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I post at SearchCommander.com now, and this post was published 13 years 7 months 24 days ago. This industry changes FAST, so blindly following the advice here *may not* be a good idea! If you're at all unsure, feel free to hit me up on Twitter and ask.

Friday morning here in Portland, a web hosting customer could not check their email without an error saying that their mail server wasn’t found, and they couldn’t see their own website either.

Initial attempts to help her proved fruitless, and after trying everything, she was sadly told that it appeared to be a Frontier DNS problem.

Subsequently, we had several people over the weekend  with the exact same issue, and we’re not a large host,  so depending on how wide spread this problem is, a lot of people might be affected!

Frontier recently took over Verizons ISP service  here in parts of Portland Oregon, and without getting too technical, here’s what’s wrong…

The Frontier DNS Settings Need Changing in Your Modem

The DNS settings that were put into the modems when they were put  into the customer offices and homes are not functioning correctly, and need updating by Frontier.

I wish I could be more specific, but with so many models of modem installed by Verizon over the past 10 years since DSL came along, there’s simply no way to tell you exactly where to go to fix this.

Here’s how to fix the Frontier “I can’t see my website” problem.

  1. Log into your modem IP address – (if you don’t do that then you’re going to have to call Frontier support)
  2. Figure out how to change your DNS settings, from the hardcoded BAD ones, of which there appeared to be several, and check the box that says something like “obtaind DNS automatically”

Our own hosting customers have likely solved the problem by now,  so I’m putting these instructions out here for anyone else who happens to need them.

If you own your own domain, and suddenly cannot get your own e-mail or website, then you might try this on your modem and see if it works.

Can someone at Frontier please fix those bad Verizon DNS settings?

Update 10/26
In the wake of this blog post, we discovered that nearly 35,000 domains we knew of were xperiencing this issue not only from our servers, but from the servers of others in our datacenter, and even a couple of other small web hosts and reseller acquaintances who are unrelated to our business at all.

This morning I received a very courteous phone call from Frontier, who told me how WE could fix the problem.

In layman’s terms, the internet is running out of IP addesses, and Arin is releasing IP blocks in a range that the default NS config files had blocked, as being in a “black hole”.

The default BIND source code has some hard coded default exclusions that all webhosts are going to have to change theirs.

The reason WHY the default BIND source has exclusions is still a mystery, and I suppose there’s a case to be made that all registrars for all domains should be notifying all registrants in the same way that they insist upon annual ownership verification, but that’s neither here nor there, I guess.

Thank you to Frontier for responding so quickly, and if you’re a web host, here are the instructions to “fix” your config files so this doesnt happen with other ISP’s besides Frontier as the years roll by.

Here are the relevant details that I was emailed after the phone call…

Frontier customers trying to resolve your customers sites are not able to resolve them due to what appears as our cache DNS farms (184.16.4.22, 184.16.4.23, 184.16.33.54, 184.16.33.56) are unable to contact your authoritative DNS.

We have had this issue with several providers recently. The root causes have been outdated “bogon” lists or not allowing our subnet (184.16.0.0/14) via ACL or firewall.

Thanks Frontier, for the great service!

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