Warning: Learn How Namecheap Needlessly Causes 2 Days of Painful Downtime when Switching from Their Built in DNS to Another DNS Server Provider
Edited by Doug Collins, Eng, Inukshuk
Namecheap has a huge flaw that needlessly hurts their customers who take advantage of their free DNS hosting. Customers like myself thought using the free DNS was a great way to get started but boy was I in for a painful surprise! I worked hard for two years to build my site up. When we hit 1.5 million views a month we decided to get more serious about our servers and DNS. We decided to go with Amazon's robust DNS service, Route 53. It came as a complete shock - about an hour after changing our DNS settings in Namecheap to point to Amazon's DNS, all of a sudden our domain resolved to NO IP at all !! We were completely down. All of our nslookup and dig testing showed us that all of our settings were correct, and like us, you are probably thinking, there shouldn't be any downtime at all. If Namecheap was programmed properly, you would be right.
Here is what goes wrong
- 1You go into Namecheap's settings and switch from their built in DNS to another DNS server you have either setup yourself or paid for a 3rd party serious DNS solution.
- 2At first your site stays up and you figure everything is OK.
- 3What went wrong?An hour or so later you discover you are completely down.
- 4And you would be right. They do!! So why are your servers down?You would think that all you are changing is the SOA (Start of Authority) DNS server, and that either requests will go to the new SOA DNS server or the old one from Namecheap.
- 5It turns out that Namecheap for no good reason immediately removes your DNS entries from their DNS servers, even though they know it takes 2 days for SOA changes to fully propagate throughout the internet.
- 6BUT NAMECHEAP HAS ERASED ALL YOUR DNS ENTRIES FROM THEIR SERVERS!! So their DNS server sends back an answer that there are no IPs defined for this domain and WHAM you are down.So when a DNS request comes in for your domain, for a period of up to 2 days, it could be routed to your old SOA DNS servers at namecheap.
- 7So if you are using Namecheap, unless you want a guaranteed two days downtime (or at least slow-time as it fully propagates), avoid using their built-in DNS server. Or better yet, move to a registrar who cares about their customers enough not to screw them over.There is no possible way to avoid this problem.
- 8It is an easy change, but for years it has been blindly ignored. That is why I wrote this warning. I hope I help somebody avoid the disaster I needlessly ran into.To fix this problem, all Namecheap needs to do is leave your DNS entries in their server for 2 days so requests coming in get answered with your site's IP address.
Recent edits by: Eng, Doug Collins