We were happy DNSmadeeasy.com customers for more than ten years (since 2011). We kept all our client sites on DNSmadeasy.com as the DNS pings were stable and the interface was 1. coherent 2. consistent. Trying to manage DNS at the registrar is no fun as every registrar is different.
To move your domains to a dedicated DNS provider is much easier. You just need to change the nameservers. Nameservers look ns1.dnsmadeasy.com or ns2.digitalocean.com or dns1.easydns.com to name a few DNS providers whom we have used. The default of course are your registrar’s own DNS servers.
The deal at DNSmadeasy.com was 25 domains with up to 10 million queries per month for $60/year. It was absolutely fine. The 2022 renewal price was $75 for reference. Sadly, this account does not exist at all any more except as legacy. The current price of admission $175/year for 5 domains and 5 million queries. That’s effectively either a 5x price increase (4.6x to be precise) if one counts account value by queries or 12x if one counts account value by domains.
We had three of our own business accounts at DNSmadeasy.com. We had three or four clients with high traffic domains and their own dedicated DNSmadeasy.com accounts.
Over the last six months, we’ve gradually noticed that query counts going up on domains where there’s been no traffic increase.
It’s unlikely that live event sites underwent huge traffic jumps during Covid-19 when most events were shut down.
Here’s another example, where we made some adjustments to DNS TTL and brought queries down and then they gradually crept up again, fortunately not into overage territory.
Here’s a pooled account with similar results:
So what? Well, it turns out there’s big money in overages.
Here’s what one client’s invoice looks like over the last three years. Overages which used to cost $9/month and be an incidental cost have now risen to $160/month.
We’ve done all kinds of things to decrease query counts for this client. TTL (the time between DNS refreshes) has been adjusted to 86400 seconds (24 hours). The queries keep rising.
Here’s how are overages charged:
If you exceed your pre-purchased quota for the month you will be billed at the following low rates:
- 10.000 million to 400.000 million : $6.00 per million queries
- 400.000 million to 1.00 billion : $1.95 per million queries
- 1.00 billion and higher : $0.25 per million queries
In fairness to DNSmadeasy.com, we asked them about these overages in April last year and they admitted that something is off about the counts.
Here’s the excuse:
This increase is due to recent updates on our nameservers, which caused our query counts to incorporate NXRRSET queries into your monthly usage. These are in fact valid queries that your domain received; however, we did not previously account for this specific NXRRSET query type. We are diligently working to remove all associated NXRRSET queries from all accounts, which will be reflected in your query usage graph/analytical platforms. With that being said, all costs associated with these query types will also be waived.
This should not be our problem. If counts are wrong, DNSmadeeasy.com should be adjusting the counts themselves, not making their customners playing policeman or private detective.
To DNSmadeasy.com’s credit, when their hand was caught in the cookie jar, they gave us one time credit to cover the non-existent overage and 1 million extra queries per month to cover the fictional queries. This took place in April 2022.
What’s much worse is what’s happened since. Six months ago DNSmadeasy.com was acquired by DigiCert, a much larger entity. Apparently query counts don’t work at all any more:
For the sake of full disclosure, we are currently in the process of rewriting and redeveloping our Real-Time Analytics platform from the ground up due to several complications of the current Real-Time Analytics application discovered by our QA team. At this time, we are aware of several of these complications that are impacting general functionality of the Real-Time Analytics application for the user.
So with no way to accurately track queries ourselves, we should just trust them or we have to reach out personally
Since we can not provide you with the tools to break down incoming queries by record with the data explorer on your own, we ask that you reach out to our technical support team as soon as you notice a spike in querying traffic
How many customers will do this? Many fewer than those whose company credit cards will be dinged for small or big overages every month for eighteen months before someone notices. This starts to smell a lot more like fraud than accident, as it’s DNSmadeeasy’s interest to leave the real-time counting broken for as long as possible. Together with the technical overcounting, it makes Digicert millions every month.
If you suspect you have been overcharged by DNSmadeasy.com/Digicert over the last two years, you may have a very good case for legal action for a full refund of any overages. “Our counting system is broken” is not an excuse many judges would accept.
What DNSmadeeasy.com in this case offered our client was a one-month credit of $160.19 which still left him paying $1275 years for DNS services which theoretically should have cost $75/year without overages and with overages counted according to the original counting method for which our client signed up should have cost no more than $30/month in peak months (5 million extra queries, which would be 1.5x their original traffic x $6 million). Average charge about $300/year not $1300.
This left us in a position where we had to choose an alternative DNS provider. There’s a great site which measures DNS provider performance. That will be the subject of our next article. Where to go after DNSmadeasy.com. To be followed by how to migrate DNS.
Alec has been helping businesses succeed online since 2000. Alec is an SEM expert with a background in advertising, as a former Head of Television for Grey Moscow and Senior Television Producer for Bates, Saatchi and Saatchi Russia.