At my site, we just moved an important service, and made the appropriate DNS changes internally and externally to make it work.

When you bring up the site in a browser, it works fine. (Works in Safari, Chrome, Opera, Firefox, on computers that have been on the network for a while and ones that have been off it for some time.)

That's good, to be sure. But when I type nslookup <hostname> or dig <hostname>, I get the old IP for the service. (If I put said IP in the browser, I get the former server for this service).

I'm perplexed. How is it that the browser resolving the new service but nslookup is not? [No, there is nothing about the site in /etc/hosts].

[Incidentally, is there any way to tell which IP a browser came up with for a site?]

4 Answers 4


Another possibility is that the client machines on the network are going through an HTTP proxy server that picked up on the IP address change before they did.

  • 1
    Hmm... I think we do have a transparent proxy. Dec 11, 2009 at 18:23
  • Nice catch Sean, this is the likely answer why HTTP works but raw DNS shows old info. Dec 11, 2009 at 18:33
  • Transparent proxies generally don't do the DNS lookup IIRC? Regular ones definitely do.
    – Tom Newton
    Dec 11, 2009 at 21:42

On Solaris and Linux there's getent (ex. 'getent hosts www.google.com') . This uses the system libraries to do the resolution rather than going directly to the name server (like nslookup). This is particularly useful when there are several naming services in play (local files, nis, dns) any of which could have an answer.


My first thought was that you had an entry in /etc/hosts but it sounds like you checked there.

I would check the hostname at Squish to see what/who is involved in DNS resolution and the results that are currently being reported.

Don't forget that DNS can take a while to change over depending on nameservers involved and cache times. If you are only having issues locally there is probably some local DNS cache at play, and you need to reboot or let it time out. When it comes to DNS you have to think globally.

[ Squishywishywoo ]


For your last question ("is there any way to tell which IP a browser came up with for a site"), I recommend, if you use Firefox, an extension like ShowIP or Site Information.

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