Monday, July 02, 2012

eNom: Fix Your DNS Servers!

For over 2 months, we've been seeing reports from blog owners who published their blogs to custom domains, with domain DNS hosted by eNom, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.
I bought my domain name through Blogger,last week. It is being hosted by eNom. Ever since I bought it some of my followers, and sometimes myself, can't access my site. There is either a DNS search or a "Ooops, Google Chrome can't find..."

I tried contacting eNom, and they said they can see my site and that all of my settings are correct. They say it must be Google's problem.
The keyword here is "sometimes".
Ever since I bought it some of my followers, and sometimes myself, can't access my site.

A simple Dig, for the domain in question, will frequently show normal results. The usual DNS configuration, for a domain purchased using "Buy a domain", will be asymmetrical aka "Google Apps".
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.32.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.34.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.36.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.38.21
www.enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.
The problem, which not so many people appreciate, is that eNom uses multiple DNS servers, possibly geographically separated. This is normal DNS hosting technique, and guarantees redundancy if one data center goes offline.

However, for redundancy to work, all DNS servers have to be kept consistently synchronised. If we examine the 5 eNom DNS servers individually, we will frequently see discrepancies.
enomhosteddomain.com @ dns1.name-services.com.:

enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.32.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.34.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.36.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.38.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns1.name-services.com.
enomhosteddomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns2.name-services.com.
enomhosteddomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns3.name-services.com.
enomhosteddomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns4.name-services.com.
enomhosteddomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns5.name-services.com.

enomhosteddomain.com @ dns2.name-services.com.:

enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.34.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.38.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.32.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.36.21

enomhosteddomain.com @ dns3.name-services.com.:

com.   3601 IN SOA dns1.name-services.com. info.name-services.com. 2010 10001 1801 604801 181

enomhosteddomain.com @ dns4.name-services.com.:

enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.32.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.36.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.34.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.38.21

enomhosteddomain.com @ dns5.name-services.com.:

enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.32.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.34.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.36.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN A 216.239.38.21
enomhosteddomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns1.name-services.com.
enomhosteddomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns2.name-services.com.
enomhosteddomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns3.name-services.com.
enomhosteddomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns4.name-services.com.
enomhosteddomain.com. 3600 IN NS dns5.name-services.com.


www.enomhosteddomain.com @ dns1.name-services.com.:

www.enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.

www.enomhosteddomain.com @ dns2.name-services.com.:

www.enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.

www.enomhosteddomain.com @ dns3.name-services.com.:

com.   3601 IN SOA dns1.name-services.com. info.name-services.com. 2010 10001 1801 604801 181

www.enomhosteddomain.com @ dns4.name-services.com.:

www.enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.

www.enomhosteddomain.com @ dns5.name-services.com.:

www.enomhosteddomain.com. 1800 IN CNAME ghs.google.com.

This is one of the more subtle discrepancies, which I have observed, in the past couple months - only DNS Server #3 is out of synch, in this case. But that's enough, to make the domain unreliable.
The problem is intermittent. All of a sudden my site loads, but 10 minutes ago it didn't.
That's one eNom customer, out of over a dozen, which I have documented. And that's one eNom customer, who should be complaining, to someone above eNom Customer Service.

eNom: fix your servers!


(Update 2012/07/03): Suspicion that the problem is related to Anycast DNS led me to a bud, who is a fellow TC, and a network expert in India, and who provided an intriguing blog post, neatly diagnosing the underlying problem. It appears that eNom server monitoring policies may be a bit superficial.


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4 comments:

Roopa said...

Is there a way when buying custom domain for blogger through google apps, that I can choose godaddy instead of eNom?
Thanks for the post!

Chuck Croll said...

Roopa,

When you purchase your domain using "Buy a domain", you do indeed have an option to select "eNom" or "GoDaddy" - though the option is not clearly displayed.

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2012/01/choose-your-registrar-when-buying.html

Roopa said...

Thanks for the reply! Need to keep this in mind for future. You have been very helpful.

Nathan Nobis said...

Ugh, I am having this problem and cannot get Enom or Google to help me. Do you know someone who can fix this problem? I am not super tech savvy here. It all used to happen seamlessly with Godaddy! :(

Nathan Nobis, nathan.nobis@gmail.com