DNS TTL Steps Up to Real-time

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A combined company project is leading to faster DNS results.

With DNS TTL (Time to Live) often taking as much as two weeks to update, the announcement of Neustar teaming up with OpenDNS to provide near-real time updating of the Internet’s DNS is being met with enthusiasm. By utilizing a cloud-based system that is centrally located, Neustar customers and providers will be able to publish real-time DNS modifications to participating Internet and recursive service providers.

Problems with cached DNS records can lead to some decidedly drastic consequences. In October, 2009, the entire country of Sweden managed to drop off the Internet entirely due to a scripting error. A typo in an updating script created a failure in recognizing that .se is considered a top level domain. The result? All .se domains fell right off the Internet. While the problem was located and fixed within an hour, the repercussions were felt for a few weeks. Currently, DNS updates are not completed in real-time and many ISPs rely on cached DNS information for as long as two weeks.

In a nutshell, OpenDNS and Neustar hope to bypass the entire TTL cache system and effectively eliminate the types of snafus created by accidental scripting errors. If an error is found, it can be corrected with the effects being nearly immediate. According to Rodney Joffe, senior vice president and chief technologist at Neustar, the Real-time DNS Directory will allow resolvers to override TTLs and update service providers’ records as soon as possible.

In order for this to be effective, domains need to feed the Real-time DNS Directory and recursive providers need to utilize it as well. OpenDNS is the first recursive provider to make use of the directory and has been doing so for about a month. David Ulevitch, founder of OpenDNS, states that the company is pleased to be working with Neustar on this project and is looking forward to other service providers adopting the Real-time DNS Directory as a standard tool.

Speed is becoming the new focus for many online businesses and the Real-time DNS Directory team up of Neustar and OpenDNS is a step closer toward this goal. The domain name system is constantly in a state of flux and delay with each new web site and each web hosting provider relocation. A real-time DNS updating system is an extremely effective way to alleviate this problem and pave the way to blazing speed.

Renee Hendricks is a Bellevue, WA based freelance web developer, writer and blogger. After more than fourteen years elbows deep in PHP, MySQL and various other web development programs, she now writes about all things social media, web hosting, SEO and hot technology trends.