On July, 22, SiteGround announced on their blog that they had
reworked [their] DNS service to make it faster, safer, more flexible and easy to use than ever. According to them, their new Centralized DNS setup should come with
faster domain resolving, enhanced protection against DDoS, improved resilience and redundancy of the service, and easier management of multiple domains. They concluded their post with those words:
We are now starting a gradual switch to the new centralized DNS . . . For external domains used with our system, we will be informing our clients by email, confirming when it will be safe to update their DNS settings to the new ones.Hristo Pandjarov
This announcement was too evocative of the so-called
[ to their New Client Area and Site Tools and I felt rather worried. Besides, manipulating DNS is hardly child’s play, not to mention the issue of
seamless disastrous] migrations
DNS propagation with potential downtime impact. Now, despite some skepticism, I would agree that – on the paper, at least – the benefits of their new DNS service sounded attractive. The question, however, was how smooth and safe will it be to update my DNS settings to the new ones?
I received the first email on September 22, 2021 –
New DNS service is about to be launched for your site(s) – with the following timeline:
The process of launching the new DNS service on our shared hosting servers will begin on September 23, 2021. We plan to start with smaller batches of servers and to gradually increase the pace, so that all shared servers are moved to the new service within the next few weeks.The SiteGround Team
Given that, in SiteGround terms,
over the next few weeks means
more than fifteen months (see SiteGround New Client Area and Site Tools – part 7), I didn’t pay much attention to this email. Moreover, they explained that they would inform us once the transfer would be completed:
For each of your sites, hosted on a shared hosting server we will additionally inform you when the transfer to the new DNS service is completed. In this post-migration email you will be provided with the new DNS information that you need to update, if you manage your domain name(s) on your own.The SiteGround Team
… faster than I anticipated
To be honest, I was in stunned disbelief when I received the second email –
New DNS service for your site(s) now active – on October 7, 2021; that is indeed
within few weeks!
The new Centralized DNS service is now active for use for your site(s).The SiteGround Team
As for the DNS update instructions, as pointed out by one comment on the SiteGround blog post, they were quite
confusing. Briefly, in the email, the SiteGround team mentioned four specific cases:
- Domain names registered through SiteGround
- Domain names pointing through A record towards their server
- Domain names NOT registered by SiteGround
- Domain names that use outside private DNS service
In the first case, there was nothing to do because SiteGround would have taken care of updating the DNS information with the new ones; one of the pros of keeping domain name registration and web hosting together, indeed. However, for the reasons explained in Self-hosting: a hard egg to crack and Domain Transfer – Should I?, I decided to use distinct providers for my domain name and web hosting. Next!
The second case also did not require any action because
the server IP remains the same. While editing the A Record by replacing the IP address with that of the web host server (where your website is located) allows more flexibility, it is also for experienced users. For this reason, among others (see Pointing my domain name to my website), I did not opt for this approach back then (when I was NOT an experienced user). Next!
The third case was the good one. Was it? I was not sure anymore when I read the fourth case. Do I use outside private DNS service? I struggled a bit to figure out until I found this definition:
private DNS are nameservers that do not reflect your hosting provider, but rather your domain name (e.g. ns1.cogitactive.com). Now, while having nameservers named after my website may look cool, this is definitively out of my league. Therefore, I followed the instruction for the third case:
For domain names, NOT registered by SiteGround, you would need to update their DNS settings yourself in order to start using the new service. Our current DNS setup will be supported till November 15, 2021. If domain DNS settings are not updated before that date, they may stop resolving, and your website(s) may become inaccessible. We highly recommend that you update your DNS settings as soon as possible in order to take advantage of all the benefits of the new DNS service and to avoid any resolving issues.
Time for action
First, I checked in the dashboard of Site Tools (in my SiteGround account) whether the Name Servers were the same as provided in the above email. Then, following my instructions (in the “Updating the nameservers (at Gandi)” section at the end of Pointing my domain name to my website), I logged into my registrar account, navigated to my domain name, and edited the (external) nameservers with the following one:
New DNS settings:
Done! All I had to do now was to wait for the changes to propagate. The first time I had to point my domain to my website, it took 48 hours to propagate. 48 hours of anxiety, stress, and panic! This time, I directly used the Global DNS Propagation Checker tool and could see that the nameservers were already updated all around the world.
No downtime is expected during the process.Gergana Zhecheva
More importantly, I can still access my website(s). The fourth case instructions were indeed advising to
update the information with the new one provided . . . otherwise your website may stop resolving. So far, so good…