CentralNic DNS Foolishness

CentralNic has started using wildcard DNS (from The Register). In other words, domains which don’t exist still resolve to an IP address rather than returning NXDOMAIN. The drawbacks of this are well-documented elsewhere.

But even before this, they were playing around with their DNS configuration. Our family has a domain that we use for email, markham.uk.net. We used CentralNic because by the time we got around to looking for a domain, “markham” was taken in all the suitable TLDs. Recently, a vitally important family email went astray due to a typo in the domain. Did it bounce? No – it disappeared into a black hole, causing a lot of stress because one party assumed the other had read it. And the problem still occurs today. Send email to test@markhamxxx.uk.net and see what I mean? Does one get a bounce message? No :-( Grr…

Take my advice – avoid CentralNic. Aside from the above tomfoolery, there’s no competition in the uk.com/uk.net DNS market. They are the sole supplier, and that’s why they are 7x more expensive than a .com/.net domain.

12 thoughts on “CentralNic DNS Foolishness

  1. I get : The following message to was undeliverable. The reason for the problem: 5.1.2 – Bad destination host ‘DNS Hard Error looking up null.centralnic.com (A): NXDomain’

    When I try to mail your test email.

  2. Hi,

    Seems they reversed the decision already:

    The following message to was undeliverable.
    The reason for the problem:
    5.1.2 – Bad destination host ‘DNS Hard Error looking up null.centralnic.net (A): NXDomain’

    I sent another email to test@markham uk net

    And that didn’t bounce back.

    Seems like it’s fixed (for now). YAY!

  3. So, apparently they are not (or no longer) routing mail to the bunk destinations but they are routing http requests.

    So, it’s bad, but it’s getting better.

  4. There is competition in the uk.com/uk.net market: co.uk/net.uk. The .uk TLD is also run by a single supplier but they’re a non-profit organisation.

  5. ant: what I mean is, in uk.net, the registry and the registrar are the same company. So once you’ve registered a domain in .uk.net, they can charge you what they like below the level of “this is extortionate; I’m going to go to all the effort of changing domains”. This is not true of .co.uk, because the registry is non-profit and there are many registrars who compete, so prices are kept low.

  6. In response to some concerns raised by others within the DNS community CentralNic added wildcard MX and SPF records alongside the wildcard A records.

    This ensures that any misaddressed mail will result in an authoritative bounce message returned to the sender, and that spammers cannot exploit the wildcard to fake the From address in unsolicited email.

    We decided not to run an SMTP responder that would bounce misaddressed messages because we wanted to allay any fears that we might be reading people’s email.

    Regarding our pricing and sales channels – CentralNic does have a registrar network, in fact over 1,000 companies are accredited, including some well-known and trusted organisations. I can’t name specific registrars, but if you want a list I can provide one.

    Our higher pricing affects the higher availability of domain names within our zones. We feel that people are willing to pay a higher price for the exact domain name that they want to use. But our registrars get a substantial discount, and most of them pass it on to their own customers.


    Gavin Brown
    CTO, CentralNic.

  7. “Our higher pricing affects the higher availability of domain names within our zones.”

    That should, of course, read “Our higher pricing REFLECTS the higher availability of domain names within our zones.”


  8. Gavin: thanks for responding. Although perhaps your response is more to do with preserving your public image than with my problem, given that a substantially-identical private email I sent to your company (in which I pointed out that I was a customer) has gone unanswered?

    The fact remains that what you are doing is considered technically problematic by the majority of the knowledgeable members of the Internet community, and you are doing it for self-serving promotional reasons, not because it provides any benefit to your customers. I would urge you to reverse this decision.

  9. Centralnic domains are very expensive and they seek to maximise
    revenue at their customers expense!!!!! �65 is a scandalous
    price and the worst thing is that they could increase it
    unilaterally to �200 and customers that have branded under
    theirDomain.uk.com would be forced to either rebrand or
    pay up…..they offer no price guarantee and so I suggest
    you buy theirdomainuk.com for $7.99 at Godaddy!!!!!!!!