Back when we introduced the first version of zeit.world, our goal was to come up with a reliable and easy-to-use DNS system that just got out of the way. We did this so that whenever you point a deployment to a custom domain, DNS records are configured automatically.
To provide transparency into this process and low-level access, we extended our CLI with commands like now dns add and now dns ls to manage your domains’ records.
Today, I’m proud to announce an all-new zeit.world, powered by 5 extra regions (bringing the total to 15) and backed by a redundant, globally distributed IP Anycast network which results in up to 28x faster lookups from many places in the world.
NOTE: if you are currently a zeit.world user, make sure to read the migration guide section of this blost post!
Until today, our nameservers had a one-to-one mapping between IP Address and Location.
amsterdam.zeit.world188.226.197.55
california.zeit.world173.255.215.107
dallas.zeit.world173.192.101.194
frankfurt.zeit.world91.109.245.139

Some examples of our now legacy nameservers

This made zeit.world globally available and redundant, but raised some fundamental questions and problems:
  • What happens if your customers in, for example, California happen to resolvia via london.zeit.world?
  • What’s the right set of nameservers to pick for a global audience?
  • What’s the right order of those nameservers?
With the new zeit.world, all of those questions go away. Our Anycast DNS network maps every IP automatically to multiple locations throughout the world.
Our new nameservers no longer need to refer to specific regions: they automatically will take your customers to our nearest datacenter where their DNS queries will be resolved.

15 points of presence, with many more to come

Moving forward, no matter how your domain is configured, the closest dot in the map will answer your queries.
Because of the distributed and universal nature of our new DNS system, we are introducing a simplified naming convention for our anycast nameservers: the alphabet!
a.zeit.worldeverywhere!
b.zeit.worldeverywhere!
c.zeit.worldeverywhere!
d.zeit.worldeverywhere!
e.zeit.worldeverywhere!
f.zeit.worldeverywhere!

Our new nameservers: faster and easier to configure

No matter where your customers are in the world, these new hostnames will route them to a nearby nameserver. Not only is it easier to remember them when configuring a domain, there are tremendous latency improvements!
To put our theory to the test, we wrote a series of benchmarks against the legacy [city].zeit.world and deployed them to 12 major locations around the world. The results speak for themselves:
NewOld
Changhua County
11.1x
Taiwan
Tokyo
4.4x
Japan
Jurong West
5.7x
Singapore
Sydney
1.5x
Australia
St. Ghislain
11.1x
Belgium
London
12.8x
U.K.
Frankfurt
27.7x
Germany
São Paulo
1.3x
Brazil
Iowa
4.9x
USA
South Carolina
5.6x
USA
Virginia
5.5x
USA
Oregon
1.8x
USA

Smaller is better. Data collected over multiple runs of `dig` on Cloud VMs.

Want to get started? If you’re setting up a new domain or buying it with one command via now domains buy: there’s nothing for you to do! You’ll enjoy this performance increase effective immediately!
First of all, rest assured that your domains and the existing [city].zeit.world nameservers continue to function normally and uninterruptedly.
However, we strongly advice you upgrade your nameservers to enjoy the new performance benefits. The legacy names will be deprecated completely and stop working on March 1st, 2018. We will be reminding our customers to upgrade periodically and finally shut them down completely on that date.
Upgrading takes just a few minutes, with no downtime at all.
If your domain is registered elsewhere (for example: GoDaddy), log onto your panel and configure the nameservers listed above. For example, this is what zeithq.com looked like on Google Domains prior to its migration:

The old nameservers we configured for our domain

… and this is what it looks like now:

The new nameservers. This is the only thing we have to change!

That’s all there is to it. No further commands to execute. No downtime.
If you purchased one or more domains with us, there’s nothing to do. They have already been migrated!
At ZEIT we’re committed to delivering not only the most user-friendly cloud tools, but also the most performant ones. Our mission is to make the cloud accessible to everyone in the world. With this upgrade, we are one meaningful step closer to fulfilling that mission.
We know, however, that production changes can be scary and introduce unexpected side effects. If you encounter any problems or have any questions, our team is available to chat.
Finally, if you are passionate about our mission, don’t forget we are hiring!