VeriSign Speeds Domain Name Changes

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-09-10 Print this article Print

The registry for the Internet's leading domains turns on faster DNS updates. The new plan could let sites respond more quickly in an emergency.

Changing a Web hosting provider and domain-name information just got easier. VeriSign Inc. on Thursday announced it has sped up its updating of the .com and .net domains. Rather than twice a day, the registry now is sending a file of .com and .net changes every few seconds to the 13 distributed DNS servers for the domains. The result is more instantaneous propagation of information on new name servers for specific domain names, said Matt Larson, a principal engineer at VeriSign.
Under the previous batch approach, a domain-name registrant often would wait as long as 24 hours before changes to name-server information would trickle through the entire DNS, Larson said. That could lead to possible downtime when switching web hosting providers.
"Now you dont have a situation where you send the information to your registrar and have to wait for the information to propagate," Larson said. The enhancement, which VeriSign is calling "rapid updates," also could help Internet Service Providers and Web sites respond to emergencies, such as an outage of a name server, by being able to more quickly make domain changes, he said. The "rapid updates" feature is part of the Mountain View, Calif., companys larger technology platform called ATLAS, or Advanced Transaction Look-up and Signaling system. ATLAS includes VeriSigns homegrown name servers for the management of .com and .net, the Internets two most-popular generic domains with more than 35 million domain names. As a registry, VeriSign works with more than 200 registrars, the companies through which businesses and individuals register domain names and provide name server information. The accelerated updates come as domain-name registrations themselves are on the upswing. In June, VeriSign reported that registrations had reached record levels. VeriSign manages .com and .net through an agreement with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the nonprofit oversight body of the DNS. The two are embroiled in a legal fight over the extent of ICANNs authority. VeriSigns contract for managing .net also is due to expire next year, and ICANN is developing a process for opening that domain to bidders. Check out eWEEK.coms Infrastructure Center for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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