We can now notify you of changing DNS records and let you know when we've detected a problem with your domain nameservers. Woohoo! 🥳
What is DNS record monitoring?
Behind just about every website is a translation service that converts what we humans can read (the "domain name") to something a computer can interpret (the "IP address"). This conversion or translation is crucial to the functioning of your website.
If the Domain Name Service (DNS) does not work properly and can't translate the domain to an IP address, the web-browser cannot connect to your server and your site is offline.
Most of the time, DNS just works ™️. But sometimes, very subtle problems can occur. And, as webdevelopers ourselves, we've seen a fair few of those.
That's why we're launching DNS record monitoring to have the ability to:
- Notify you when DNS records change
- Alert you whenever nameservers stop responding
- Offer confirmation that all nameservers are returning the same records
All of this is the same convenient packaging you know as Oh Dear. 🤓
Receive confirmation of DNS changes
For many, changing DNS records is a scary action. What can go wrong? Are you sure you're changing the right value? What's the potential fall-out?
With our DNS change monitoring, we can notify you and show you the records that have changed, so you can confirm that those were intended to change.
Take this example for instance: we changed a DNS record and can show you the new (green) and old (red) value.
We can offer you the final confirmation you need to make DNS changes with peace of mind.
As always, we can notify you in a lot of ways. Most users opt for the Slack notifications, and every DNS change gets reported there nicely:
Showing which records get updated, added or removed isn't very convenient in a small notification, so we can show you a full report more easily right in the Oh Dear website.
A back-up of all your necessary DNS records
By default, we'll show you the records we found for your domain. This is a convenient back-up of all the necessary records you can use to rebuild your DNS setup, in case it ever fails.
You'll find a full history of all the changes and all records we've ever found, going back to the day you enabled the DNS monitoring. Handy if you ever need to revert to a former value!
Not quite sure what each record can mean? Click on the label in the front (A, AAAA, MX, ...) and you'll be taken to our extensive documentation on DNS records to help explain it great detail.
Notifications when nameservers are out-of-sync
There are cases where not all nameservers are in-sync. Let's say you have 4 nameservers for your domain and you make a DNS record change. 3 out of those 4 pick up the changes instantly, but the 4th one happens to miss it.
Sure, it's a problem for your hosting- or nameserver-provider, but the trouble falls onto you. About a quarter of your visitors can't reach your site now, because they happen to (randomly) query that 4th nameserver.
How would you know, if your tests happen to hit one of the first 3 nameservers?
Well, we'll let you know when we detect that. That way, you can escalate to your hosting- or nameserver-provider quicker and have less downtime. Win!
Detecting domain name hijacks
Imagine the following, scary, example:
- Someone manages to take over your domain name and transfer it into their name
- They put the very same site online as the one you have, they just change the payment details for incoming payments
Would your current monitor be able to detect this? The site is still up and your checkstring may still be valid. It's actually a case where Oh Dear would also think your site is still online!
But, there are 2 crucial changes that would happen in such a hostile takeover of your domain:
- The SSL certificate would change: the attacker would have to retrieve a new one (unless they managed to get hold of your private key)
- The DNS has to change, to point to a server the attacker controls
We can now proudly say we can detect and alert on both!
Just another feature to offer you the certainty that your site both online and actually your site.
Useful when your clients manage the domain name
As a web agency or 3rd party supplier, you may not always be in control of the DNS of the websites you're building.
It's often the case the client has full control over the domain name and the DNS, but you're responsible for the website and the hosting.
With our DNS monitoring, you'll know instantly when your client made a change to the DNS records that could impact you.
And as always with DNS, the sooner you can catch those changes and react, the better. The longer it goes without being detected, the more chances you'll have of the wrong DNS record being cached on recursive resolvers worldwide.
And that means it'll take longer for the corrective DNS record to be found too!
Opt-in for all clients
We don't enable the DNS checks for everyone, because we do realize it's a little bit technical and not all our clients are interested in this.
Everyone can now enable it for their sites and be prompted to enable DNS monitoring whenever they add a new one. The feature is live for everyone!
Whenever you add a new site, you can choose to enable DNS monitoring or not.
Granularity on which DNS records you care about
You can toggle the alerts per type of DNS record you care about.
Maybe you're behind Cloudflare or another DDoS protection service and your A & AAAA records change often? You can then disable the alerts specifically for those records. Leave the MX and TXT record alerts online and you'll receive notifications whenever those change.
If you're monitoring
awesomesite.tld, we'll monitor the DNS records we can find on that domain.
If you care extra about
secretpage.awesomesite.tld, you can add that to Oh Dear as well and simply enable the DNS monitoring for that domain, and we'll find & alert on those records too. You decide which domains matter and which you want to receive alerts on.
Give it a try!
As always, we offer a 10-day trial with no credit card requirements. Just an email address and you can test us out.
Don't like it? Simple ignore our emails and we'll delete your account after a few weeks. You don't even have to ask. 😇