The Cold Hard Facts Behind Free DNS

Organizations rely on DNS for critical business applications with many enterprises using a combination of DNS, DHCP and IPAM solutions, including free Microsoft DNS among others.

Last updated on April 29, 2021.

Calculating the Cost of Free

Organizations rely on DNS for critical business applications with many enterprises using a combination of DNS, DHCP and IPAM solutions, including free Microsoft DNS among others. At first glance, Microsoft DNS seems like a great option, but as time goes on, the needs for patches increase, important resources get reallocated and you find yourself scrambling to hire more system administrators to fight the fires Microsoft DNS created. What started as a solid architecture begins to crumble, putting your entire organization at a disadvantage.

One the world’s largest brands used free Microsoft DNS; however, and only three network admins were equipped with the knowledge to manage changes, and even then could only do so with specifically assigned laptops. One day someone accidentally deleted a zone during one of their busiest seasons, taking out the intranet for half a day and halting critical applications.

Looking grow your business in the future? Not so fast. Looking to adjust to a changing marketplace? Think again. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and free DNS can only stand up for so long. If you don’t see your enterprise’s needs changing for the next 50 years, sure, free DNS is fine. But if you have plans to scale, adapt, or shift, it’s time to take a look in the mirror.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

“Microsoft is not designed to be managed centrally. This prevents us from moving forward on important business initiatives like moving processes to the Cloud and offering mobile options.”

There are cold, hard numbers behind the cost of free DNS, and no enterprise is the same. We’ve created The Cost of Free calculator to provide some insight into just how much free Microsoft DNS is siphoning out of your business. Each company’s cost of free is broken down using three categories: administrative costs, unexpected DNS issues, and outages and downtime. Take all these variables into account, plug them into our calculator, and you get a holistic snapshot of your enterprise’s cost of free.

1) Administrative Costs

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First you must know your basic admin costs. Administrative costs account for core staff and essential tasks. Fundamentally, they cover your team of network administrators without taking any extra, unexpected circumstances into account (That’s our next step). Incorporating the average yearly salary of a network administrator, the average number of weekly tasks and time it takes to complete said tasks, will give you a well-rounded admin snapshot.

2) Cost of Unexpected DNS Issues

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You can only plan for so much, and you don’t want to spend the majority of your time and resources putting out fires. Approximating the number of DNS-related tickets your network admins deal with weekly along with the time it takes them to resolve a single ticket will help you understand if you’re spending too much time, attention and money on issues that could potentially be avoided with another DNS provider.

3) Cost of Outages and downtime

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Service outages and downtime are the bane of any organization’s existence. And while it’s reasonable to anticipate a certain amount of downtime, it can get to a point where it becomes excessive. By taking the number of expected outages per year and the average length of a single outage into account, and basing the cost on $300,000/per outage1.

Downtime events cost the average midsize company $5 million a month. And when you lean on the unstable, deteriorating foundation of free DNS, you leave yourself that much more vulnerable to downtime events, further exacerbating outage costs.

It’s called “free DNS”, but you get what you pay for, and free Microsoft DNS is costing you in ways that aren’t always immediately obvious. You might not think it’s that bad. After all, it’s been working for this long, why make a change now? That opinion is bound to change when you can assign cold, hard numbers to these costs. Microsoft DNS shifts from “This is great”, to “This isn’t that bad” and ultimately ends with “This is worse than I thought.”

Don’t settle for a crumbling DNS foundation. It’s time to come face to face with your cost of free.

Learn more about the true cost of free DNS in our amazing eBook.

1 Gartner analyst, Andrew Lerner. URL:

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