Tag: dns

DNS: Without it, your site does not exist

In my presentations and consultations on Web performance, I emphasize the importance of a correctly configured DNS system with the phrase: “If people can’t resolve your hostname, your site is dead in the water”.

Yesterday, it appears that the large anti-virus and security firm Sophos discovered this lesson the hard way.

Of course hindsight is perfect, so I won’t dwell for too long on this single incident. The lesson to be learned here is that DNS is complex and critical, yet is sometimes overlooked when considered the core issues of Web performance and end-user experience.

This complexity means that if an organization is not comfortable managing their own DNS, or want to broaden and deepen their DNS infrastructure, there are a large number of firms who will assist with this process. These firms whose entire business is based on managing large-scale DNS implementations for organizations.

DNS is critical. Never take it for granted.

Web Performance: Dear American Red Cross, You have a problem

American Red Cross:

I know you have other things on your plate right now, but you seem to have a DNS problem.

redcross.org.           86400   IN      NS      arcdns3.redcross.org.
redcross.org.           86400   IN      NS      arcdns2.redcross.org.
redcross.org.           86400   IN      NS      arcdns1.redcross.org.
;; Received 172 bytes from in 46 ms

redcross.org.           3600    IN      A
redcross.org.           3600    IN      NS      arcdns2.redcross.org.
redcross.org.           3600    IN      NS      arcdns1.redcross.org.
;; Received 122 bytes from in 33 ms

The name server arcdns3.redcross.org ( either doesn’t exist, or is broken. Unfortunately, the Top-Level DNS servers still have it on file.

The site is working great [here]. Except for the DNS issues.
Keep up the good work.

The end of DNS as we know it?

DNS has been a great hidden mystery to most people who use the Internet regularly. As a Web performance analyst, I see the effects of poorly deployed or improperly maintained DNS services.

Business 2.0 brings this to the rest of you. While sounding a little apocalyptic, it does highlight a problem that those of us who work close to the ground know: DNS is inherently complex and fragile.

Complex in the sense that a single mis-step can bring down a site like Google, or prevent Comcast users from using the Internet (not just the Web). Complex in the sense that the software, even after being re-written from the ground up for BIND 9, requires an incredible level of knowledge and expertise to configure and maintain correctly.

I run caching BIND servers at my home, because I know how easy it is for a DNS outage to take me off the Internet. But the level of knowledge needed to set up that service for 5 computers is incredible.

Services such as UltraDNS and Akamai have made DNS management for large companies a core component of their service offerings. Nominum, home of Paul Mockapetris (father of BIND and DNS), sells a robust and scalable BIND replacement.

The question now is: what next? What could replace the DNS infrastructure? So far I haven’t been hearing a lot of conversation about this, because without DNS, nothing will work.

DNS and name resolution using DNS are integrated into EVERY operating system from phones to supercomputers. So is the question not what will replace DNS?, but what will replace BIND?

Don’t know….

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