Is it possible to have a third backup name server in case the first two fail?

Recently I had a site go down for about an hour when a CloudFlare datacenter went down. We have the option of setting a tertiary name server. Would this act as a failsafe, or do names servers work on a first come first server basis?

If a tertiary name server isn't the way to go, what's the best way to ensure the site stays up in case Cloudflare fails again?


You can currently only use the two CloudFlare nameservers at your registrar. While you could theoretically add another to your registar, this would then mean that some of those requests would not be proxied by CloudFlare (you would also likely get a notification from us that your nameservers have changed).

We are considering allowing for additional nameservers in the future. I also want to clarify that having one datacenter down doesn't mean that all of your site visitors would be having an issue, just those visitors that would hit that datacenter (I also realize this is little consolation).

  • Thanks, we had tested with a third nameserver, and you are correct some request would go through CloudFlare, some wouldn't. For now we've gone back to how it was before, but will interested to see further developments. (Let me know if anything does change!).
    – James Pegg
    Mar 15 '12 at 16:05

The alternatives are for just this case, for when the main nameserver isn't available. However that only works if your site isn't on the same datacenter as the first and second nameservers.

  • Okay, so I can't have a single server where two of the nameservers are provided by a CDN, and the last one isn't? (i.e it uses the hosting provider's nameservers)
    – James Pegg
    Feb 9 '12 at 11:22
  • I'm not quite sure what you mean by "two of the nameservers are provided by a CDN". Do you mean, the servers that those two nameservers point to for your domain name are on a CDN? In fact, I'm now not sure I understand your question - are you talking about failure of the nameservers themselves, or the servers they point to? Feb 9 '12 at 11:36
  • The nameservers themselves. Sorry, I should be more clear. So we use a proxy to handle all our traffic, which means we point to their nameservers. However, one of their datacenters went down which created an hour outage for some of our users. Would adding a third nameserver, pointing to the same web server, take over if the first two failed?
    – James Pegg
    Feb 9 '12 at 12:31
  • 1
    Yes, that would work. Feb 9 '12 at 13:37

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