I’ll start with a confession: I barely knew how to spell DNS when I joined Dyn last year. But truth be told, this isn’t a very risky confession, as I was among the majority of technology marketing professionals wallowing in this ignorance. But I’ve seen the light, and so should you.
My education accelerated when I read what *Gartner’s Bob Gill had to say about DNS: “If your external DNS fails, so does your digital business.” FUD doesn’t get any FUD-ier.
My eyes were further opened by research from Aberdeen Group’s Jim Rapoza showing that companies suffer an average of 4 web outages a month!
Maybe the biggest epiphany came from realizing how much DNS is really part of everything we do online, especially as more web sites and applications become dependent on 3rd-party content and services. A contemporary website involves dozens of DNS queries, comprising up to 29% of page load time according to Dyn analysis (think of all the content that loads when you go to any news site, from video content and suggested articles, to programmatically delivered ad units; they all rely on a DNS query to get them there).
Unfortunately for many CMOs and digital marketing leaders, because DNS is such a well-established part of the internet, it’s become something of a set-it-and-forget-it technology. With a tip of the marketing cap to the genius of Ron Popeil, set it and forget it may be great in the Ronco 4000, but not so much for your digital experience. For many IT shops, DNS has become an add-on. Something they get from their internet service provider (ISP), CDN or cloud vendor. But as Dyn’s DNS evaluation guide makes clear, there’s more to DNS than meets the eye, the experience of the team running the DNS network and supporting customers is everything. And while large outages make the headlines, poor or inconsistent day to day performance of your DNS is really the silent killer.
Kissmetrics has some great research on the relationship between page load time and site abandonment. Spoiler alert, as page load time increases, so does site abandonment. Things start to look really ugly at the four second mark (if you’re curious about the page load time of your website and/or those you browse, check out Dyn’s free Gauge browser extension at http://dyn.com/gauge/).
As the steward of Dyn’s brand, I care about the digital experience that our website delivers, especially as more and more interactions with partners, customers and prospective customers rely on digital channels, even for B2B brands like us. Of course, conversion is a religion for many consumer marketers, digital media and online retailers. A few seconds, even a few milliseconds, can make a big difference in conversion rate.
So how do you prevent DNS performance becoming the silent killer of conversion? Here are a few recommendations:
- Get some DNS knowledge – Now that you know, get your Google on and search up on what is DNS and why it matters.
- Do some digging – Use free tools like Dyn Gauge to look at the page load time of your site and that of your competitors. The tool will show not just page load, but the components that go into it. There’s also a DNS lookup tool that allow you to dig into the DNS provider that you and your competitors are using.
- Ask around – Ask your web / digital IT team which DNS they’re using, why they decided to use it, and how long it’s been since they evaluated their options.
- Get a Secondary (DNS) opinion – Adding redundancy to your DNS infrastructure may be the cheapest insurance policy you can buy. Redundant DNS, generally called Secondary DNS, doesn’t just kick-in when there’s a failure, it’s always working, competing to deliver the best DNS performance. Dyn’s High Availability DNS eBook is a great place to get smart on this.
I hope you too will see the light and realize that despite it’s in-the-weeds techiness, as we say here at Dyn: DNS is Sexy.
*Gartner, If External DNS Fails, So Does Your Digital Business, Refreshed: 15 September 2016