DNS flag day illustration with man and flag
Domains, Technology

DNS Flag Day is Almost Here – But Don’t Panic

You may have seen posts and articles about DNS Flag Day buzzing around the internet lately, and perhaps you’re worried what it means for you? Well, just to be totally clear right up front, everything will carry on as normal if you’re a Namecheap customer. Our systems are up to date, and you will not be affected.

Want more details? No problem…

What’s the DNS and Why’s It Got a Flag Day?

Think of the DNS (Domain Name System) like an Internet phonebook. When you type a website’s name into your browser, the DNS is what directs you to the right website. It connects the domain names (words) people use, with corresponding IP addresses, codes and records (numbers) that computers use.

Now, imagine that not only have lots more users been added to this digital phonebook but also extra information as well, such as addresses, zip codes etc. But some parts were not updated. So now the phonebook has to be compatible with both new and old info. Now also imagine that there are restrictions on what the phonebook can hold, such as limits to username fields and column numbers. Having to check multiple versions would make everything slower, and stop better features being added.

And that’s what’s happened. The DNS needs a clear out.

That’s what DNS Flag Day basically is: a global DNS clear out—scheduled to happen on 1 February 2019. The workarounds and extra checks that once helped websites running non-compliant software will no longer work—they were slowing everything down and endangering the system from a security point of view. But if your DNS provider is already 100% compliant with the industry requirements (like Namecheap!), you can relax.

Why the Updates Now?

The DNS system was created back in the 1980s. Since then it’s grown, but the rate of growth was quite slow until fairly recently. With the Internet now powering change and digital innovation across just about every industry, growth has hit the fast lane. More users. More domains. More IP addresses. More features. This means legacy systems are really starting to weigh progress down.

Older systems are also a security risk, potentially leaving important customer data exposed—now a major concern for organisations across the world.

Let’s Get Techie… What Exactly Will Happen?

After Flag Day, DNS Servers must be in line with EDNS (Extension mechanisms for DNS). They will no longer respond to legacy DNS requests. If you don’t have compliant servers or software, your online presence will slowly degrade and the website will stop working once the DNS system update is made.

EDNS is being supported by all the major DNS players, including Google and Cisco. So, there’s no escaping DNS Flag Day if your website or business is not compliant.

Not a Namecheap Customer?

If you’re worried that DNS Flag Day will affect your online presence, take a look at the special Flag Day site. If you think you need a better overall provider, you can always check out our Premium DNS services too.

Rich Adams avatar

Rich Adams

Richard has over 10 years’ experience working at major organizations and agencies, writing for brands such as BT Global Services, Oracle, Google, and eBay. This experience includes campaigns and projects across digital, social media, video, print, and branding… In short, he’s ok with words. More articles written by Richard .

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