I recently registered a domain and got hosting from Dreamhost. But when even after three days, the website was not accessible, I contacted support about it. This is the response the support person gave me:

"My apologies! The DNS had gotten stuck, so I went ahead and pushed that through for you. Please allow 2-3 hours for the DNS to propagate."

Now I have to say that my knowledge regarding these things is virtually zero, and I couldn't understand what the support person meant, so I ran a search and it seemed that Mr. Google knew just as much as I did regarding this.

Can someone tell me what "dns getting stuck" means?

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    Hmm that's a new one on me as well! Maybe they were referring to it getting "stuck" in some internal process, rather than the internet at large? – Ben Pilbrow Apr 5 '10 at 21:56

Probably it means the changes weren't propagating from the master server to the slave servers.

In many high-intensity DNS environments, changes are made on a restricted server not actually serving end-users, then replicated out to the actual client-facing DNS servers. Sometimes these changes aren't replicated successfully...

  • And then it can be "pushed through"? – Muhammad Mussnoon Apr 5 '10 at 22:28
  • Yes, sometimes. Depends on the host's exact DNS mechanism. I haven't looked into how Dreamhost does it internally. – Jon Lasser Apr 5 '10 at 22:38
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    It's also quite possible that there is a brokenness between the web-ui thing and the primary DNS server. – Michael Graff Apr 6 '10 at 9:51

"DNS Getting Stuck" means that the support person you talked to is clueless.

In all likelihood, the record was probably never entered into their DNS servers or the DNS process was hung and needed rebooting. Remember that next to ISPs, web hosts tend to have the least competent front-line staff and have seared consciences when it comes to lying. If you had a dollar, they'd steal two from you and make an auto-renewal to do it again in a year. </rant>

  • I would also translate it as "support person is never supposed to admit something went wrong procedurally". And most people accept "it got stuck, i fixed it" as a decent answer. – Zypher Apr 5 '10 at 21:59
  • "The internet was broken but I fixinated it. I hope you are havening a great day!" – Wesley Apr 5 '10 at 22:02
  • Never assume malice where incompetence is adequate explanation -- but don't default to incompetence when there are other reasonable hypotheses. Have you ever tried to get BIND running in master-slave mode? Certainly on older versions, it has a tendency to 'get stuck.' (Many of these are fixed in newer versions of BIND, but last I checked a lot of shops were still running BIND 8 because they had tens of thousands of zone records that weren't legal on BIND 9...) – Jon Lasser Apr 5 '10 at 22:17
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    @Muhammad Mussnoon: We IT people can tend to think we're perpetually deserving of the "I know about this better than you do" option, but I always try to check myself because 1) It's just not nice to behave that way (like I did in my answer), and 2) They might just know more than me. You never know enough to say you now it all... and when you think you know it all you prove you don't because if you knew it all you'd know that you don't know it all. Recursive: See redundant. =) – Wesley Apr 5 '10 at 23:43
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    @Jon Lasser: I knew my attitude was out of line when I typed it, but was too cranky to change it. I went for the cheap laugh over doing the Right Thing. – Wesley Apr 5 '10 at 23:44

Sounds like a generic error that a support rep might give for a typo. If forced to guess I'd suggest someone updated the zone file but forgot to update the serial and the new details were not loaded by the server.

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