The cascading effect of DNS failure

A friend of mine recently had his website going down for a couple of hours. Since there was no prior communication from his web host regarding the downtime, he got frustrated and tried to contact them through email. To his utter dissatisfaction, his mail bounced with the below error message:

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software. 

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its recipients. This is a permanent error.

support@------.com  Domain Not Resolved

His website did come back up later on, but only after he made angry phone calls to the support team and vented his ire in online forums and Twitter. The entire downtime lasted close to 3 hours.

What happened in this case? The web host’s DNS server went down and it had a cascading sort of effect. It affected their mail services as well since they were hosting their own mail servers. Needless to say, this incident left a bad impression on their customer who is now looking out for a better provider.

This can happen to any hosting provider or organization. A failure of the DNS service can trigger a failure of the interconnected parts. Multiple services such as websites, mail servers, proxy servers, etc. can be affected. 

So if you are a web host, it is very important you become aware of DNS problems as soon as they arise so you can take immediate remedial action. A good DNS Monitoring service can obviously help in identifying any failure. The next logical step would be to keep your customers abreast of the situation so that they don't jump for your throat. Then, narrow down the problem as soon as you can and get it sorted out before it starts generating bad press for your business.

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