River Run Tech Blog: Oops! Another Company's Email is Down!

Posted by Blog Tipster

Sep 9, 2010 12:38:00 PM

It’s an unfortunately common scenario. You’ve located a hot new web developer and they’ve worked your website into something you can really be proud of. Finally it’s time to go ‘live’ and you give the go-ahead.

The new developer has a nice inexpensive web host where he’s going to set up your site. He does so and, after a few hours, you computer troublenotice no one’s getting any email. Sales reps, on the road, report they can’t connect to your VPN. Clients are calling asking why no one’s replied to their emailed order. What happened??

Your new developer, while good at graphics and web coding, doesn’t understand DNS, the Domain Name Service. DNS is what tells the Internet where to find your email server, your email Web Access, possibly your VPN, etc.

It is very common for a hosting service to offer to move your domain’s Name Servers to their own host, for the person signing up. This seems very convenient but, unbeknownst to the developer, your Name Server has been publishing the location of your email, among other things, as well as your website. He blithely moves your Name Server to the new host, which erases all the non-www records of which he was unaware, and sets up the new web site. The web site works, but everything else doesn’t.

Your company will call River Run and we’ll eventually figure out what happened, when we check for your MX (Mail eXchange) record and find that there isn’t one. At that point, we will start reconstructing your various DNS records, which are probably not listed anywhere. If all goes well, your new MX record will propagate around the Internet within a day or two, after which your email will start arriving again. Yes, a number of emails will already have timed out, returning a message to the sender that your domain does not exist.

The ONLY thing your developer needed to do to bring the new website online is to change (or have changed) the www record on your original Name Server. Your web developer should NEVER change your Name Server location without discussing it with you and with your River Run support engineer. Ideally, the developer will only provide you with the new IP address of the new site and you, or we, will make the change to DNS. Email will never be interrupted and you will have your shiny new website, without it being tarnished by a variety of sudden crises.

Topics: Email, River Run Tech Blog, Network, Communications, Network Down, How To, DNS

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