James Garrett's Blog

Over troubleshooting the problem…grr!

So last night I changed a client’s DNS over around 8pm. For those of you who aren’t familiar, DNS settings are somewhat like physical mail address settings in that if I want to go to our office, I type in 1802 N Alafaya Trail into my GPS, just as I type in www.yourdomain.com to get to “your domain”. Let’s say we move physical addresses, it takes propagation time before Google maps phone books, and various GPS software update our company’s location. Well, there’s propagation time (only a few hours typically, max of 48 hours) when you change the IP address behind a domain to switch the server the domain points to.

Anyways, back to my story…I did it this late because they had requested that we do it after hours due to email being their primary means of taking and receiving orders, and they couldn’t afford being down during the business day. 7:30am my cell phone was ringing and waking me up with a panicked customer on the other line. My first thought is “oh no, I missed up the DNS switch”, but I had stayed up to make sure I saw the DNS swap go through on my end. I asked the customer to ping “mail.yourdomain.com” and it was seeing an incorrect location. My first assumption is that this machine had cached the IP address, so I asked if I could remote control the computer with LogmeinRescue (this software is the best thing to ever happen to technical support), which they agreed.  I ran a “ipconfig /flushdns” and then redid the ping with the same bad results (ipconfig /flushdns would be like throwing your address book away so that you have to look up new addresses each time, referencing the analogy I was using earlier).

Now here’s where this whole post starts to have a point.  The customer was upset because their email was “down” and in a moment of panic, I started looking for answers as to why a computer might not respond to “ipconfig /flushdns”.  The truth is, I had no reason to believe that this command didn’t work.  The solution was letting the customer know their internet service provider’s DNS information was outdated and might take a few more hours to get refreshed.

Lesson learned: When presented with a problem, focus on the primary causes,  then eliminate them one by one.  Don’t let frustration or panic on a customers end cause panic on your end!

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Posted in Technology 8 years, 9 months ago at 7:41 am.

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