Book review: DNS for Dummies

Back when I was getting my domain hosted, I wanted to try outsourcing my site blogginess to; they offer a way to host their centralized blog service on your domain name. So I bought a copy of DNS for Dummies. My recommendation: look for a different book. How can you have entire book about DNS and mention CNAME exactly one time? Frankly, that was all I wanted to know about. Oh well; you live you learn, you restart named a few times.

33 Responses to Book review: DNS for Dummies (Leave a comment)

  1. The idea of a “For Dummies” book sitting on the desk of one of the Google Brains is hilarious πŸ˜€

    I’ve made some good buys and some bad in the past. I like to focus on the good so I recommend:
    – JavaScript Bible by Danny Goodman (Hungry Minds)
    – Professional PHP by Wrox (but this is now replaced by Professional PHP 5 which I’ve not had a chance to read).

    I especially recommend them if you’re interested in PHP and JavaScript! πŸ˜€

  2. DNS for Dummies? Oh my god ! Now I can feel losing my traffic of G πŸ™‚ heh Just kidding πŸ™‚ Yeh, you live you learn….

    BTW, named (= resources killer, low security) ? You should try the djbdns, for me, the perfect dns server.

  3. Hi Matt – I ordered the following last week:
    DNS and BIND, Fourth Edition [Paperback]
    By: Paul Albitz, Cricket Liu

    DNS & BIND Cookbook [Paperback]
    By: Cricket Liu

    Along with this CD –

    Will let you know what they were like.


  4. I just hate any “X for Dummies” book. Official documentation and RFCs are the best way to learn computer related stuff.

  5. yeah, you really are ‘low level’… but I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing… For Dummies is a great series of books… some of them would be more useful as toilet paper, but most of them do their job just fine

  6. Matt,

    I thought the “Dummies” books are for tech novices, hardly the kind that works at Google. Don’t you guys have some inhouse publications on topics like DNS, instead of looking for these resources elsewhere?

  7. I agree with Low Level

    I also find it hilarious that a googler has a “for dummies” book on his desk,hehe.. however some of those series are really good, but thats why i love barnes and noble, you can look at it before you buy it, infact you can read it before you buy it- which i suggest

  8. In defense of morons, I am one and we need those “for dummies” books because of our low self esteem, har har!

  9. Personally I have never read a “for dummies” book but I personally read up on most of the stuff that needs learning online — though books are easier to learn, I don’t feel like scrummaging for the perfect book unless someone recommends it. But from the looks of it, I won’t be reading a “for dummies” book anytime soon. =)

  10. I found the early “Dummies” books excellent, even when I was very knowledgeable about the topic, but I think their successes bred a slew of new books for topics they should have left to others. DNS sounds like one of those.

  11. Well there is the Dummies series and then there is the Complete Idiots series. Best one I saw was The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Pro-Wrestling. If that isn’t the most redundant title, I don’t know what it would be.

    And yes, it’s on Amazon

  12. When the Dummies books first started to appear several years ago, the whole idea rubbed me the wrong way, too. I just didn’t like how they reinforced the idea that consumers couldn’t use computers at all without extensive help. The quality of these books varies widely, especially now that they’ve been spun off by IDG into their own company. Some of the long-standing titles are excellent, but many of these micro-topic tomes are once-over passes filled with cutesy icons and relatively little information.

  13. Hi Matt,

    Just want to give you some feedback on Froogle. It seems to be getting worse, not better. Those merchant reviews are quite silly. It is easy for a competitor to review a smallish store and make it look bad where real buyers won’t bother to review because so few buy and happen to also run across shopzilla. Therefore, IMO those reviews are corrupt or corruptible in the long run.

    And the new method of displaying results after clicking on the item is not good either. It’s trying to make Google more of a “Closed Web” rather than “Open Web”, which is what made G big in the first place.

