Domain due diligence

When making things simpler gets complex

Spurred on by the matter of the disappearing VPS, I decided to try and go through all the things I have hosted somewhere online. It turns out that over time you can accumulate a lot of unnecessary cruft in the online world the same as you can in the real one.

I decided to start by reversing my age old practice of having registered various domain names with whoever the cheapest registrar was at the time. It turns out that what is saved on the cost of a domain itself is nowhere near enough to offset having manage multiple providers all of whom have different logins, portals, etc. It also made it different to do things like harmonise renewals to the same year which I wanted to do so I would receive fewer renewal e-mails.

After days of messing around with transfers between providers I’ve finally managed to get everything much more streamlined. The only disappointment was that I couldn’t use Porkbun for my UK domains, which is a shame as I really like their site.

Then it occurs to me all of a sudden. I’ve been so busy moving the domains around I haven’t put any thought into what they’re really used for, DNS lookups!

This got really complicated really fast as I simply couldn’t remember what DNS records were where! So I did what anyone reasonable in the same situation might do and panicked for 5 minutes before accepting the fact that I had nobody to blame but myself so I better get to work on sorting it all out!

As it turned out though this situation was a blessing in disguise. I decided that I wanted the DNS separated from the domain providers just in case I need to move them in the future and after a lot of searching and reading online I came across Hurricane Electric and their Free DNS Management service. This has a bunch of things going for it, obviously the price is a winner but the UI is the thing that I like best. It’s very good at telling you what has and has not worked when you try to do anything from adding records to transferring delegation. Being able to see what was going on as I recreated the records made putting it all together from a blank sheet of paper much easier than I was expecting.

So all things being well, this site is now propagating through the DNS system and pointing to its new home, which I guess makes it worth all the time and effort!