Saturday, April 28, 2012

eNom Hosted Custom Domains Showing Intermittent Connectivity Issues

We are seeing reports from owners of several Blogger blogs, published to custom domains, of intermittent connectivity problems, reported in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.
Recently, I have been unable to load my custom domain blog www.mydomain.com. My browsers (whether Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.) all tell me they are "unable to find the server". Various online utilities report problems also. I am able to get to Blogger and my dashboard for the blog, but nothing will load the page. All other services on my computer appear to be working normally.

The problem appears to be somewhat intermittent and varying across different ISPs, and various online utilities which I use.

The domains being reported all appear to be registered with eNom - and at first glance, domain registration appears normal. We have to do some detailed investigation to identify a consistent detail, which appears to be common to all individually reported domains.

At first glance, the typical eNom registered domain - even those with this reported problem - appears to be normal.
REGISTRY WHOIS FOR mydomain.com

Registrar: ENOM, INC.
Whois Server: whois.enom.com
Referral URL: http://www.enom.com
Status: clientTransferProhibited

Expiration Date: 2013-04-10
Creation Date: 2012-04-10
Last Update Date: 2012-04-10

Name Servers:
    dns1.name-services.com
    dns2.name-services.com
    dns3.name-services.com
    dns4.name-services.com
    dns5.name-services.com

The clue to this problem is seen in the last sentence, in the above example.
The problem appears to be somewhat intermittent and varying across different ISPs, and various online utilities which I use.

eNom uses 5 DNS servers. We can check the output from each of the 5 servers, using the Kloth online Dig utility, and specifying each server, in turn.
  • Domain: mydomain.com
  • Server: dns1.name-services.com
  • Query: A (IPv4 address)
and repeat for dns2.name-services.com etc.

Running a Dig against each of the 5 servers, we can see a consistency problem. Here is a copy of the 5 Dig logs, concatenated.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
     
dns1.name-services.com Dig Log

 ; <<>> DiG 9.3.2 <<>> @dns1.name-services.com mydomain.com A
 ; (1 server found)
 ;; global options:  printcmd
 ;; Got answer:
 ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 43536
 ;; flags: qr aa; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 4, AUTHORITY: 5, ADDITIONAL: 5
 
 ;; QUESTION SECTION:
 ;mydomain.com.  IN A
 
 ;; ANSWER SECTION:
 mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.32.21
 mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.34.21
 mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.36.21
 mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.38.21
 
 ;; AUTHORITY SECTION:
 mydomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns1.name-services.com.
 mydomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns2.name-services.com.
 mydomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns3.name-services.com.
 mydomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns4.name-services.com.
 mydomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns5.name-services.com.
 
 ;; ADDITIONAL SECTION:
 dns1.name-services.com. 3600 IN A 98.124.192.1
 dns2.name-services.com. 3600 IN A 98.124.197.1
 dns3.name-services.com. 3600 IN A 98.124.193.1
 dns4.name-services.com. 3600 IN A 98.124.194.1
 dns5.name-services.com. 3600 IN A 98.124.196.1

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
     
dns2.name-services.com Dig Log
    
 ; <<>> DiG 9.3.2 <<>> @dns2.name-services.com mydomain.com A
 ; (1 server found)
 ;; global options:  printcmd
 ;; Got answer:
 ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 51481
 ;; flags: qr aa rd; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 4, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0
 
 ;; QUESTION SECTION:
 ;mydomain.com.  IN A
 
 ;; ANSWER SECTION:
 mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.36.21
 mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.32.21
 mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.38.21
 mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.34.21

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
     
dns3.name-services.com Dig Log

 ; <<>> DiG 9.3.2 <<>> @dns3.name-services.com mydomain.com A
 ; (1 server found)
 ;; global options:  printcmd
 ;; Got answer:
 ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NXDOMAIN, id: 9542
 ;; flags: qr aa rd; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 1, ADDITIONAL: 0
 
 ;; QUESTION SECTION:
 ;mydomain.com.  IN A
 
 ;; AUTHORITY SECTION:
 com.   3601 IN SOA dns1.name-services.com. info.name-services.com. 2010 10001 1801 604801 181

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
     
dns4.name-services.com Dig Log
 

 ; <<>> DiG 9.3.2 <<>> @dns4.name-services.com mydomain.com A
 ; (1 server found)
 ;; global options:  printcmd
 ;; Got answer:
 ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NXDOMAIN, id: 2101
 ;; flags: qr aa rd; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 1, ADDITIONAL: 0
 
 ;; QUESTION SECTION:
 ;mydomain.com.  IN A
 
 ;; AUTHORITY SECTION:
 com.   3601 IN SOA dns1.name-services.com. info.name-services.com. 2010 10001 1801 604801 181

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
     
dns5.name-services.com Dig Log
 
 ; <<>> DiG 9.3.2 <<>> @dns5.name-services.com mydomain.com A
 ; (1 server found)
 ;; global options:  printcmd
 ;; Got answer:
 ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 13658
 ;; flags: qr aa; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 4, AUTHORITY: 5, ADDITIONAL: 5
 
 ;; QUESTION SECTION:
 ;mydomain.com.  IN A
 
 ;; ANSWER SECTION:
 mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.32.21
 mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.34.21
 mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.36.21
 mydomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.38.21
 
 ;; AUTHORITY SECTION:
 mydomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns1.name-services.com.
 mydomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns2.name-services.com.
 mydomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns3.name-services.com.
 mydomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns4.name-services.com.
 mydomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns5.name-services.com.
 
 ;; ADDITIONAL SECTION:
 dns1.name-services.com. 3600 IN A 98.124.192.1
 dns2.name-services.com. 3600 IN A 98.124.197.1
 dns3.name-services.com. 3600 IN A 98.124.193.1
 dns4.name-services.com. 3600 IN A 98.124.194.1
 dns5.name-services.com. 3600 IN A 98.124.196.1

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Examine the Dig logs from "dns3.name-services.com." and "dns3.name-services.com.". See the answer from those servers, which returns only an "SOA" for the ".com" Top Level Domain? This is consistent of a domain, improperly setup by the registrar. In the cases reported in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, my reply is simple.
In your case, servers #3 and #4 do not appear to properly recognise your domain. Any online service, asking either server #3 or #4 for your domain addresses, will probably have problems. This may explain your inconsistent access problem. As the registered domain owner, you need to contact eNom Customer Support. Show them the Dig logs from the 5 servers, and ask them why servers #3 and #4 seem to have a problem serving your DNS addresses.
The problem appears to involve domains setup on 4/9/2012 - 4/10/2012. Hopefully, enough domain owners will report their problems to eNom Customer Support, so this problem can be investigated and resolved.
(Update 6/18): With a small but very intense BloggerFire which involves eNom hosted domains and apparent domain hijackings, we now have a useful diagnostic tool, to analyse DNS inconsistencies like this.
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