How to successfully migrate DNS to Network Solutions

This is the second part of a project to migrate a client’s email system to Google Apps and GMail, i.e. //

I had a very frustrating time with Network Solutions last night. We had scheduled the move from ElectricMail Company (EMC) to Network Solutions (NS) because EMC wouldn’t update our MX records so that they were specific Google-provided MX records. The DNS Adminstrator (called maestro) interface with EMC allows for addition of MX records but starts at priority 10, and EMC reserves the higher priority 1-9 for their own use which makes our custom MX additions useless. EMC says that their high-priority MX records point to the Google MX records we have just added and emails do work but doing this redirection/forwarding/relaying did not let us activate the Google Apps GMail feature.

The registrar for our domain was NS so it made sense to move DNS administration there. The work was done last night and everything was moved successfully but it could have been smoother. I had to call NS tech support at least three times because each technician would tell me something different. The problem that found with making DNS changes is the time it takes before you see any change appear on the dashboard. If I waited up to the suggested 2-hour wait time for changes to take effect, it would have taken me over 6 hours for each of the three total calls I made to NS tech support. It was a good thing I was persistent in calling multiple times, as frequent as every 15-30 minutes, to double-check on the changes.

The first call was made to find out how to move name servers from EMC to NS. Apparently, you have to pick the Under Contruction Page option in the NS dashboard when taking over name servers. Doing it any other way wouldn’t have been correct. It wasn’t intuitive. The second call I put in after 15 minutes because the www record was pointing to a bogus parked page and I didn’t want to wait 2 hours as advised by NS tech simply to realize I have make more changes. I was told this time to delete the default Under Construction Page records and that my custom A records and MX records would remain. Wrong. I made a third call to NS tech after I noticed 15 minutes later that all my custom A and MX record additions were all erased. I was furiuos because NS tech guaranteed it was all set up correct. I had to manually recreate the resource records a second time. The changes were good and took affect on ther internet an hour later. I was able to activate Google Apps Gmail feature after that.

By the time I was done, it was close to 1:30am. I was glad that there were no problems the next morning. All email delivery still worked and websites still functioned. I received multiple kudos for providing great “nocturnal” support but it was thanks to the NS outsourced call-centres in the Philippines for helping me get it all working. Having 24×7 support was a blessing.

My advise when moving name servers from one provider to another is to 1) ensure you can get 24×7 support; 2) have all the zone records available; 3) have a good test plan; and most important of all, 4) be persistent, constantly asking for validation of changes. I hope this helps you out.

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