I tend to being in control of things. At least when it comes down to the web infrastructure.
A couple of years ago I used to have everything in one place / at one provider: domains, hosting package, apps (OK, we didn't call it that way back then) until I run into some problems and had to move my stuff to somewhere else. It turned out it's not that easy and resulted in some data loss and even domains. I do not excatelly remember all the details but it was a lesson enough for me to change my approach managing those kind of things.
I decided to switch to a more reliable and flexible solution by choosing different providers for different concerns.
For domains I use Godaddy and since recently also Namecheap.
I've got a VPS at Site5 (hostPro + Turbo plan) where I'm customer since 2006. My plan allows me to setup unlimited number of websites, email accounts, has no restrictions on traffic nor webspace. And most importantly Site5' support just rocks.
Since a couple of months I'm running different droplets at Digitalocean. I started mainly for testing and experimenting purposes. But in the meanwhile I also run some serious websites and apps there.
Let's have a look at the domain of this blog in detail.
The createbuildship.com is registered at Godaddy. The name servers point to my Digitalocean droplet. When you are with Godaddy your DNS setup should look like this:
This way all the traffic and DNS requests for this domain are forwarded to the Digitalocean nameservers. But in my case I want to use Site5 to handle Emails for this domain. To do this there is two steps necessary.
As mentioned I'm using Site5 for above reasons. But in this case Site5 will only handle the Email service. In order to that I had to create a new site and to setup my email addresses. This looks something like this:
Then login into your control panel of the site we just created and add some emails.
Finally let's head over to Digitalocean and select DNS from the top menu.
Now, we need tell the DNS system to route all mail traffic to our hosting account which we have configured in the previuous step. In order to do this we need to:
OK, so step by step.
(1) Select Record Type A and enter: mail.yourdomain.com. (the last dot is important!) in the Name field. Enter the IP address of your hosting account machine (in my case it's the IP address of my Site5 server). The Digitalocean frontend converts your input most likely into simply 'mail' so do not get confused. I've also defined a route to webmail.yourdomain.com which leads to my Webmail frontend powered by Roundcube. Nice and easy.
(2) As next we need to tell the DNS system to route all mail traffic to our 'mail' alias. For this select MX record type end enter mail.yourserver.com. (again the last dot is important) as hostname and enter 10 as priority. Sounds simple, right? It acutally is once I've figured that out 😉
I like the fact that I'm not dependent on just one service provider. If I need to move to an another domain registrar then it's just a question of transfering the domains. Everything else can stay. The same applies for any of the two other components in this solution.
Besides that it also makes sense budgetwise. If I just need to run the email service on one of my domains I can do it quite cheap. At least compered to solutions like Google Apps for Business. They charge starting from €4 per seat and month. Of course you'll get a lot more then just the email service. But if only email is important then you can have it cheaper this way: at least at Site5 becouse I can create as many sites as I want without paying more.
This approach is of course possible with almost any service provider and does not apply only to companies mentioned.
I hope this article helps.
Love & Peace