How to make Godaddy DNS bulletproof with DnsUnlimited as backup
Severe website issues the past few days, which were reported (by one of our cloud partners) to be due to Godaddy DNS flakiness. The symptoms certainly match those mentioned in this disturbing article on rscott.org that Godaddy is intentionally degrading their “standard” DNS perhaps to nudge people into upgrading to Godaddy Premium DNS. And (coincidentally?) Premium DNS is the only Godaddy product I can think of that makes you pay for a year in advance and does NOT give you a pro-rated refund if you cancel it. All I know for sure is, once we took Godaddy out of the loop, everything started working fine. And we will NOT be using Godaddy much longer.
That said, there are people who are going to use Godaddy DNS anyway, and for those people here is how to make it bulletproof. I googled for hours not finding this info in one place, so I hope this help.
It was actually pretty simple, although there is ONE setting I thought was tricky.
In a nutshell:
**STEP 1. **If you simply must use Godaddy, to make it bulletproof upgrade to Godaddy Premium DNS in order to get “Secondary DNS capability” (only $36/yr, but be warned there is NO refund if you cancel after 5 days, which is IMO a sneaky departure from their usual prorata refund policy on other products and one they do NOT make clear when you order)
STEP 2. You need a different provider to be your backup or secondary. If you only have 5 or fewer domains, you can get a free account at www.dnsunlimited.com and even if you get tons of traffic it’s only 50 cents per million DNS lookups or something like that.
STEP 3. In your DNSUnlimited account, add the “zone” (domain) you want to have backup DNS, for example mydomain.com
- Click Add Zone
- Enter your domain name, eg, mydomain.com
- Here’s the “trick”: when it asks for the IP addresses of your Master, it is NOT asking for the IP addresses of your Godaddy nameservers, Godaddy has two special, dedicated IP addresses specifically for talking to “slave” dns servers. So enter the following: 184.108.40.206, 220.127.116.11 (with the comma)
- Copy or write down the five IP addresses below the Add Zone button (see first figure)
STEP 4. In your Godaddy Premium DNS control panel (not the same as the regular DNS panel) on the Advanced settings tab, turn Secondary DNS ON, select MASTER **and then simply add the five IP addresses (two places each) as shown in the second figure. Click **Save.
Adding Secondary DNS to your domain in Godaddy Premium DNS panel
Now at this point the two DNS systems point to each other. I’m not sure if it happens automatically or not, so I forced the Slave (DnsUnlimited) to reset itself and re-download the DNS records from the Master (Godaddy).
You do that on the DNSunlimited control panel by clicking the right-most icon after the domain name in your list of Zones. (See third figure.) If you want to see the status of the download of records from the Master, click the link “DNS Logs”. If you want to see the records that were copied from the Master, click the magnifier glass icon. (Seems to take a few minutes for them to show up.)
Resetting the Slave zone in DNSunlimited panel