Some experience with the DNS
About a decade ago one of my roles was to be an administrator of one of the biggest national IP networks in Ireland. Amongst the many duties I had was the management of domain registration. The most complex part of the operation involved picking up the phone and calling someone in one of the many universities or network hubs around the world and asking if they’d be a secondary DNS server for a new domain coming on-stream. Usually this involved a promise to be a secondary in return. The rest was a piece of cake, and new domains could usually be up and running in about three days.
You would think that a decade later things would be fully automated and streamlined. Think again.
The problem perhaps is the automation itself. If you try to get involved to move things along, you are referred to the FAQ. If that doesn’t answer your questions, you send a message to Support (typically via a web form), who invariably reply that your issue is too complex to resolve/understand by email and you are requested to call by phone.
I manage a few domains. As a consequence of office rearrangement it was necessary to migrate some domains. Change accounts. Switch to alternative registrars. Host the DNS management (instead of running my own instances of BIND). I figured about 20 minutes of work, in total, spread amongst a few participants. (I know, I used to do that kind of work myself.) Instead of 20 minutes, it took over a week.
For example, to move registrar you must first fill in forms provided by your new registrar, mainly to provide billing and contact information. Then you must indicate the domain you want to transfer. By a simple whois lookup they can determine your current registrar. However, now you must contact your current registrar to get an EPP code. These codes appeared on the scene around 2004, and facilitate the authorization of domain transfers. Getting one of these codes out of your current registrar can be a difficult task. You might not find much help in the FAQ, which tells you how to move domains to the registrar, not take them away. Not surprising, I suppose.
Eventually, after a few emails, and following some obscure sequence of links, I got my EPPs. Then comes the wait for the old and new registrars to do the actual transfer. The receiving registrar still has to wait for the OK from the sending registrar, and that can take about 5 days. In my case it took 10, but let’s not forget that this was over the holidays.
One of the registrars to whom I migrated a domain was register365, and I have to admit that of all of the registrars I had to deal with, they were the best. You can always tell the good ones when you get a response from customer service in the time it takes to make a cup of coffee. Well done, I say.
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