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client can't get to site via domain

intermittent problem I've been troubleshooting for weeks

10:56 pm on May 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Please forgive me if I am posting this to the wrong place. I'm at my wit's end with this one.

Firt some history:
- My dedicated server, with managed services, is in NJ
- My client is in Plymouth, Indiana
- I am in Fort Collins, CO
- the site in question is <url removed>

Randomly, once or twice a week since I updated their DNS to point to my server on April 18, they cannot see their site. My server hasn't gone down. I can see the site, my random friends around the country can see the site.

I have had the client do tracert, ping and nslookup commands to the domain and the ip. It can get to the IP. the domain, not so much...it returns with her modem's (cable modem) IP address.

If I have her go to the site via 192.nnn.nn.nnn/~thememor/index.php she can see it fine.
Also, of course, she can't receive mail for any of the pop accounts I set up for her.

So of course, that makes me think it's a DNS issue. I have her call her ISP and she does the online chat with them, during which they tell her to clear her cache and cookies. It works. I'm baffled again, but happy she can see her site.

Except she keeps randomly having the problem. Always late afternoon mountain time, say between 3 and 5 pm. I have no idea what's happening on her end that might be causing the issue, although the first time, it happened the day after a huge power outage. She's not the most savvy communicator or computer user, either, so something might be getting lost in translation.

Oh, and it's not her 'net connection, because we generally IM and troubleshoot at the same time.

I have been having my support guys look into the problem and they check on a few networks and can get to the site fine. They've checked everything with my server. Everything on my end is fine. I have my pals across the country go to the site and they can get to it fine.

I spent over an hour on the phone Friday night with her iSP, Embarq, as a part of my 3-hour troubleshooting session, and that guy was very helpful. He even walked us through hardcoding the domain to the ip on her machine, although I don't know if we did it right because she said it didn't work.

She can't get to her site using the domain for a few hours and then it magically works again.

At this point, I'm down to two ideas:
1. Her former webmaster put something on her site that is now stuck on her computer. or they had her set the IP of their server to the domain. Or whatever that is called, I can't remember.
2. or her computer is screwed up. Or she's breaking something.

I have a call in to her former webmaster to ask questions, they haven't returned my call yet. Barring that, I suggested to her she get a computer/networking dude in to look into the problem.

I do have access to GoToMyPC and can look at her machine that way the next time this problem happens, although I'm not completely sure what to look for (I'm a mac person and not as well-versed with WinXP, which is what she has). As far as I know, it's down for her right now (5 pm mountain time) because she IMed me it wasn't working and then logged off before I could reply. I had emailed her some troubleshooting steps to try if the problem happened again, but I don't think she did them.

I can't stand this anymore. 3-5 hours a week gone. And it looks like it's MY fault because it started when we moved her site to my server. I have NEVER had this problem before. any ideas?

[edited by: encyclo at 7:57 pm (utc) on May 17, 2007]
[edit reason] no specifics please, see terms of service [/edit]

11:07 pm on May 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Someone I did a small site for a few years ago just contacted me last week because she can't see the homepage of her site. Clearing the browser cache didn't work for her, though I can see it just fine.
11:53 pm on May 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Marcia, were you able to figure out what caused that to happen? or are you still working on it?
11:59 pm on May 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Try using a 3rd party name server,
We have received a Telemarketing call from a company called "Easy dns " (I think so it was 3 years ago)
And that was one of the scenarios described
7:53 pm on May 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member jtara is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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I'd suggest first running a DNS report (dnsreport.com). I ran one on the domain name you gave (which I expect will disappear from your post shortly - please see the posting rules) and got several warnings, though no serious errors.

The only error that might possibly explain this is that your nameservers do not support TCP DNS queries.

WARNING: One or more of your DNS servers does not accept TCP connections. Although rarely used, TCP connections are occasionally used instead of UDP connections. When firewalls block the TCP DNS connections, it can cause hard-to-diagnose problems.

I see that both of your nameservers apparently are running on the same physical machine, which controverts the intent of the 2-server minimum requirement. But that isn't likely to be causing this problem.

2:54 am on May 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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Hardcoding the dns on a windows box is pretty easy. Google 'windows hosts file' should give you everything you need. That'll also help confirm that it's a dns issue.