How to migrate from one DNS provider to another?

DNS service is one of the fundamental tools that ensure that your website can be accessed by web visitors (check this article to learn more about DNS). Without a properly functioning DNS service, there is a huge risk of unknowingly shutting down your website’s presence on the internet. And this concern becomes even more critical during DNS migration.

DNS migration is the process of transferring an existing DNS zone from one DNS provider to another.  This article will walk you through the general steps for migrating your DNS Records with the assurance of having minimal interruptions for your DNS service.

  1. Create a zone record for your new DNS provider. Usually, DNS providers will automatically scan the existing DNS record from your current DNS provider.
  2. Check whether the DNS Records are accurate. You can refer from your current DNS provider, and also by using DNS query tools like dig. You may also edit some of the DNS Records on your new DNS provider depending on necessity.
  3. After reviewing your DNS Records, proceed to your registrar to edit the nameservers. You can use the DNS query tool whois to find out who is your registrar. The common way to edit nameservers is to simply add the new nameservers, and immediately delete the old ones. 
  4. Wait for the registrar data to take into effect. It usually takes about 24 hours or so.

Different DNS providers have different recommendations on how to edit nameservers from the registrar (step 3). It is advised to follow their specified steps to have a more smooth migration. Another way to do this is to add the new nameservers from your new DNS provider, while only deleting old nameservers of your current DNS provider AFTER the set TTL (time-to-live) of the NS record or AFTER the new registrar record takes into effect. This is done to avoid a common DNS service problem, wherein sometimes DNS servers might still cache DNS data having the old nameservers, hence may still direct requests to the old nameserver. If the old nameservers are already deleted from the registrar, then the DNS request will be unsuccessful because your zone files are not there anymore.

DNS is the glue that holds the internet presence of your website, so major changes always need to be carefully executed. By following the general steps above, you will be able to successfully migrate your DNS zone to your new DNS provider, and at the same time to avoid downtimes or any disruptions to your business.