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September 27, 2003

If you've had trouble reaching dislogue...

I've been having (and BellSouth has been having) real DSL problem here for the last two days. It started with a six hour outage on Thursday night from 3am to about 9:30am. There were a couple of short 15 minute ones on the tail end too. Since then I've bounced at least a dozen times. By bounce I mean I get dumped offline, but when I try a ping to an internet site I'm back on. This wouldn't be a problem except I host my own blog using dynamic dns and the server sits on my network running through that DSL connection. Every time DSL bounces, I get reassigned a new IP address by BellSouth's DHCP server, which means the dislogue server is unreachable until dynamic DNS catches up.

In the process of trying to find the comments problem last week I figured out that leaving the time-to-live setting at the defualts on my DNS entry was a bad idea. This defaulted to 30 minutes or an hour. This meant every time I did something that resulted in a new IP address assignment by BellSouth (like rebooting my router/firewall, which I originally thought was the problem, and probably is) my DNS resolution became obsolete and my server was cut off until that period expired and the old entries cached in people's browsers and DNS servers along the way timed out and were purged. Along with being a pain for me, since I bounce out to the internet and back when I access and maintain it myself (trying to get the user's experience, for purposes of avoiding problems like the comments one, though clearly I don't get exactly the same experience as it turns out), it resulted in some people letting me know they were having trouble reaching it.

So I reset those entries to 5 minutes. This isn't so short as to force a lookup every time someone hits another page, but it's short enough that when DSL bounces (or I do something equivalent) the outage is relatively short. Problem not solved, but it is minimized. If it were left at those default settings the site would have been offline more than half of yesterday, from those dozen or so DSL bounces, not counting the six hours of the major outage.

So if you get a server not found error, wait a few minutes and try again. If BellSouth isn't actually down, you should get through.

Posted by dan at September 27, 2003 11:24 AM | TrackBack

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