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domain name sins

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We’ve had a couple of days during which this site was unavailable, and though it was planned, it wasn’t supposed to go on this long. To cut a long story short, I made some changes to the Domain Name System (DNS) settings for this domain, to accommodate a potential new hosting service for this site. They’re offering it at no charge to the first few people who apply, but they haven’t come back with any more details, not even a yes or no. The outage could have been avoided had I done, at first, what I did to get the site back up. I’ll cover a few technical details now, for anyone interested and for my future reference.

When anyone tries to access by name, that name goes through a DNS name resolution process that converts it to an IP address, so that the actual communication by IP can take place. I was asked to change the DNS servers registered against my domain, to point at the new hosters, who would then change their servers to accommodate my site. I made the change, which means that other computers, when asking “where is”, were told “go and ask these new servers”.

Unfortunately, the new servers have not been told to expect this, which is out of my hands, so the DNS requests were being met with a resounding “Huh?”. What I’ve done now, and what I should have done in the first place, was to put the DNS servers of my current web hosters in to the list for my domain, as backup for the new ones. I didn’t think of this earlier because I thought I could only register two such servers, but it turns out I can do many more. After the new servers go “Huh?”, the request now goes to the old ones, who say “yep, he’s here”.

So, we’re back up, and I can bide my time while the guys on the other side to get round to making the changes they need to, or at least letting me know if I’m included in their tests. If I am, the site will look very different at first, and I’ll need to do more work on it and transfer the data. I’m doing it, though, so that I can hand over most of the technical management behind this site to people who are much, much more expert at the software I am using now: the people who wrote it. There will be some loss of flexibility, but I can live with that. It will also mean major changes to the photo gallery, but I can live with that too.


Written by brian t

August 2, 2006 at 10:36 am

Posted in sitenews, web design

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