Secondary DNS service
BitFolk provides a free secondary DNS service for VPS customers.
- 1 Secondary DNS service
- 2 Eligibility
- 3 Servers
- 4 Configuring the secondary DNS service
- 5 Secondary DNS and the BitFolk Panel
- 6 Alerting
- 7 DNSSEC
- 8 TSIG
- 9 Useful resources
Secondary DNS service
Since you have a VPS you may be interested in running DNS for your domains yourself. That requires more than one DNS server, but BitFolk can provide up to three more for you, all of which will take updates from your designated master server. That's the BitFolk secondary DNS service.
BitFolk is happy to provide free DNS secondary service for every customer for up to 50 domains, provided that total number of queries for all domains is "reasonable" (below several hundred thousand requests per month).
This complimentary service is intended for VPS customers with a few domains and no access to additional servers. Those wishing to run DNS for more than 50 domains or for extremely busy domains can still be accommodated but there will be additional charge. Please contact support for a quote.
BitFolk currently operates DNS servers in the following locations:
- a.authns.bitfolk.co.uk — London, UK
- b.authns.bitfolk.com — Fremont, CA, US
- c.authns.bitfolk.com — Newark, NJ, US
They are also reachable over IPv6.
Configuring the secondary DNS service
For each domain you wish to add to the BitFolk secondary DNS service you'll need to carry out the following steps.
Serve the domain yourself
Firstly you'll need to add the domain to an authoritative DNS server that is under your control. This would normally be your VPS, but can be any other authoritative DNS server you like as long as they will allow AXFR from BitFolk.
You need to allow AXFR from:
That is port 53 TCP, and you'll probably need to allow it in the access control of your DNS server also. With bind 9, the default is to allow transfers to all hosts, but you can limit it via the allow-transfer option.
Once you have done the above, please contact support with:
- The IP address of your DNS server
- The name of your domain
BitFolk adds your domain
You'll receive a response from support to indicate that your domain has been added.
If anything is wrong then you may also receive some Nagios alerts at this point. If the alert relates to your own host or to a.authns.bitfolk.co.uk then you need to fix it now. The other BitFolk nameservers won't take a copy of your zone until there's a copy on a.authns.bitfolk.co.uk.
Add the BitFolk DNS servers to your domain's NS list
If you haven't done so already then you should add the BitFolk DNS servers to your domain's list of NS records.
If you'd prefer that the world only sees the BitFolk nameservers, then you need not list your own master nameserver. That is usually called a "hidden master" setup.
It is best to use the *.authns.bitfolk.com names and not your own names for the nameservers as if they ever required renumbering this would force you to make changes in a lot of places.
Do a final check that everything is being served correctly
BitFolk's DNS monitoring does a good job of checking that things are being served correctly, but you should also verify for yourself that:
- Your nameserver is serving the domain correctly;
- Each of BitFolk's nameservers are also serving the domain correctly.
Up until this point you have not directed any live DNS traffic at BitFolk's DNS infrastructure.
Update your nameserver list in the parent domain
|Warning:||Do this step last, after you have personally confirmed that everything is correct! Up until this point no live DNS traffic for your domain has been directed at BitFolk's DNS infrastructure.|
To start directing live DNS traffic to your chosen nameservers you must list them in the parent domain. Normally you do that by contacting your domain registrar to tell them the list of nameservers to use. These are the nameservers that appear in WHOIS.
Secondary DNS and the BitFolk Panel
The BitFolk Panel has a currently read-only list of the domains you have configured for secondary DNS. There's a feature request open for the ability to add, remove and disable domains from this web interface without having to contact support. Please vote it up if you're interested in seeing this implemented.
The secondary DNS service is one of the more complicated services and has a number of different monitoring checks enabled.
Checks on your master nameserver
The following checks run against your master server (usually your BitFolk VPS).
TCP port 53 open
|What it does||Checks that your TCP port 53 is open. Your own nameserver should be listening on this port ready to accept connections for AXFR to take place.
