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I have my domain BQQKSHELF.COM that I bought through Dreamhost. I set up a CNAME so that zach.bqqkshelf.com points to my app at zach.heroku.com.

The app at Heroku is working fine. Everyone can agree on that.

When I go to zach.bqqkshelf.com, everything seems to work okay too. When I ask my roommate to go to it, it works. When I go to it on my iTouch, it works.

When I IM my friends and ask them to go to zach.bqqkshelf.com, they get a time out error.

How is this possible?

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I think this would be better answered on Serverfault since CNAMEs aren't really programming related –  AutomatedTester Jan 4 '10 at 19:21
    
What IP are you getting when pinging zach.bqqkshelf.com? Is your hosts file clean from any previously set up redirections etc.? –  Pekka 웃 Jan 4 '10 at 19:23
    
Did you IM your friends straight after creating the CNAME or did you wait a few hours for the new CNAME to replicate out through the DNS system? (Unfortunately it can sometimes can take a day or two to completely replicate out.) –  phoenix8 Jan 5 '10 at 2:18
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jan 4 '10 at 19:23

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4 Answers

It sounds like you might have a caching issue. Did you have a previous value for zach.bqqkshelf.com? (I.E., did it used to point somewhere else?)

It can sometimes take a while (at least a day) for DNS changes to propagate, due to the distributed and highly cached nature of DNS.

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When I ping zach.bqqkshelf.com, I get:

PING heroku.com (75.101.145.87): 56 data bytes
Request timeout for icmp_seq 0
Request timeout for icmp_seq 1
Request timeout for icmp_seq 2
Request timeout for icmp_seq 3
Request timeout for icmp_seq 4
Request timeout for icmp_seq 5
Request timeout for icmp_seq 6
Request timeout for icmp_seq 7

I've flushed my DNS settings on Dreamhost, I'll see if that helps. In the meantime, is there a way to test without IMing my friends?

Also, where would this hosts file be?

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You should post follow-ups as comments or edits to your question rather than as answers. –  Dennis Williamson Jan 4 '10 at 20:12
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RE: testing without IMing friends, you can use a DNS checker like this one.

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Just in case you're curious, this is almost certainly a problem that your friend on IM is behind a Micrsoft Server 2003 DNS server; I've tracked down the Dreamhost + CNAME issue to that on our end.

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