  14. Matt (and all of Google),

    I have blocked Google Web Accelerator on my network. I don’t want Google prefetching my content by default. Until such time as Google makes the Web Accelerator honor robots.txt or provides Webmasters with some means of stopping the prefetches, no one using this invasive tool will be permitted to view my content.

    I know that many other Webmasters feel as I do. Google may NOT use our content as they please.

  15. You should have just googled it. One of the first few results for cname is:

    “DNS Oversimplified
    … or, even a rocket scientist can understand DNS”

    Much more appropriate for phd toting googlers than the “For Dummies” series.

  16. LOL I kind of feel insulted Matt. Good comparison but go easy on the stealth verbal assualt man! I actually believe you have a hidden message in your post. I see a correlation and further research reinforces the idea.

    Thanks a bunch dude!


    worked for me during college(on-the-job training is great). I definitely recommend.

  18. Matt,

    I would very much appreciate the opportunity to interview you via email for my website, If you can participate, please drop me a line at and we’ll get the process started.

    Otherwise, keep up the great job with this killer blog. I found it the other night, and have been up late the last couple of nites reading over your stuff.

    Thanks for your time,
    “The Geek”

  19. It is fun to sometimes not “google it” and go out and find some cool older books on ebay. I myself have some “do it yourself” style sites and get all kinds of cool ideas from old books. If I was to name my website “Water Gardens for Real Losers” do you think it would get some massive traffic from the search engines, hmm maybe not.

    Now if we could just get Matt to tell us what he learned about CNAME this would really be sweet eh? πŸ˜‰

  20. Sorry me again, I went to my favorite webtool and looked up CNAME to see if Matt might actually be doing a “stealth verbal assault” as someone mentions above and here is what webopedia says about CNAME:

    Though I am not a UNIX guy the interesting thing that might be of interest to Matt “the spam fighter” is the “alias” thinger which makes me think. If Google is in fact finally making an all out assault on spammers how to legit sites stay out of the crossfire??? Should we throw down our sites for review quickly before we get hosed?

    My new question is, if we add Google sitemaps to my websites and put the bar codes (or what ever you call them) in root, does this build a trusting relationship with Google? I want to be trusted dammit!!! I am willing to wait a year or two in sandbox hell but can you please find a way to connect with webmasters who want to put all the cards on the table and leave their guns at the door? Am I the only one who feels this way?

    I am a craftsperson that makes my own websites now and have been forced to learn about lame search engine marketing because the lack of any real results for my new sites. Please do not ignore this; this “relationship” I speak of just might be a very good thing for us all yes?

    I would really just like to hear one response from Matt or someone else at Google on this, then I will shut the hell up and go back to bashing my hands with hammers and stuff.


  21. Matt now you’ve got me worried about DNS problems as pitfalls to ranking. Hopefully you’ll do a post showcasing “common DNS errors” that prohibit proper indexing. One thing I’ve already noticed is that sometimes the index lists the OLD site that was at an IP rather than the new site that now occupies the IP.

  22. Dude, you’re buying a book to find out one thing? That’s what Google is there for πŸ˜‰

  23. Hi Matt

    The hidden message about that CNAME thing mightbe the canonical issue which is expected to be dealt with during the third stage of Update Jagger boy πŸ™‚


    P.S. The captcha shall prevent people from sending you ” private” messages which are not meant for public view. Accordingly you might lose some valuable feedbacks (:(

  24. Matt,

    Our gentle snow flakes are a bit slow to catch up. Harith seems to be the closest. I’m gonna first suggest to the webmaster community to become acqauinted with Google’s 3/31/2005 patent. Then understand what it means to manage and protect your DNS record. AND then understand how CNAME comes in play.

    For everyone else, why would good ole Matt buy the book DNS for Dummies when the patent had been written all around DNS, TrustRank, and ownership responsibility, AND Matt’s name is directly on it. Mike’s comment is 100%, he’s got Google right there! Matt knows what time it is. Folks, the stealth verbal assualt is Matt telling us it’s the DNS stupid, and more importantly the CNAME records and how you setup your aliases.