If this alert is received then it indicates that BitFolk's monitoring can't connect to your DNS server.
|What it looks like|
From: email@example.com Subject: ** PROBLEM alert - your.master.host/DNS Server is CRITICAL ** ***** Nagios ***** Notification Type: PROBLEM Service: DNS Server Host: your.master.host Address: 188.8.131.52 State: CRITICAL Date/Time: Sat Jan 21 22:05:27 UTC 2012 Additional Info: Connection refused
|What it does||Checks that your nameserver is prepared to say it is authoritative for the domain in question.
If this alert is received then it indicates that your nameserver doesn't think it is authoritative for the domain in question. Likely reasons would be that you haven't configured the domain, haven't reloaded the server after configuring it, or are refusing queries.
|What it looks like|
From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: ** PROBLEM alert - your.master.host/Auth. DNS example.com is UNKNOWN ** ***** Nagios ***** Notification Type: PROBLEM Service: Auth. DNS example.com Host: your.master.host Address: 184.108.40.206 State: UNKNOWN Date/Time: Sat Jan 21 22:05:27 UTC 2012 Additional Info: DNS UNKNOWN - 0.600 seconds response time (No ANSWER SECTION found)
Checks on BitFolk's infrastructure
The following checks are run against BitFolk's DNS infrastructure, but may still indicate a problem with your configuration.
Last domain refresh time
|What it does||Checks that your domain on BitFolk's nameserver was last refreshed within a reasonable amount of time.
The SOA record in your zone has a refresh time and an expire time. Both are specified in seconds.
The refresh time is how often secondary servers should check with your master for updates.
The expire time is the maximum amount of time without successful refresh that secondary servers are allowed to serve your domain.
If you receive a warning alert then this means that there has been no successful refresh within 1.5x your refresh setting. For example, if your refresh setting were 7200 (2 hours) and BitFolk's servers were unable to contact your master for 3 hours, you would receive a warning alert.
If you receive a critical alert then this means that you're half way towards your expire setting with no successful refresh. Should the expire time be reached, BitFolk's nameservers will return SERVFAIL for all queries. That would be bad.
Your nameserver log files most likely contain details about why refresh has been failing.
|What it looks like|
From: email@example.com Subject: ** PROBLEM alert - a.authns.bitfolk.co.uk/Last DNS refresh example.com is WARNING ** ***** Nagios ***** Notification Type: PROBLEM Service: Last DNS refresh example.com Host: a.authns.bitfolk.co.uk Address: 220.127.116.11 State: WARNING Date/Time: Sat Jan 21 22:05:27 UTC 2012 Additional Info: FILE_AGE WARNING: /etc/bind/slave/example.com is 44898 seconds old and 488 bytes
|What it does||Checks that BitFolk's nameservers are prepared to say they are authoritative for the domain in question.
If this alert is received then it indicates that a BitFolk nameserver doesn't think it is authoritative for the domain in question. The most likely reason would be that zone transfers to BitFolk's nameservers have never yet worked. Your log files will probably give more information.
|What it looks like|
From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: ** PROBLEM alert - b.authns.bitfolk.com/Auth. DNS example.com is UNKNOWN ** ***** Nagios ***** Notification Type: PROBLEM Service: Auth. DNS example.com Host: b.authns.bitfolk.com Address: 18.104.22.168 State: UNKNOWN Date/Time: Sat Jan 21 22:05:27 UTC 2012 Additional Info: DNS UNKNOWN - 0.600 seconds response time (No ANSWER SECTION found)
BitFolk's authoritative nameservers have no problem serving DNSSEC record types.
Normally BitFolk authenticates your zone updates only by IP address. If you would like to also do TSIG authentication then that is possible, but isn't very integrated with BitFolk's systems at the moment so will have to be specifically requested by support ticket.
This is based on a shared secret, so either BitFolk or you will need to create the private key and then it will need to be communicated between you. This should be done by some secure method such as PGP encryption.
An example of key creation using tools from the BIND package:
# dnssec-keygen -a HMAC-SHA512 -b 128 -n HOST bitfolk-ruminant Kbitfolk-ruminant.+165+31748
It would then be the contents of either the Kbitfolk-ruminant.+165+31748.key file or the Kbitfolk-ruminant.+165+31748.private file (they both contain essentially the same information) that needs to be shared between you and BitFolk.
- Your nameserver logs! Most nameserver software is really quite keen to tell you what's wrong.
- squish.net DNS comprehensive traversal checker