Friday, September 14, 2007

Network Solutions, Nameservers and DNS work...

Look -- I've been in this web business for a long time. I first started web design, while doing other programming, back in 1995, 1996? I know the web. I'm pretty handy with the concepts of routing, DNS, etc. I'm no network guru, but after looking up the color sequences, I can build an RJ-45 cable. I even have my own tools. I've owned a website design business, pretty successful, too. We had staff and everything before we sold it off. We made Dallas Business Journal's Top 20 Web Design and Hosting companies three years in a row!

All this having been said, Network Solutions really angered me today. I quit using them for personal (or side business) stuff several years ago. GoDaddy rocks, in my opinion, whereas Network Solutions charges an arm and a leg for less services, less quality.

Now, even though *I* don't use them anymore, the company I work for does have several domain names registered with NetSol. That's fine...I'm not sweating it. But this week I needed to setup a new dedicated server (which I did at CrystalTech because they also rock) but didn't want to go through the hassle of having our current hosting company do DNS work, when we'll just be leaving them. And I wanted the control over the DNS records that I'm qualified to have.

So I finally got access and I see that they offer DNS management, much like GoDaddy does, so I'm thinking "Okay...I can do this." So I do.

First problem: I couldn't setup new DNS entries under the NetSol system unless I went ahead and confirmed that the nameservers would be switched. Why can't I set it all up, then make the nameserver change when I'm ready. Makes more sense...but noooooo.

Second problem: This is the one that really lit me up. I've done this a million times. I get the DNS concepts. I understand DNS propagation takes time. For those of you who might be reading and don't understand, here's a brief explanation.
  • Zog wants to go to the website for www.foobar.com
  • Zog asks the Internets to take him there.
  • Zog's ISP says "foobar.com?" Wuzzat?
  • Zog's ISP goes to "the almighty root servers" and asks "Where do I find foobar.com?"
  • The root servers say "Check with Network Solutions".
  • Zog's ISP asks NetSol, "Where's foobar.com?"
  • Netsol says, "I know the answer, you want the www? Go to IP 266.266.266.5" (Yeah, yeah).
  • Zog's Firefox says "Okay...I know that www.foobar.com is 266.266.266.5" and goes there.
Pretty simple. Now here's where NetSol screwed up. When it made itself the active registrar for the domain, it SHOULD have been able to pick up the IP address records VERY quickly. After all, it's their system. It's not like with propagation where all the ISP's in the world try to keep a list of domain names and who knows all the mail, www, etc. individual records. Those only get updated once or twice a day or more, I don't know.

The point is that NetSol's "worldnic" nameservers should immediately know the answer to "where's the www IP?" Once you (or an ISP) starts looking there, it should know the answer. Propagation is about all the ISP's getting the right information. Propagation is NOT about their own nameservers not knowing how to answer the questions.

Using DNSStuff.com, another great site, tells me whats' going on. First, it says that I have "lame nameservers". Other than the obvious pun there, it means that the nameservers associated with my domain name do not answer authoritatively. What? Why don't they? Another test on the DNSStuff site tells me that the root servers say "Check NetSol nameserver A". Nameserver A says "No...check back with the root servers." The root servers say "Okay...check Nameserver B, then." Nameserver B says "Check back with the root servers." Being round-robin, the root servers tell us again, "look at Nameserver A". You can see where I'm going with this. DNSStuff.com says it stops automatically after 20 rounds of this crap.

I didn't expect to bring down the site, email, etc. today. But I did. And it's not my fault. I did everything right, but Network Solutions decided to screw it up. And then their technical support tries to tell me this is normal. Lies. Period. I've done this same thing with GoDaddy enough to know that once you change the nameservers, it should say SOMETHING. Maybe not what you set in the last five minutes, but something.

How long will the site be down? I don't know. The nice tech support man said that it could be 2 to 3 hours before it has the right information. And that I should expect this. Made me angry, but I was polite. Now I have a batch file running an ipconfig /flushdns and ping www.foobar.com loop running. It's been running the whole time I've been writing this, and for an hour and a half before. Let's call it about one hour and 45 minutes. And it's still not working.

As soon as I get this straightened out, I'm moving the domain name to GoDaddy, where domain names belong.

- Will Belden
September 14, 2007

11 comments:

Jason said...

Hey do you got googletalk or AIM? I've got a question regarding almost the exact same issue you were having.

Thanks,
Jason

Will Belden said...

Jason -- sure...just send an email to CaptainPalapa (...at...) gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

I was going to use Network Solutions name servers - I changed the names server to Network Solutions then I setup the dns records right at the same time. Network Solutions pointed to parked pages. It did not take 30 min for them to push out the name server changes to their servers. Support at Network Solutions told me that it would be 24 to 48 hrs before my dns entries would go to their name servers.

I changed the name servers back and it has been 2.5 hrs and I am still waiting on them to change back. Network Solutions bites.

Anonymous said...

Website Designer: I ran into the same problem. They switched me on the network solutions parking page in a matter of minutes. But switching back is taking more than 36 hrs.

Complete jerks!!

Anonymous said...

I know this post is over a year old, but I just had the SAME frustrating experience with Network Solutions today! I'm a web professional as well, so I know my way around GoDaddy and several other registrars. But Network Solutions just takes the cake. Not only do you have to go through multiple "account holder validation" questions with their tech support "professionals," you also get transferred a million times before you can find someone who knows anything about DNS! I'm sticking with GoDaddy at all costs. NetSol is completely overpriced and overrated.

Charlie said...

Hi,

I'm looking to park my domains with a registrar that offers a fully featured and intuitive DNS control panel.
I will do my hosting elsewhere, is this possible using GoDaddy and what would it cost me per domain per year excluding domain registration fees?

Will Belden said...

Charlie,

Yeah...I mean...I have all my DNS with GoDaddy, which is the registrar for all my domains. But NONE of them are hosted with GoDaddy...I have a separate hosting service that has nothing to do with them.

There are other options, too, I believe, such as DynDNS.org, etc.

- WB

Charlie said...

Thanks

Cristian Rodriguez said...

Almost 6 years and the same waste, Network solutions sucks.

Will Belden said...

@Christian: Yeah, not surprising. I always set my TTL's with GoDaddy to just 30 minutes, in case I need to change them quickly.

Anonymous said...

7/24/2014 - still occurring today. This isn't rocket science, and NetSol has been around a long time. These updates should take no more than 15 minutes, tops.