Let me start by saying that I like 1and1 for my hosting. It’s pretty much no fuss/no muss hosting that’s easy to set up and easy to manage. I have no plans to move and all of my clients and my stuff currently resides on 1and1. So now with that said…
The other day, seemingly out of the blue, they deleted one of my domains. I’m writing about the experience here just in case you find yourself in the same situation.
The issue was a little different because I am not hosting a website for this domain on 1and1. I’m only hosting email. To split your DNS record, you have to log onto your Registrar and update your MX records. If you’re technical, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not, here is what that means.
It’s possible to host your website on one server, with one provider while hosting your email with another provider. This has been the case forever because a company doesn’t typically host their website on the same box as they host their email. So in order for a domain to know how to route incoming traffic (either to the web server or to the email server) the domain references a little file…that’s it’s DNS record. The DNS record allows you to set your DNS servers (web servers) and your MX record (your email server aka Mail Exchange.) We call this splitting the record.
When you split a record you do this at the Registrar. Sometimes your Registrar can be a different company than your host. In my case, my Registrar is Godaddy an my Host is 1and1. Why do I have a separate Registrar and Host company? Well…I guess the simple answer is…because I can. I don’t really know anything about Godaddy hosting. The few times I tinkered with it I didn’t like the admin tools and well..the rest of the reasons I can leave for another post/time. Suffice it to say, you are not restricted to using your Registrar’s hosting service, even though they manage your domain. (yes, this is usually the part where people’s eyes begin to gloss over).
In reality, splitting a record is pretty straight forward. You need to know what the mail servers addresses are. For 1and1 they are: mx00.1and1.com and mx01.1and1.com. Armed with this information you log onto your Registrar find your DNS control, find the MX controls and add those addresses in to the priority fields….deleting the old ones.
At your Host, you need to add the domain to your account. For every host this process is different. For 1and1 it’s really easy, that’s one of the reasons I like them. When splitting a record, there is an extra step (one that I did not know about until today)…and I’ll get to that in a second.
Now that we’ve covered the background, let’s talk about what happened so that you don’t find yourself with a deleted domain and a bunch of sales guys calling you wondering where their email is.
I want to add that 1and1’s tech support can be a little frustrating at times. I’m not sure where they are in the world, but they sure as hell aren’t in Kansas. So you do have to deal with varying degrees of Indian accents.
When I originally set this domain up it was running email was flowing and the record split took without a problem. But then about 30 days after I got it set up 1and1 sent us an email that said they had deleted the domain from their servers because it had not been set up properly.
I called in the first time and support could not help me. So I just redid the domain on their server, re-built the email accounts (yes that was a royal pain in the ass) and decided to wait until the thing had propagated before calling them back.
Some advice for talking to tech support. 1. Never assume they know more than you. 2. Try never to get into an issue you cannot verify or replicate. Our domain being gone from their system made it difficult for support to know why it was deleted…there was no trail. That’s why I went ahead and set it up again…so then we’d be able to look at the record and see what was wrong with it and why it was deleted.
It turns out that there is a second step required with 1and1 when you split your DNS. And that second step is that you have to go back into the 1and1 server and “tell” it that your domain is not going to be using their DNS. You do that by going to Administration—>Domains—-> check box the domain—> click the down arrow next to DNS—–>Edit DNS settings. Then you’ll see a drop down next to Basic DNS Settings. Select My Name Server. Click ok. When you do this a little red (DNS) will appear next to your domain in the list.
That’s it. You should be good to go…now if this domain gets deleted again, I’ll let you know…
February 12, 2010