April 2, 2013 – Network Solutions DNS, a major provider of domain name server (DNS) services, experienced an issue over the Mar 30-31, 2013 weekend resulting in many websites, including websites owned by Dotcom-Monitor clients, having website DNS time out errors. Intermittent Network Solution DNS issues were noted late afternoon and evening hours on March 29. Dotcom-Monitor then began tracking consistent DNS time out errors involving Network Solutions DNS servers early on Saturday morning, March 30, 2013. The Network Solutions DNS servers involved were NS22.WORLDNIC.COM (188.8.131.52) and NS21.WORLDNIC.COM (184.108.40.206).
Dotcom-Monitor uses a non-cache DNS monitoring solution with high frequency monitoring that propagates DNS queries to the root name servers. That means a DNS issue will be identified quickly, as opposed to being masked for days as it might be with a cached monitoring approach. When monitored properly, using a non-cache method, an error is quickly identified so the designated workaround, like a DNS failover, can be implemented.
Dotcom-Monitor non-cached DNS monitoring (unlike some other cache-based DNS monitoring solutions) also provides diagnostics with an automated trace-route as soon as a DNS problem is detected. This means less time investigating the problem and much faster mean-time-to-repair (MTTR). The Dotcom-Monitor DNS monitoring solution also allows website owners to spot trends so that small DNS issues can be addressed before they become big DNS problems.
The only way to know how well or how reliably DNS servers perform is to make consistent, regular objective tests and measurements over time. While DNS servers can be verified manually, that is not a practical solution. Manually checking the DNS servers a few times a week, or even a few times a day, simply does not provide enough data to accurately judge performance, nor does it quickly alert website owners to problems. Automatic DNS monitoring gives website owners the information needed.
UltraDNS Outage: We are aware that some websites and reports may indicate an UltraDNS outage on January 28, 2013. We have verified that UltraDNS did have a short DNS issue. We will continue to monitor the situation, although it now appears to be resolved.
Doing DNS Monitoring Right: The AT&T DNS Outage: The AT&T domain name server (DNS) outage of Aug. 15, 2012 exemplifies why a “non-cache based” method for monitoring of websites is important for mission-critical websites. Firstly, a bit of a review. The most common, basic form of website monitoring is conducted using a synthetic browser (not an actual browser), which connects to the target server via an HTTP request process. A number of server-focused processes, such as the availability of the target server, the time it takes to load the HTML file for the website from the server, and the capability to detect keywords within the HTML file are checked via the use of a synthetic browser using an HTTP request process.