My email service went dead yesterday after I changed my DNS pointer over to use Webmail.us’ email server. It’s not their fault, though; it’s the fault of eNom, who provides their DNS services.

Apparently since my domain is registered with Registerfly, who is an eNom reseller, eNom won’t let a different company host the DNS records for that domain. Nevermind that I don’t really care about their agreements. Silly resellers of domain hosting.

So anyhow, I signed up for Premium service with DNS Made Easy. It’s $30 per year for 50 domains of hosted DNS records. DNS Made Easy also supports Dynamic DNS, which would let me point a domain at my home system (like owen.asymptomatic.net) no matter what Verizon sets my home IP to.

The DNS Made Easy interface isn’t the prettiest, but it’s the most functional I’ve seen. After figuring out how to specify a full domain instead of a subdomain (you have to add a . to the end of the string) everything was up and running smoothly.

They’ve even got some extra premium features that come with the account that are pretty cool. They will monitor my server and if if goes down, they’ll temporarily switch my DNS to point somewhere else of my choosing until the problem is corrected. That means no connection timeouts to the web site. Pretty slick.

They also offer an email backup service that’s pretty good. Suppose your email server is unreachable for some reason. What you can do is add a new MX record to your DNS that points to their mail server. When your mail server becomes connectable again, their server pushes all the stored mail off onto your server. The result is no email bounces on account of a down email server. That would have been very helpful had I been using this service this week.

I suppose that I’ll eventually be moving my registration to someone who is not an eNom reseller (as far as I can tell, anyway). This is kind of a bummer, since I was all set up to use Registerfly as a permanent registrar. I’m tired of these resellers, and I didn’t realize that Registerfly was one or I wouldn’t have registered there.

For example, I had my registrations at DirectNic, who was reselling OpenSRS. Then they got accredited, and started selling their own domains at double the price. I moved to EV1, who I don’t think was even adding a commission on top of OpenSRS’ price, so it was really cheap. And then they started to become accredited and wouldn’t let me register new names during the transition. Both of those interfaces were really clunky, too, now that I think about it.

And so now I’m in another reseller situation, this time with eNom, and I can only imagine I’ll be in the same boat again. That’s disconcerting. So I’ll have to look into transferring to Domains Made Easy, and be sure that they’re not a reseller before I do anything with them.

Let’s total up the hosting costs again…

1 server @ $0/year ($399 one-time-fee)
12 domains @ ~$120/year
DNS hosting for 50 domains @ ~$30/year
Email hosting for 5 accounts @ ~$120/year
Flickr photo hosting @ $25/year

That’s about $295 per year, or about $25 per month. Even if I added in email backup, I would still be well under my hosting cost limit. Now if I can just get everything working smoothly…