DNS Staying With The Times

By eric

My company signed a contract for a provider that uses TZO as their DNS provider. Now I have used TZO before (circa 2006-2007) and although their interface was archaic and there was no API, I accepted it because I was told they were reliable. As it happens, the service was fantastic and they are very reliable. I don’t think the service went down once the entire time I was using them. I ended up leaving the company and never saw the API or new interface come to fruition.

Fast forward 3+ years to 2010 and my current company is setting up our domains on TZOs portal which (despite the promise) hasn’t been updated at least since 2006. That’s fine, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But the problem is, it is broke. I couldn’t even an a TXT record. Then when I asked about it on a Friday, didn’t receive an answer until Tuesday. And that only because I pushed for it. In 2010, how can a major DNS managed service provider not have support for adding arbitrary TXT records? And they additionally don’t even have an API to make calls to so it can be done outside of the interface.

I don’t know how many clients in total they have lost, but I know the answer is at least 1. So this forced us (my company) to look around for another provider. After looking at a bunch of them and bringing in price and functionality into the mix, we believe that we have decided on Dynect. It is so far one of the best bang for your bucks that we have come across. Between myself and a few people on staff, we have experience with a few different providers (mostly small) and none of them cut it. We ruled out the big ones like UltraDNS since they were cost-prohibitive. But Dynect has all the major features that we are looking for:

  • Multiple Anycast servers
  • API
  • Relatively usable interface
  • DNS Load Balancing capability with health check
  • Reporting (either via API, graphs, or logs)
  • Geo Load Balancing
  • Full management control (including the ability to add TXT records)

The moral of the story is twofold; 1) poor support goes a long way, just as great support goes a long way, 2) sometimes reliable service only gets you so far. These items were the tipping point for us to go somewhere else. This goes back to something I hear 37signals tell people all the time, “Don’t expect other people to use and pay for something that you wouldn’t use and pay for yourself.” I just can’t see the people at TZO thinking the same old interface is still usable years later.

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