Thanks for all the nameserver suggestions! I'm reading the feedback, and it sounds like there's some confusion that it might be good to clear up. As +Kelly Buchanan
observed, "it's positively surreal how many people are conflating hosting and DNS registration services here."
So, to clarify, we are looking for a new domain name registrar, not new hosting. For those not sure of the difference, here's a very rough overview:xkcd.com
is hosted on a bunch of servers which we own (or rent) which sit at several different datacenters. This is a great system which davean, the xkcd sysadmin, has built from the ground up and fine-tuned with the sort of obsessive perfectionism usually reserved for nuclear launch protocols and Warhammer 40K. We are happy with this setup. (If anyone's looking for datacenter/CDN recommendations, we've had a particularly good experience with Voxel.net in NYC.)
" domain name, on the other hand, is registered with GoDaddy. GoDaddy handles none of the actual stuff on the website. They just (loosely speaking) maintain the master records of who owns the name "xkcd.com
" and what servers it's associated with. (There's actually a second step there—GoDaddy doesn't keep the records of where to find xkcd.com
. It just has the records of where to find
those records. But that's not important.)
So when we're trying to replace GoDaddy, we don't want to move the xkcd.com
website to new servers. We just want to store the "xkcd.com
" registration records with someone else.
Another clarification: a lot of people wrote in recommending registrars, but added, "I don't know if they support any of those advanced features you were talking about." Unfortunately, this is the crux of the problem—there are plenty of registrars out there, but there aren't very many that properly support IPv6 glue records and DNSSEC (this is a little weird, by the way, because both of those really should be universal at this point). DNSSEC prevents someone else from forging the records and impersonating xkcd.com
, which would let them serve up viruses, hijack store payments, or replace xkcd strips with Garfield. IPv6 glue records needed for finding a website over IPv6, which is important because IPv6 is, as the version number indicates, 50% better than IPv4. The registrars which do offer these features either do so by support ticket (which means unpredictable delays in fixing problems) or are a little too high-priced for our fairly large number of domains.
A note to more technical readers: quite a few people wrote in to say IPv6 and DNSSEC are things we run on our own nameservers. It's true that IPv6 AAAA records go on DNS servers, but IPv6 glue records are added to the TLD nameservers by the registrar so people can find the DNS servers. As for DNSSEC, running it from your own nameservers kind of defeats the purpose. DNSSEC is designed to prevent site hijacking by providing certificates that prove that the nameserver is not being impersonated. If the nameserver is providing its own security credentials, when someone impersonates the nameserver to hijack your site, they'll simply serve up their own certificate guaranteeing themselves.
Anyway, all that said, thank you for all the suggestions, many of which were quite helpful! davean is still sifting through the options, but I will definitely let you know what we end up doing, hopefully saving some of you some time and effort in the future.