At a Glance

UltraDNS was formed by the company NeuStar, a web services group created in 1996 by Lockheed Martin when the U.S. government mandated local number portability. They are one of the most well-known DNS providers on the market. Their clients include Forbes, Oracle, Amazon and Petco. (Source)

Network

UltraDNS runs an IP Anycast DNS network. According to their website, they have 14 globally synchronized DNS server nodes located on 5 continents. (Source)

Uptime

Though UltraDNS claims 100% uptime on their website, they have had periods of downtime in the recent past. In March of 2009, a DDoS attack brought down Amazon.com, Salesforce.com, Advertising.com, and Petco.com for several hours. (Source)

Another DDoS attack in late December brought down their entire West Coast network - including Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Expedia.com - for about two hours. (Source)

Features

UltraDNS offers both internal ("recursive") and external ("authoritative") DNS.

DNS Shield is a service they've added that is meant to provide more security to websites on their network. It works by deploying their authoritative DNS servers within the recursive DNS networks of several participating ISPs - including Yahoo, Verio, EarthLink, and AOL. In theory, this means that even if UltraDNS's main network goes down, anyone using those participating ISPs will still be able to connect to websites using UltraDNS. (Source)

We've been unable to verify whether or not DNS Shield works - during UltraDNS's most recent outage, we had reports that AOL users were unable to connect to UltraDNS customer sites, which would seem to indicate that this service does not function as it should. (Source)

UltraDNS also has traffic management tools like "Directional DNS", and "Site Backer" which is a system monitoring and failover service. (Source)

Web Management Portal

(Coming Soon)

Customer Service / Technical Support

UltraDNS has a very large sales staff, and they offer free 24/7 phone support for technical issues. We have heard many complaints about their over-aggressive sales staff (Source).

Pricing

Their website advertises their minimum plan starting at $15 per month for the bare minimum DNS plan - 1 domain, 5 records, 5,000 queries. However, a rep from UltraDNS gave us the price of $7 per month for the same plan. They declined to give us any further pricing information, claiming they are in the middle of restructuring all of their pricing. They also claimed that all of the pricing information listed on their website is inaccurate. However, without a confirmed pricing structure, we have to go with what is on their website - since that's the current pricing all of their customers see/use when signing up for their service. Ultra DNS pricing as of February 2010.

Full Email Exchange:
04 Feb. 2010
04 Feb. 2010 pt. 2
04 Feb. 2010 pt. 3
18 Feb. 2010
18 Feb. 2010 pt. 2
19 Feb. 2010
23 Feb. 2010
24 Feb. 2010

One common complaint about UltraDNS is their query overage pricing. They charge $1 per 1,000 queries you go over quota, and don't offer any logs or explaination to justify said overages. (Source-Comments Section of Page)

Speed

UltraDNS has extremely inconsistent response times from week to week. Some weeks they will be extremely fast, other weeks they've fallen to response times in the hundreds. Speed Charts

 

 

 

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