If you ever need to work with DNS servers or domain management, you find tools that help you get an outside perspective of what is happening with DNS invaluable. Years ago I found DNSStuff and immediately fell in love. They have tons of tools that give a wealth of information. I configured some quick bookmarks in Firefox that made making specific requests more simple than doing a dig from a command line while returning more data than any of my system tools could possibly offer.

A little more than a year ago, DNSStuff changed from free to a paid service. Since I found their tools so valuable, paying a few dollars a month for the service was a small price to pay. In fact, I was happy to pay for the service and quickly purchased a subscription for a year.

Over time, things changed. They continued to change their site format resulting in me having to constantly change my quick bookmark formats. All of these changes were to force people to buy subscriptions, but why was I being affected since I was a paying member? About half the time that I would try to do a query, it would take me to a page with severely reduced tools with ads all over the place telling me to buy a subscription. It was annoying, but I dealt with it. Then the frustrations went up another notch when they divided the service into two different subscription models. Suddenly, tools that I used to access for free and then could continue to access since I paid for them were no longer available. Every time I’d accidentally try to request one of those tools with my quick bookmarks it would tell me to upgrade. Furthermore, the tools that I could still access with my paid subscription became littered with ads telling me to upgrade. Around this time I also started to receive frequent email ads telling me to upgrade my service to gain access to other features.

My subscription ran out a couple of months ago. I was faced with renewing my subscription or finding something else. I decided that despite the irritations that I would renew since the tools were really that good. Then came the shock, the prices had gone up. To access all the tools I had purchased (and eventually lost access to) a year ago would cost me around twice as much as before. Not only would I be paying more, the site that I would pay to access would be filled with ads and would constantly send me emails pestering me to purchase yet even more tools that they invent. That’s when I decided to ditch DNSStuff and find a DNSStuff alternative.

After quite a bit of searching around and trying different tools, I settled on Ip Tools. Frankly, their tools aren’t as robust as DNSStuff’s tools and don’t offer the wealth of information either; however, they are still (at this moment) free and perform a good enough service.

My desire is to one day build up a tool that is as good as what DNSStuff offerred without all the constant ads in my face, that I can use just as quickly as the original DNSStuff tools could be, and that wouldn’t leave me with a feeling of being ripped off. This tool will most likely be a personal tool and be available to some friends of mine. If I get enough interest though, I might make it more robust and make it a public service.

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