When users try to access website using its domain name, browser looks for DNS (Domain Name System) record in the destination server to resolve the IP for that name. If the request is not processed for any reason, as a reply users get error message displayed on their browsers. It is important to figure out if the problem is specific to the local computers or for everyone on the web. As an end user, it doesn’t make much difference but if you are the site owner then you should be really worrying about the reason for site downtime. To find out whether DNS is the potential culprit for the website downtime, series of checks have to be made to isolate the issue.
What May Go Wrong with DNS?
While resolving DNS issues, you can anticipate many things from incorrect DNS configuration settings to DNS cache or server problems. Sometimes, expiry of domain registration or suspension of the account by DNS provider can also create site downtime issues. Also, if too many requests are simultaneously made to the DNS server, it causes overload and slows down the performance of server. Another problem is, people often get confused between network issues and DNS specific problems. The reason is, if there is a problem with network connectivity the URL fails to bring up the website and user gets similar error page. Likewise, there could be several other reasons related to DNS that can cause the site totally not reachable to the users or suffer degraded performance. So before you blame it for your site problems, better confirm the issue using a tool or service that is specific to DNS.
Troubleshooting on Your Own is Not Easy
Many of us know only restrictive methodologies to trouble shoot DNS issues. The most we can do is ping the website and check its response. Even that becomes a problem for business owners with little technical knowledge whereas others can do little further to check their internet connection. However, these methodologies only check the connection errors between the device and the ISP but do not detect random issues that usually occur with network servers, DNS settings, errors in code etc. Using manual methods for diagnosing the issue is not as efficient as using an automated tool specifically meant for monitoring and detecting website DNS problems. Also remember, the tool that you are using should not be like a one-time testing tool which typically is meant for using once a while for checking website metrics. If you want a continuous protection from downtime occurrences, it is better to have a stable solution like website monitoring service that keeps a continuous holistic check on all parameters of website including DNS.
Use Website Monitoring Service with Included DNS Monitoring Functionality
Many website owners think if their site or DNS is hosted with a reliable hosting company, they don’t need to worry about downtime or unplanned site outages. Unfortunately, this is not true. Even big hosting providers like GoDaddy.com had many instances of significant DNS hosting issues which took down the services of thousands of websites. So it is better to have a service like website monitoring which keeps vigilance on websites 24X7. Also, remember not all website monitor service providers offer DNS monitoring. If the DNS resolution is not working, the site will be down for users. So, before you choose service provider, check if they monitor DNS resolution from multiple locations. That means the service should check for DNS uptime from multiple locations and notify if there is an unexpected outage.
Alertra is a leading provider of website monitoring and alerting services. We monitor the availability and performance of Internet-connected devices. Alertra website monitoring provides timely alert notifications and access to detailed reporting. We offer website monitoring to all sizes of businesses from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. For Alertra site monitoring service visit us at www.alertra.com.