS then you should initially speak with your web hosting provider to see if this is already included with your hosting plan. Many web hosting companies setup Secondary DNS automatically for their customers and there might not even be anything you have to do in order to take advantage.