    Lastly, I question why WMW and TW went down last week. Could be cuz they flirted with their DNS settings? Or simply moving it to another host G considers reputable, therefore, increasing their TrustRank. What about Matt, why did he move his site, especially to a reputable host? DNS people, start protecting it with you life. It’s how you will increase your TrustRank.

    Mojo (aka Yippee – WMW)

  25. Ok then, if it is the “TrustRank” thinger and I have (3) of my sites on which I have paid for my own unique IP to separate myself from spammers did I do a smart thing?

    Can someone educate me about this please?

  26. Aaron,

    First, you have to look at the Name Server your IP is on. It is that entity that has to be trusted by Google, not the fact you have a separate IP from the rest. Another words, if you have your Domain Name/IP on a Name Server that is marked by Google as a Spammy server, you will suffer the fate as the rest on the box itself along with the smammers.

    Second, once you are sure you are on a trusted Name Server, then it’s configuration from there. That’s when the CNAME stuff comes in. Get to know the DNS standards, translation, Int’ laws, etc. Any respectable company will protect it’s DNS record under lock and key. I always recommend using Network Solutions for Domain Name registration and DNS management. They probably have 1 of the top 5 trusted Name Servers on the market.

    Whatever you do, don’t rush through your DNS configuration, and take baby steps. It can become virtual hell if you are not careful. Just ask Brett from WMW πŸ˜‰ No need to try to catch it in time for the Jagger update cuz it can always fix itself on future PR ranking. All the Jagger update is doing is uploading the mechanism to score the DNS stuff accordingly.

    Mojo (aka Yippee – WMW)

  27. Thanks Mojo but it is past that, I thought it was great registering my domains with and getting my own IP via for pennies,I can’t do anything to the server because it is not mine and I do not have access to it anyhow, BUT thanks for the heads up, I guess it’s time to read up on this garbage and try to catch up with the rest of you guys.

  28. Aaron,

    Keep in mind, pennies get you pennies. You get what you pay for and Google knows this. GoDaddy has a strong name so you might be on a good foot. Check their T&C (or wherever your NS server is) to see if they allow spammers to roam freely on their servers, and if they do, you will need to rethink your strategy otherwise. I am on WMW under Yippee, feel free to sticky mail me there and I will try to help where I can. Again, read Google’s 3/31/2005 patent… It’s painful but lots of info in there.


  29. Mojo,

    Thanks dude I appreciate you taking the time here, isn’t WMW that paid forum? Though I am eager to see what you guys are talking about in there I refuse to pay money to chat, besides it is very time consuming and removes me from my Zen place. πŸ˜‰ I have been blah blah blah’ing like a lost sheep in the WebProWorld forum for a few days now, (shows how insane this garbage is making me). Will try to save up some adsense $ to pay to get in, I should have enough by Xmas, in my case pages got the dreaded PR disease that you all seem so fond of, if PR is going to hose my sh*t I want nothing to do with it.

    I am going to do a site with a stupid name for comic relief and call it or somethin’, from there I can send people into sandbox hell with bad advice, the forums do not seem to help anyone out really, maybe WMW is different, but I doubt it.




  30. Hello Andrew,
    Don’t go just by the title of the book. Though, I agree that in general, Dummies books are aimed for beginners, a few of them are quite good even for experienced persons. And it goes with the author. Happy to see that there are others (experienced, but not necessarily beginners) who value content and buy a book irrespective of what the title (Dummies) says.

  31. I like the concept of dummies books. I know it has helped some of my clients brush up on their basics of computing. Which helps make it easier to communicate with them.

  32. i agree with you friend

  33. I registered a domain in Hong Kong, and pointed DNS to US hosting server. Then I realized that the foreign domain needed to take more than 38 hrs to go live. — Usually it takes about 24-48 hrs in the States if you register here.