We host domains for our clients. We don’t have a pretty webby control panel for them – we find most of our customers prefer to administer their domains by phoning or emailing the required changes to us and having us take care of the fiddly techy details.

But we have some customers who prefer to host their domains elsewhere. Which is fine by us. And we still help with advice on what to do when changes are needed.

Today we are switching a customer to a new ADSL network and as their incoming mail is delivered directly, that means a new MX record. We sent the client the info they would need to add to the domain, which is hosted at 123-reg.

During the process we suggested that they add records to allow our own name servers to be “secondary” (or “slave”) servers for the domain. That means any changes to the domain would be advised to our servers at once!

Adding secondary servers should just be a case of adding two new “IN NS” records to the domain’s existing NS records. The existing ones point at the 123-reg servers, of course.

However, adding two new NS records permitting the Wizards dns servers to request updates from the master, broke it – because on adding these records, 123-reg’s system assumed that they were meant to be taken INSTEAD of the original ones (though our client did not delete the original ones).  So within minutes she’s getting phone calls saying “we can’t send you emails, they bounce back”.

On re-visiting the 123-reg control panel, she finds that the wizards DNS servers are now the ONLY NS entries.

On returning the NS records to what they were before, we further discover that to back up their invalid assmption that we wished to CHANGE name servers, not add more, they’ve deleted all the A and MX entries for the domain.

On painstakingly re-creating all these (fortunately we had notes on what they should be! A good idea, folks if you maintain your own domain configs) 123-reg made a further assumption – that we would want the client’s emails sent to the 123-reg email servers. So it had added two MX records for that to the ones we had set up. Good job we went back and checked it *again*. So finally these extra MX records were removed, and finally the domain is… back where it started!! Only now the client will not receive any email from her regular co-respondents until their local DNS caches have expired, which will be around 8 hours, or, a whole working day lost!

Thanks, 123-reg.


Gentle reader, if you host your domain with 123-reg, please take note that any time you make a change, it appears that 123-reg computers may look at your change then make some wild assumptions about what you really meant, and make further changes which you are unaware of. After you’ve made the chances you want, please, log BACK in a few minutes later and review the now current settings just to make sure they are what you wanted them to be!!