Many websites hosted on low end providers do not own the luxury of Anycast DNS. But is Anycast DNS better than Unicast DNS? Let’s see below
What is Unicast DNS?
Unicast is the ordinary way of resolving a domain name. Let say we have example.com which resolves by 4 nameservers as shown below.
One.nameserver.com – U.S
Two.nameserver.com – U.K
Three.nameserver.com – Japan
Four.nameserver.com – India
Now if the Japanese nameserver (three.nameserver.com) has an issue and is down. Then only the other three will resolve you domain name. While request are sent to the third nameserver, they won’t resolve. So your loss is 1/4 in every query.
To make it simple, if you lose a nameserver, your website will have an impact like in cases of DDoS attacks.
Anycast DNS explained in simple terms:
Anycast is basically like a repetition of your nameservers but geographically distributed. Rather than having to configure different DNS servers depending on where a server is deployed (Asia, America, Europe), you have one IP address that is configured in every location.
There are two major advantages in this. One is that the nearest geographical server will reply and also there is reliability in the link. If one of the nameserver goes down, then another one can resolve the domain name for you from a convenient location.
One.anycastnameserver.com – 5 datacenters
Two.anycastnameserver.com – 4 datacenters
Three.anycastnameserver.com – 2 datacenters
Four.anycastnameserver.com – 3 datacenters
Another advantage is that of horizontal scaling; if you find that one server is being overloaded, simply deploy another one in a location that would allow it to take some proportion of the overloaded server’s requests. Again, as no client configuration is required, this can be done very quickly.
Unicast is when you do not need considerable uptime and stability in your DNS. If you are a small website, like relatively small but no intention of growing, then Unicast is for you. If you want uptime (in terms of DNS), speed and DDoS protection to some extent, use Anycast DNS.
Usually everyone thinks that DNS doesn’t add much benefits to a website. In the long run, every single detail will matter. From Webserver, DNS to CDN, everything will work towards making your website faster and more reliable. What worth would Google have if the search engine had downtime and did not load under a second when you really wanted to find something online in a matter of seconds. Likewise, you website must be available at amazing speed at all parts of the world for your business to succeed. Also the websites with less security are susceptible to hacking these days. Some people just do it for fun leaving your hardwork and reputation at stake. So include DNS in your checklist for creating a new website or in your upgrade list if you already have one.
A Free Anycast DNS alternative:
Well, we all want good things for free right ?
Thankfully sometimes those wishes come true. CloudFlare is a company that deals with web security and CDN. I never relied on their CDN but i severely rely on their DNS and security. Their DNS is based on Anycast and yes it is also available in their free plan. If you want to evaluate the anycast DNS before you buy one for your website, I recommend trying CloudFlare’s service and then purchase one.
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