Master of your (non-profit's) domain

When I first started volunteering with the Orléans Festival, we were lucky enough to have free web hosting by a local company. There was "unlimited" disk space and bandwidth on a shared Linux box.

Why move?

As I discovered while registering us for Office 365, there are only so many DNS records you can manipulate through cPanel. Since some records require going through the DNS hosting website and our provider held our registration along with his other customers, there was a bit of a bottleneck and unnecessary layer of red tape.

Personally I think every entity should be in control of as much of as its assets as possible. One of my original goals was to get everything tech-related into a "proper" state so that anyone could take over in future years. Controlling your own registration and DNS is definitely part of that.

After all, you never know what could go wrong. Perhaps there's a disagreement and all of a sudden your nameserver registration mysteriously vanishes. Perhaps the company is sold and the new owners forget to renew your domain. Perhaps you're switching over to Office 365 and realize that you cannot set the SRV records for Lync yourself. anyway...

The Process

Moving domains with .ca is fairly straightfoward. You need whoever currently registers the domain to unlock it and then provide you with the transfer code. After that, you follow the instructions provided by your new DNS hosting service.
easyDNS

I chose to move us to easyDNS, for the simple reason that I and my friends have used them for years without a single issue. And they're Canadian! There may well be places cheaper than $15/year but I wonder if they have as good a track record. (My second choice would be dnsimple.com)

Key Records

It's important you make note of all the existing records at your current host/registrar. Here are the ones you definitely want to check:

  • MX (for Mail)
  • A (for your website)
  • CNAME (usually to redirect www.mydomain.ca to mydomain.ca)

Join a community of like-minded developers who want to help Canadian non-profits.

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