Friday, 13 September, 2002

DNS Woes

This is my week for fighting Internet problems.  Last Thursday we set up a new web site to demonstrate features of our latest product.  On Wednesday we got reports from several clients who said they can't get to the site.  Why?  "Host not found."  It seems that many DNS servers still haven't updated the zone, so they're reporting very old information that does not include the new address.  I went 'round and 'round with my system administrator on this one, convinced that he'd made a mistake in setting up the new record.  But, no.  Our name servers report the correct information, as do many others that I've tested.  Some ISPs, though (Austin's Road Runner included), either have mis-configured DNS servers, or they've configured them to keep stale information in their caches.  Either way, it's been over a week and I still can't get to that site reliably.

I've heard before of DNS server configuration errors causing sites to be unreachable, but I thought that those problems were limited to errors on the site's primary name server.  The sad thing about all this is that I have to contact the DNS administrator at Road Runner and wherever else the system can't be reached, and tell them that their DNS isn't updating zones properly.  Isn't there some way that the DNS servers could diagnose and correct this kind of thing automatically?