Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Trinity, and Your Web Site

The power and majesty of the trinity has been a part of mankind for years, before the Internet.

From religion (the Christian nature of the supreme being - The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost), to properly robust systems, using triple redundancy (as in Robert Heinlein's science fiction - "I now tell you, three times, to do this!"), the number three has always had almost mystical significance.

And with your web site, there is a trinity too. You are using, and may be paying (directly or indirectly) for 3 different services.
  1. Registration.
  2. DNS Hosting.
  3. Content Hosting.
  4. Total Cost To You.


If you have a domain purchased thru GoDaddy, and hosted on their services (maybe a blog published using FTP), you may have a package deal, with all 3 services on one yearly bill.

Alternately, you could purchase (register) your domain from any of dozens of registrars, have DNS provided by another company, and host your web site on a third, like Blogger. That's your choice, based upon your needs.

All Internet service companies don't provide all 3 services. GoDaddy does. Blogger / Google provides only content hosting, if you publish your blog to a Google Custom Domain.
You can register domain names from any of a number of different registrars, and you can use .com, .org, .net or any other valid addresses. Remember: you only need to get the domain name; you don't have to pay extra for hosting service.


The above advice is highly misleading. It implicitly mentions Registration (" ... register domain names ... get the domain name ...". It implies that Content Hosting is provided by Blogger (" ... you don't have to pay extra for hosting service."). Nowhere, though, does it mention DNS Hosting, leading to the inevitable question
I need the IP address for Blogger (DNS).


All 3 services are essential - none are optional.
  1. Registration.
  2. DNS Hosting.
  3. Content Hosting.
  4. Total Cost To You.


Registration
When you purchase your domain, you want to know beforehand that nobody is already using it. And you want to ensure that, in the future, nobody uses it. You pay for the uniqueness of your domain name.

DNS Hosting
When you pay for DNS (directory listing), you want to know that your domain can always be located. Redundant DNS servers, geographically separated, is important for high visibility web sites. You pay for the address listing of your domain name.

Now this little detail may not be important to you.
Chuck, this doesn't matter to me. I pay my ISP for service, and they tell me to configure "ns1.myisp.com" and "ns2.myisp.com" (or their IP addresses) as my DNS servers. Why do I care about whatever DNS server Google uses?


You use your ISPs DNS servers so you can access websites. You pay for DNS hosting so your readers can access your website. Both your ISPs DNS servers, and your readers ISPs DNS servers, have to ask your DNS host for the address of your website.

You write your blog for your readers. Your readers DNS servers have to find out the address of your web site. How many readers do you expect to have, if they try to access your web site and see
404 Server Not Available
or a similar error? You need a reliable DNS host, to provide the address of your web site, to the DNS servers used by your readers.

And choose your DNS Host very carefully - make sure that they support 4 x "A" / "CNAME" referral - and the newly added domain ownership verification requirement. If you want your custom domain hosted blog to be reliably accessible, this is an essential feature.

You may be able to use a (free) third party DNS Hosting service - if your registrar permits this.

Content Hosting
When you pay for Content Hosting, you want to know that your web site itself will always be online. Whereas a DNS retrieval is a small (yet essential) amount of traffic, and of server space, your blog (web site), as it grows, will use increasingly larger amounts of server space, and generate increasingly larger amounts of traffic (or so you hope).

Your content host needs a large and reliable connection to the Internet, as well as reliable server hardware. You pay for the hosting of the web site itself.

Total Cost To You
The total cost that you will have to bear will vary, depending upon what free services you use.

If you have a blog hosted on Blog*Spot, you pay nothing at all. If you have a blog hosted on a Google Custom Domain, you pay nothing for the Content Hosting, just for registration and DNS. You may be able to use ZoneEdit for free DNS hosting, for a properly registered domain. But you will most likely end up paying for domain registration.

Registration / DNS Hosting is generally billed yearly, and at a fixed rate. Content Hosting is sometimes billed by the month, and tiered based upon the amount of storage required (size of blog), amount of bandwidth generated (number of readers * size), and various server services required.

Here are 4 examples - which will vary, over the years.
  1. $2 USD / year for Name Registration.
  2. $10 USD / year for DNS Hosting, using "Buy a domain".
  3. $10 - $20 USD / year for DNS Hosting, using a direct registrar purchase.
  4. $25 - $40 USD / year (or $2 - $4 / month) for Domain ("Content" / "Cloud Storage") Hosting.
Example #2 provides the one predictable number - the others will all vary widely. A properly setup domain will involve #2 or #3, carefully chosen - and if you need to read this article, #2 makes the most sense.

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6 comments:

Joseph said...

Google is referring to the fact you do not need WEB hosting.

DNS "hosting" is included FREE with every major domain name registrar (Go Daddy, Network Solutions, etc.)

Chuck said...

Joseph,

If you setup your custom domain, and you are able to enter a "CNAME" referral, then you have paid for DNS Hosting. Unfortunately, some folks end up being restricted to entering "NS1" and "NS2" records; they are the ones who did NOT pay for DNS Hosting.

Some Registrars do have plans that allow you to buy the domain, and host the DNS on your own. All bloggers aren't aware of the difference.

Joseph said...

Chuck,

Almost all registrars provide free dns hosting included with any domain registration. Do you know of any that do not?

In any event, if your registrar doesn't provide free dns hosting, there are free dns hosting services anyone can use (regardless of who their domain registrar is).

Some of them are:
www.zoneedit.com
www.mydomain.com
ww.everydns.net

Chuck said...

Joseph,

I used to think so too.

I've seen enough questions asking for "NS1" and "NS2" IP addresses to know that's not completely true.

Do ZoneEdit, MyDomain, and EveryDNS provide CNAME referral for the primary domain?

Chuck said...

Besides Registrars that provide "use your own DNS" plans, there are Registrars that don't support CNAME referrals. Here's an example. StartLogic.

Online Celebrities said...

Thanks a lot for this post. I was not aware of the DNS hosting and i had the same problem as i got from a domain registrar that didnt provide DNS hosting.
I am now using Zoneedit to do that.