I have a website on a bucket in Amazon S3, and recently started to get emails from Google "Googlebot can't access your site". When I go to Webmaster Tools and I try to fetch in fact it doesn't work. Also people in locations different from mine sometimes reported they could not access the website.

Now for curiosity I tried from my terminal:

$ host xxx
xxx is an alias for xxx.s3-website-us-west-1.amazonaws.com.
xxx.s3-website-us-west-1.amazonaws.com is an alias for s3-website-us-west-1.amazonaws.com.
s3-website-us-west-1.amazonaws.com has address yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy

And when I try with dig:

$ dig xxx

; <<>> DiG 9.8.3-P1 <<>> xxx
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 17860
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 3, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

;xxx.       IN  A

xxx.    300 IN  CNAME   xxx.s3-website-us-west-1.amazonaws.com.
xxx.s3-website-us-west-1.amazonaws.com. 60 IN CNAME s3-website-us-west-1.amazonaws.com.
s3-website-us-west-1.amazonaws.com. 60 IN A yyy

;; Query time: 1514 msec
;; WHEN: Fri Aug 22 12:32:13 2014
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 127

It seems OK to me. Why would Google tell me there is a DNS error?


Google also cannot fetch robots.txt, but I can fetch it from my browser.


I have a forwarding on the root to the www.* hostname:

$ dig thenifty.me

; <<>> DiG 9.8.3-P1 <<>> thenifty.me
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 49286
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 1, ADDITIONAL: 0

;thenifty.me.           IN  A

thenifty.me.        300 IN  SOA ns1hwy.name.com. support.name.com. 1 10800 3600 604800 300

;; Query time: 148 msec
;; WHEN: Fri Aug 22 13:32:56 2014
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 88
  • Why don't you give us the actual domain name so we can take a look? I'm also unclear as to how you got from "Googlebot can't access your site" to "DNS error" - did Google Webmaster Tools tell you it was a DNS issue? – ceejayoz Aug 22 '14 at 19:46
  • Yes, the message in the dashboard of Webmaster Tools is "Google couldn't access your site because of a DNS error." The site in question is thenifty.me – aledalgrande Aug 22 '14 at 19:49

dig thenifty.me:

No answer section.

dig www.thenifty.me:

www.thenifty.me.    299 IN  CNAME   www.thenifty.me.s3-website-us-west-1.amazonaws.com.
www.thenifty.me.s3-website-us-west-1.amazonaws.com. 59 IN CNAME s3-website-us-west-1.amazonaws.com.
s3-website-us-west-1.amazonaws.com. 59 IN A

It is likely that Googlebot checked both www and non-www and reported an error due to your lacking records for the non-www variant. This is also likely to be why some users can't get to the site - they leave off the www when they type it in.

  • I have a 301 redirect to www.* for the non-www variant, is there a way I can fix this? – aledalgrande Aug 22 '14 at 19:52
  • 1
    How can you have a 301 redirect in place without DNS records? – ceejayoz Aug 22 '14 at 20:09
  • I configured it from the interface of name.com, maybe it's more correct to call it Forwarding? – aledalgrande Aug 22 '14 at 20:15
  • 1
    If you set up forwarding for the non-www in Name.com, you need to contact their support, because it didn't work. There'd be a DNS record of some sort if it worked correctly. – ceejayoz Aug 22 '14 at 20:28
  • 1
    That response indicates no records. You'll see the same response for dig pqoiweurpower.thenifty.me. – ceejayoz Aug 22 '14 at 21:01

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