Monitors and Caching DNS

June 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Had an interesting issue today. One of the production systems suddenly went dark, and we found out about it from the client. This is never a good way to start a Thursday. It turns out that the client was having DNS issues and the domain was no longer valid. Relatively simple fix, crisis averted…

But why didn’t the monitoring system pick it up?

We use Dotcom-Monitor to check each of our sites on a regular basis. The monitor actually logs in to each website to verify functionality. What in the DNS world could cause this issue in such a scenario? How about a caching nameserver? Turns out, to limit the stress on their nameserver, Dotcom Monitor set up a standard caching nameserver that keeps a record in cache until the record expires. So even though DNS was no longer working for this site, the monitor thought everything was A-OK.

What can we do to fix this issue? Not much unfortunately. Dotcom Monitor will have to implement a change in their infrastructure which will likely increase the load on their DNS servers significantly. Since that’s not likely, it looks like I’ll have to build a service into our internal monitor (Zabbix based) to check for the domain against the SOA for it.

PageSpeed score of 96/100!

June 12, 2013 at 5:21 pm

PageSpeed Insights ScreenshotAfter configuring W3 Total Cache and playing around with google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool, I was able to increase The End of the Tunnel’s score from 49 to 96! This is impressive to me because this site currently runs on the basic DreamHost shared environment plan. No dedicated servers, no fancy configurations, just good cache management. Fantastic!

Flush DNS Cache for a Single Domain

June 11, 2013 at 10:13 am

I was working on the site today and ran into an issue: Our caching DNS server (Windows 2008) was holding on to the old webserver’s IP. This wasn’t a problem for me locally as I used the old hosts file trick to point to the new server. However, this meant I couldn’t show other folks the site until either the cache was completely flushed or the record expired.

A little googling later, and I found this little command from ServerFault.

dnscmd dnsserver.local /NodeDelete ..Cache [/Tree] [/f]

/tree    Specifies to delete all of the child records.

/f       Executes the command without asking for confirmation.

This allows you to clear just a small portion of the cache, as you define it. Pretty handy!

New Site Live

June 10, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Welcome to the new The End of the Tunnel. This site is currently under construction. Stay tuned as I populate the site with back data, articles, and interesting links.