DNS Servers are an important piece of infrastructure necessary for every company or organization. They are involved in converting domain names to IP addresses that can be read by machines. However, not many organizations understand the need for its maintenance until problems start to emerge. Most of these problems usually interfere with normal work processes which can ultimately affect productivity. Some errors can present huge security concerns which can be quite damaging to a company’s brand.
Most DNS experts agree that not so many developers and IT experts have a proper understanding of managing DNS servers. Even IT firms that provide such services usually end up on the receiving end whenever they are faced with problems which are beyond their scope.
Given that there are two different types of DNS, the problems also vary. Public DNS, which is commonly used for internet connections has a number of its problems related to malicious behaviour initiated by hackers. The internal DNS, used within enterprises, has problems relating to configuration mistakes and errors that can prove difficult to solve if you’re not aware of what to look out for.
Here are some of the most common problems experienced by DNS and their solutions.
Improperly Configured DNS Records
DNS problems usually stem from improper configuration of DNS records during most times. If you fail to put down the right values and IP addresses of your records, then there is a high likelihood that you will be bogged down by DNS resolution issues.
Some records such as MX, SPF and DKIM are essential for email delivery. An improperly configured server will not be able to receive or deliver mail.
Solution: Narrow down your DNS error to a specific issue. For example, if you are having mail delivery issues, you should first check whether you’re SPF, DKIM and MX records are properly configured.
High TTL Values
TTL refers to time to live. Whenever you have high TTL values on your records, there is a high likelihood that this will lead to high propagation wait times. It can also lead to downtimes when moving traffic between servers.
Solution: You can change you’re a records to have low TTL values. The only problem with low TTL values is that you will have to deal with a high query load. However, if your server can handle the additional load, then there’s no problem with it.
Note: Some ISPs DNS resolvers usually ignore TTL settings and override them with their own.
This requires that you have the best security features put in place. At times, DNS problems are as a result of malicious attacks by hackers. They do this by driving high traffic to your site until it eventually crashes. Hence the need of investing in alternate security features.
Solution: Employ the use of a high performance DDOS mitigation device.
There are some instances when DNS problems are instigated by hardware failures on the host machine or network failures that may be beyond your control (unless the host server machine is present in your work environment).
Solution: Troubleshoot your network/ hardware configuration settings. This will help you identify the direct source of that particular problem which. During most times, the problem usually happens to be a configuration issue.
High DNS Latency
High DNS latency equals high loading times. High DNS latency can be as a result of the DNS name servers not being in close geographic proximity to a large percentage of users who visit your site. Another reason might be network congestion.
Solution: The solution to high latency ranges depending on where the problem is at. However, from experience, changing the DNS servers to ones that are close to your users’ locations has proved to work. If not, you will have to retrace any configurations that you had made before prior to the emergence of high latency.
When solving your DNS issues, always ensure that you first determine whether your DNS server is returning the same response when queried from different locations. You should also ensure that your domain name is active and that you have a stable and robust ISP.
However, for something as important as DNS infrastructure, you are better off having DNS experts on call who can handle any emerging issue as fast as possible. Check out our comprehensive list of servers that you can use here.