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Fun With DNS Configurations November 11, 2009

Posted by ismywebsite in general.

I just want to thank everyone who’s still here. Interestingly enough, our ratings have been HIGHER as a result of this situation. So thanks everyone for all your wonderful support and patience as we worked to resolve things.

For those curious about the details, I can give you a few of those. When you visit ismywebsite.com, or something.ismywebsite.com, or anything.ismywebsite.com, your connection is first routed to our DNS server, which basically tells you where to find the resource. Then, you look at that server.

Most of the time, your computer only needs to look this information up once. It just remembers from the last time. It caches the data and goes to the same place time after time. But, as you can imagine, this creates a problem when a website moves to a new server, so that’s why your DNS records are updated every 24-48 hours.

As a DNS server does not need to be visited every time you visit the site, downtime and unavailability SHOULD have no effect if you’ve already visited the site. The real mystery is, why our computers all eventually declared mission failure without even checking the CACHED location, which was up and completely operational throughout this time. Yet this is apparently how DNS is implemented in most networks.

So, sometime early yesterday morning I was messing with the DNS for one of our clients who wants to use their IsMyWebsite.com domain on another hosting provider, but the other provider isn’t cooperating very well. After some degree of fidgeting, the DNS ended up with an unusable configuration, but no errors or indication of any kind was given by the commercial control panel we are using.

Yesterday was a very busy day. I had 2 assigments, a quiz, and a midterm all within the one day. So, when some support mentioning our server being down started to come in, I did a quick check and found only the main domain (ismywebsite.com) down, and all servers online, so I assumed it would sort itself out since the main site server is managed by VectorLevel to maintain a high degree of uptime at all times.

Finally, last night I spent a total of 2 hours playing around with the configurations, before noticing that the DNS server’s main domain was down. Then I spent 3 hours struggling to figure out what was wrong with that server. Finally, at 5 AM, I resigned myself to the fact that a half night’s sleep would best enable me to function for the rest of the day.

And I was right. When I woke this morning, I managed to solve it within 30 minutes, thus ending 36 hours without DNS functionality, the first time anything of this nature has happened in recent history.



1. Kyle Gavalchin - November 11, 2009

Very Interesting….

2. Cyclone103 - November 11, 2009

Ouch…at least it’s resolved now!

3. mr glasses - November 13, 2009

I agree with cyclone. Ouch! But I’m glad it got fixed.

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