1and1 domains: broken glue record controls

I have been using the 1&1 registrar for about ten personal domains and a bunch more company domains. I originally transferred my domains to them about eight years ago because at the time, they not only relatively inexpensive, but their control panel was far better than my previous registrar too: I could maintain my own glue records from their control panel; no need to file a support ticket!

It still was not perfect, because they're really set up for web hosting, and the process for creating glue records for those running their own DNS was confusing. Today, I am unable to create glue records at all, even after filing a support ticket! Since 1and1 now costs 50% more than other registrars, my original reasons for staying with them now don't apply.

Here's the problem described in detail.

Contacting support

I tried and failed to set up new glue records for my new nameserver. The interface has changed since last time I used it years ago. The attempt to change the records was with Firefox v. 27, and to eliminate browser problems, all browser plugins were disabled.

I contacted support several days ago, and it took them several days to reply with this copy-and-paste answer [ellipses added]:


Dear John [...] Customer ID: [...]),

Thank you for contacting us.

We would like to apologize for the duration it took us to reply back to your email. As much as we strive to respond to all emails within 48 hours, we occasionally experience extraordinary email volume, resulting in delayed response time and for this, we apologize profusely.

Regarding your concern, in order to create the glue name servers, you will need to create a subdomain relay2.inet2.zultron.com first on your 1&1 account and then change the IP address of the subdomain. Please refer to the steps below on how to create a subdomain in your 1&1 account:

1. Log in to the 1&1 Control Panel using your customer id or domain name and password.
2. Under Domains Panel, click on Domains Center link.
3. Click on New and select Create Subdomain.
4. On the first box, type in the name of the subdomain and then click on create subdomain button.

Wait for the subdomain to be ready before changing the IP address. Please refer to the steps below on how to change the IP address of the subdomain:
1. Log in to the 1&1 Control Panel using your customer id or domain name and password.
2. Under Domains Panel, click on Domains Center link.
3. Check the box beside your domain name and click on Domain Settings.
4. Select Edit Basic Settings.
5. Click on the plus icon beside Subdomain Overview.
6. Check on the box beside your subdomain and click on subdomain settings. Select Edit DNS settings.
7. Under Advanced DNS settings. Select other IP address.
8. Type in the IP address on the IPV4 box and click on Save.
9. Wait 24-48 hours for the DNS to propagate.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

--
Best Regards,
Jo Ellen [...]
Technical Support
1&1 Internet Limited

> MailType=Form-Mail
> [...]
>
> text=
> I'm trying to add two new glue nameserver records for my domains. I want the following additional record:
>
> relay2.inet2.zultron.com 209.40.199.180
>
> Thank you.
>

Following support instructions

The first set of steps work fine, and of course I had already succeeded in completing those before contacting support:

1and1-1-subdomain-initialized


The next steps work fine until a hiccup on step 7, where there is no "Advanced DNS Settings" section on the page:

1and1-1-subdomain-initialized


After clicking on the "1&1 name servers" radio button, the "Advanced DNS Settings" section appears, but with the "Other IP Address" button deselected and greyed-out. However, instructions also appear saying "To configure the advanced DNS settings, click on Save and wait until the domain status becomes Active":

1and1-3-subdomain-advanced-dns-settings


Clicking on "Save" reveals the following confirmation:

1and1-4-subdomain-confirm-yes


After clicking "Yes", a pop-up saying "Your DNS settings have been saved" appears momentarily, and then the previous screen reappears, exactly the same as after starting step 7!

1and1-1-subdomain-initialized


Trying other combinations on the last step, like selecting 'CNAME' and entering a value, or clicking 'Reset', also have no effect.

Clicking 'Cancel' goes back to the 'Subdomain Settings' page in the first picture, showing 'Status: Active' and 'Name servers: Other name servers'. All this clicking made no change at all.

Contacting support: 2nd reply

I sent an email reply with this page's URL, and received a response much faster, less than two hours.

The reply says I must "select the 1&1 name servers first [...] and then click on Save button". Now 1and1's instructions are amended to include my fix for step 7, that's progress!

Next, the reply says I must wait 24 hours for the changes. Of course I first did this several days ago, but I'll wait another 24 hours to humor them.

I suspect this next 24 hours will make no difference. If it does, it implies that it can take up to 72 hours to create glue records for a new host: 24 hours to create the initial entry ('relay2.inet2.zultron.com'), 24 hours to "select the 1&1 name servers", and 24 hours to assign the IP address. In a scenario where a domain suffers a catastrophic failure on one of two authoritative nameservers, running three days on the remaining server with no redundancy is an unacceptable risk. Add a few hundred dollars more per year to the cost of staying with 1and1 to run an additional DNS server, and the deal is starting to look worse and worse.


Dear John [...] Customer ID: [...]),

Thank you for contacting us.

We sincerely do apologize for the inconvenience that this has caused you. But in order for you to be able to change the IP address of your subdomain relay2.inet2.zultron.com, you need to select the 1&1 name servers first under the subdomain dns settings and then click on Save button. You need to wait 24 hours first for the changes to be updated. Once it has been updated to the 1&1 name servers, you can then try changing the IP address of your subdomain.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

--
Best Regards,
Jo Ellen [...]
Technical Support
1&1 Internet Limited

> Hi Jo Ellen,
>
> I have followed your steps exactly with exactly the same results: I am
> unable to create the glue records, and there is something wrong with
> step 7 below.
>
> So that you can see exactly the issue, I have written a blog with screen
> captures:
>
> http://www.zultron.com/2014/03/1and1-domains-broken-glue-record-controls/
>
> Thank you-
>
> John

Contacting support, 3rd reply

Over 24 hours later, I sent another email confirming the problem remains, and received a the following reply.

I assume that by "hosted", Joanna Rae means DNS hosting. So she is telling me that my glue records need to be created on my own DNS. I'm just not sure how to reply. Of course the zone's DNS has entries for its own name servers, since those servers are within its zone.

So now it seems that I am unable to update my zone records *at all*, either through the control panel or by filing tickets.


Dear John [...] (Customer ID: [...]),

Thank you for contacting us.

As I have checked the main domain which is zultron.com is hosted elsewhere and this is why the glue record you are trying to create does not work. Glue records should be created where the domain is hosted with.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

--
Best Regards,
Joanna Rae [...]
Technical Support
1&1 Internet Limited

> Ah ha, it seems you found the steps in my blog where I do exactly that:
> choose '1&1 name servers' and click 'Save'. Thank you for reading it.
>
> I first performed this step a week ago with no effect. Just to make
> sure, I waited over 24 hours after performing it again yesterday, as
> detailed in the blog.
>
> The problem remains: The subdomain's DNS servers are still set to the
> greyed-out "Other name servers" after following your steps through #7,
> and including your extra step from your email dated 03/28, below.
>
> I'm sure you must understand how frustrating and maddening it is to be
> stuck for nearly a week, and then to be told I'm doing something wrong.
> Thanks in advance for doing whatever it takes on your side to make sure
> we don't go around in more circles.
>
> John

Next steps

At this point, I have no idea what to do, except to transfer to another registrar.

2 Comments

MikeApril 3rd, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Ahh, at least you are able to access your domains. I’ve been without access for about 2 weeks now. 1&1 states that some users are having trouble with the domain control panel and that their admins are working on the issue. I email them every couple of days and get the same response. I have had no other option then to move my hosting over to bluehost.

Good luck!

Mike

jmanApril 3rd, 2014 at 9:50 pm

Thanks, Mike!

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