Why does my web site show up for everyone but me?
July 19, 2008 10:56 AM   Subscribe

I've got a web site that shows up just fine for everyone except me. I get a big fat "page not found" when I navigate to it even though it works fine in proxy browsers, I've used ipconfig/flushdns and cleared my browser cache. I'm sure it's a DNS issue of some sort, but have no idea what else to do. Help?
posted by bflora to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
How long has the site been up? Has it moved recently? Often the DNS entry will be cached somewhere along the line to you, usually at your ISP, and there's nothing you can do about it until their cache expires.

Perhaps compare what the NSLOOKUP <domain> command returns for you versus others who can see it correctly, to confirm this is the case.
posted by jon4009 at 11:01 AM on July 19, 2008

Response by poster: I recently decided to upgrade to a VPS...I set up my new nameservers and aimed my domain at them. Then I learned it could take up to a week for the new nameserver setup to propigate fully, so I redirected the site to its original nameserver for the next few days until things slow down. Since doing that, its working for everyone but me.
posted by bflora at 11:07 AM on July 19, 2008

Right... so sounds like you've picked up the "new" settings, which you since reverted, which are now cached until whatever the expiry is (usually a day or two).

Everyone else is still on the old, working settings, and they never saw the temporarily broken ones.

So.. just sit it out and eventually your new settings will expire and you'll get the current, older version that works for everyone else :) Something you might want to do is reduce the TTL settings on your domains (if you can) to maybe 5 minutes, that way when you try to move it again the cache won't stick for so long and you'll avoid this problem.
posted by jon4009 at 11:30 AM on July 19, 2008

Response by poster: Ick. I think it's comcast. Why on earth would they help me with this somewhat technical problem?

This does sound like exactly what's happening though.
posted by bflora at 12:17 PM on July 19, 2008

Are you hosting it from behind NAT?
posted by Mwongozi at 1:36 PM on July 19, 2008

Adding the IP and hostname to your host file will tell you if you can see it at all or if it's a block somewhere upstream of you...
posted by twine42 at 1:41 PM on July 19, 2008

Response by poster: I don't know what NAT is. Sorry. And I don't know what my host file is either....I'm on shared hosting so I don't think I've got access to it if there is one.
posted by bflora at 3:15 PM on July 19, 2008

Response by poster: I think I'm just stuck waiting for who know how long until Comcast purges ther DNS or something. ugh.
posted by bflora at 3:15 PM on July 19, 2008

I doubt your ISP would help you. In fact if you were to phone up any large ISP and ask then to flush their DNS cache they would probably either greet you with a dumb silence or just ask you to reboot your PC ;)

Anyway as twine42 says, you can add an entry to your hosts file that will short-circuit the process and allow you to specify hard-coded IP addresses for specific hosts. This allows you to bypass the DNS system, and takes precedence over it, so be sure to remove it later.

To do this on Windows, open up the file C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc\Hosts with Notepad, and add a line at the bottom in the format:


For example:

posted by jon4009 at 4:13 PM on July 19, 2008

Oh and yeah sorry, this only affects your local PC... it's just sorta saying "Ignore whatever DNS tells you, I know better".
posted by jon4009 at 4:14 PM on July 19, 2008

you can use opendns.com for DNS services instead of comcast. It's free, although ad supported (they show a search page with ads if you fat finger a domain name), and they will be able to track the sites you visit- (comcast can do this too if they want to), so be aware that there are some privacy implications if you choose to use them.
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:31 PM on July 19, 2008

Are you working in an internal LDAP domain with the same domain name as your website? If so, you will need to create DNS entries on your internal DNS server for the website.
posted by Haydn at 9:01 PM on July 20, 2008

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