Troubleshooting DNS Problems

I have 4 active web hosting accounts now and sometimes, managing them consumes so much of my time I can’t even update my own sites. Recently in my Virtual Private Server (VPS) account, my site Technology Talks has experienced (and could still be experiencing) a DNS Error (not resolving properly).

A Domain Name System (DNS) error occurs when your site cannot be accessed by internet users using your domain name, either because it redirects to another domain or some other anomalous behavior. DNS translates your domain name, say www.kokeygadgets.com, into a computer-readable language – an IP address. If it’s not resolving properly, that means either your web host or domain registrar has not setup the DNS properly even after the propagation period of 24 hours. If yo are transferring domain registrars, it’s normal during the propagation period not to be able to access your site if you type your URL in the navigation toolbar. I have experienced this when I transfer the registration of The Reporter a few months ago, which by the way is being administered and updated by my wife who’s having a terrible headache right now after finding out her articles have been copied by atleast 10 content thieves (spammers). One of these article is the American Idol April 22, 2009 Results. I told her, now you know how it feels when someone steals from you. ;-)

Now going back to the DNS error. In my case, the domain name of my tech site was registered with Hostmonster but is now hosted with InMotionhosting. The problem, according to InMotionhosting is on their part. Their nameservers must have failed along the way. I have observed that my site has become problematic after the transfer because Google Sitemap Generator started to malfunction. Unknowingly, my sitemap was not being updated whenever me or any members of my team updates the content of the site. As I went to investigate on the “failure” of GSG to update and have gone tired of reading articles on how to fix it, I turned to the server so I dissected my MySQL database only to find out that the pingback function of my site was not working since the very day I transferred to my new web hosting provider. A MySQl database problem can be due to a multitude of things, one of which is a DNS problem. Before contacting the support team of my VPS hosting provider, I tried to some some investigations on my own and started to think that the setup of the new web hosting package must have failed somewhere. Yesterday, the support team admitted they have not properly setup the DNS after I reported that when I look at the cached page of my site in Google (using the Google Toolbar in Firefox), somebody else’s site appears! No wonder, crawling of my articles took 3-12 hours (sometimes 24 hours) because search engine robots might be redirected there instead of looking for fresh contents in my site. This was definitely abnormal and exasperating.

I asked Eric to post some articles yesterday and deep link some articles. He was able to get some pingbacks through so I thought the DNS issue was already fixed. However, when I tried to update the site with 3 more articles, I was not able to send any pingback. I have verified this by again looking into the details of my MySQl database. And for the love of Jennifer Merano, the appropriate fields (ping_to and pinged) are once again empty! These fields or columns are supposed to contain something if pingbacks and/or trackbacks have been successfully sent out. Receiving of pingbacks seems ok but sending is a failure.

This problem has been bothering me for almost three weeks now and I’m not a bit happy. It’s very difficult to see these non-normal behaviors because I’m not used to leaving my web servers problematic. Troubleshooting of DNS problems and other web-server-related errors is time-consuming but leaving them there will only cause more trouble in the future. That’s something I cannot allow to happen because I love seeing my sites alive and healthy at all times.

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3 Comments on “Troubleshooting DNS Problems”

  1. Naku yung mga sites ko kaya walang error? Na coconfuse naman ako Fren.

    Joyoz’s last blog post..Toys with legs

    jessie reply on April 27th, 2009:

    Fren,

    Wala naman siguro lalo na kung hindi ka naglipat ng web hosts. Kasi naglipat ako ng web hosts kaya nagkaganun. Huhuhu!

  2. I completely know what you mean. Managing more than one website at a time can be incredibly draining. Especially when most hosts for VPSs don’t offer free tech support. I have to update my servers with godaddy with new software, etc. Sometimes I wonder if having your own vps is worth it!