Site Issues

Posted by Michael Economy on June 15, 2009
We're experiencing some issues with our DNS. If you can't connect to the site, then you probably can't see this, but flushing your dns might fix the issue (instructions on flushing your dns).

Apparently making a small change to our DNS records on godaddy creates havoc, we're probably going to be moving to a more reliable solution soon.

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message 1: by Allisa (new)

Allisa White kk.


message 2: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Bless your techie hearts for taking such good care of us.


message 3: by Allisa (new)

Allisa White yeah!


message 4: by Jen (new)

Jen Thanks for reminding us to flush!


message 5: by Rane (new)

Rane thank you for the heads up!


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Andrea wrote: "Bless your techie hearts for taking such good care of us."

I agree with her.



message 7: by Sarahcorn (new)

Sarahcorn I've been having bunches of problems! Thanks!!!


message 8: by Lisa. (new)

Lisa. Martin. omg there's alway's problem's AHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Will it affect both Mac and Windows or usually just one?


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Although what is DNS?


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

what r u guys talkin bout


Sarah (Mood Reader) Yeah I don't understand.


message 13: by G. Branden (last edited Jun 15, 2009 11:08PM) (new)

G. Branden He is talking about the Internet Domain Name System (DNS), which is how a hostname like "www.goodreads.com" gets turned into an IP (Internet Protocol) address like 70.32.113.62. The IP address is what our computers actually use to talk to each other over the Internet. Numbers are easy for computers, but names are easy for people, which is why we have DNS software to translate between the two.

DNS is a distributed system, and can be a little bit complex, but the basic concept is no more complicated than a phone directory. You know the name, look up the number. In this case, a piece of software in your computer called the resolver looks it up for you, usually by asking another computer. The request is passed along all over the Internet until a computer that knows the answer replies. The response is passed back down the chain to your computer. While that happens, all the computers in between store ("cache") the response so they don't have to bother asking another computer again. (There are two reasons for this--one, it reduces network traffic, and two, it is much MUCH faster for a computer to look something up in its main memory than to do just about anything over the network.) However, the information isn't guaranteed to be good forever--networks get rearranged, people change hosting services, computers and websites sometimes just go away--so the information needs an expiration date. This is called the TTL (time-to-live). A cached DNS response is only kept for as long as the TTL value, which is in reckoned in seconds.

Everything that is on the Internet uses DNS if it needs to do name resolution. That emphatically means all computers running web browsers operated by human beings. Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD, OpenVMS, operating systems you've never heard of--everything.

The rest of my comments are for the site admins.

When you make changes to your DNS records--particularly to change an A record--you need to make sure the both the old and new IP addresses will work until the TTL for the DNS record expires. If you didn't do that, the reliability problems are not GoDaddy's fault, and for many people flushing their local DNS cache won't work--they'll just get handed a cached record with the old wrong address by the upstream DNS server they use. Most people will not be directly using the authoritative name servers for goodreads.com itself, and that's entirely reasonable and the way the Internet domain name system is supposed to work.

Another technique is to stage your changes. Let's say your TTL is one day (86400 seconds). At least one TTL (1 day in this case) *before* the intended change, update the zone fine to make the TTL very short--10 minutes, say. Wait 24 hours, turn off the old IP address, and immediately publish the new zone file with the new A record (and probably a re-lengthened TTL). Some people will still have problems, but only during the ten-minute window, which you can schedule at a time when site traffic is low.




message 14: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 15, 2009 10:45PM) (new)

cookies r yummy all of them r tacos


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you for keeping the site up and running!
Love ya

Embrace the Darkness
~Elizabeth.


message 16: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan Thanks MICHAEL/Goodreads for the information and for keeping us updated.

Thanks G. Branden for that information; I hadn't known most of it.


message 17: by Zooworld (new)

Zooworld Alright people, once you've done your stuff, never forget to flush! LOL


message 18: by new_user (new)

new_user Thanks for the update.


message 19: by Faith (new)

Faith Mortimer I can't seem to set an URL on my profile page. Everything I type in is thrown back at me! Help please


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you for reminding me to move this from my to-read to currently-reading shelf... ;-)
Run Your Own Web Server Using Linux & Apache


message 21: by arianna (new)

arianna awesome thanks so much Admin and G. Branden for the info


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

I haven't had any problems yet. HEADS UP I guess?


message 23: by Celeste (new)

Celeste Batchelor Good luck. I use 1and1.com to host my websites. I like it better than Godaddy.com. I feel like I have more control over my Drupal sites. I'm sure you will find something that works great.


message 24: by Sheeky (new)

Sheeky Oh thank you!!!!! No wonder why sometimes there's been trouble with the connection!


message 25: by Anony-miss (new)

Anony-miss a-non-y-miss Yeah


message 26: by Alex (new)

Alex I couldn't get on a minute ago but now I got on, obviously...


message 27: by Michael (new)

Michael Economy Indiana wrote: "Will it affect both Mac and Windows or usually just one?"

both equally, if you can see the site, you're probably not effected


message 28: by Michael (new)

Michael Economy G. Branden wrote: "He is talking about the Internet Domain Name System (DNS), which is how a hostname like "www.goodreads.com" gets turned into an IP (Internet Protocol) address like 70.32.113.62. The IP address is ..."

We're not exactly new to this... :) Aparently when you use godaddy to host your dns, and do something easy like add an A record to someserver.goodreads.com, it will delete all of your dns entries for a very short period, and then restore them all. During that period, if anyone queries for them, the records will not be found (OH NO!). So a couple of our machines got into that state, along with a handful of users. The only real solution we have is to not use godaddy to host dns (since this is a pretty awful bug).


Godddy doesn't host our actual website, only our dns records.


message 29: by G. Branden (last edited Jun 16, 2009 08:44PM) (new)

G. Branden MICHAEL wrote: "We're not exactly new to this... :) "

Glad to hear it! ;-)

That does sound like a pretty awful bug. Good luck finding a more clueful DNS provider! I wish I knew one to recommend, but I don't. I think the one I use is only marginally better, and I wouldn't want to trust a big site like yours to it.




message 30: by Michael (new)

Michael Economy We're most likely going to run our own dns server shortly, and we're letting someone with experience set it up. :)


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