Domain name service, or DNS, is the bane of my digital existence.
For those of you lucky enough to exist outside the technical sphere, DNS is the mechanism by which, when you type www.reinvented.net into your web browser, this name gets translated into a numeric address (aka “IP address”) — in this case 126.96.36.199 — thus allowing your number-obsessed computer to obtain the necessary information over the Internet from this address and return it to you.
When DNS service works, which is most of the time, it does a splendid job. A DNS server just quietly sits there all day accepting requests and spitting back responses.
When DNS service doesn’t work the effects are rather dramatic, as without the ability to translate name into number, webservers and mailservers and their kin appear to be effectively “off the air” to the rest of the Internet.
When I switched the connection here at Reinvented from Aliant to ISN yesterday, the IP addresses of all the machines on our network had to change as well (there’s no “number portability” on the Internet — when you switch providers you generally switch IP address blocks).
Switching IP addresses requires, as you might expect, changing the DNS configuration to follow. And that’s what, in the middle of a hectic day, I did yesterday.
Now at its heart the DNS system is simple and elegant. But it’s also something that is relatively unforgiving of errors. And completely unforgiving of stupidity.
Unfortunately, I made several errors, some of them stupid, most of them small things, like switching a 24 for a 22 (you wouldn’t believe how confusing typing the number 188.8.131.52 a dozen times is, and how often it goes through the fingers 184.108.40.206!).
That, combined with a TTL — a “hey, don’t both refreshing this information for X amount of time” — of 24 hours that I should have lowered in anticipation of the switch, meant that this website, and my email, were invisible for much of the last 24 hours.
Nobody to blame but myself for this one.
I know that things are getting back to normal now that the spam is starting to flow again.
While it was frustrating to be offline, it was oddly peaceful to not have the usual email torrent flowing in.
Continue on amongst yourselves…