Liquid Web has developed a Hosting Toolkit that provides web developers and curious technophiles a Performance Tool for website testing. We make it easier than ever to optimize and troubleshoot by providing connectivity tests from different geographical locations accompanied with an easy to read grading system for site performance. Continue reading “Website Performance Tool”
What is DNS?
If you are new to web hosting, you may have heard the term DNS, but you might not be sure what it means or how it is essential to you. DNS is short for Domain Name System, and it is the process by which the whole Internet organizes and easier way for humans to reach websites. Numbers or IP addresses identify all of the computers/websites connected to the Internet. While computers have no trouble identifying each other using these strings of numbers, it would be challenging for humans if we had to remember a set of numbers for every website we wanted to visit! Fortunately, DNS translates domain names like liquidweb.com to an IP address and back, so all we need to know to find a website is the name. For a more in-depth discussion of the DNS system, see Understanding the DNS Process.
You can use the DNS Tree for a quick, visual comparison of the records that exist on all of your nameservers. Making sure your records match across nameservers and that they match your server is an essential part of troubleshooting possible website issues. If you’re error messages like “This site can’t be reached” or “webpage is not available”, the DNS Tree may help you figure out where the problem exists.
How Do I Check My DNS?
Verifying accurate DNS records is essential for navigating traffic to the correct web server. You can use Liquid Web’s Internet Webhosting Toolkit to view your current, authoritative DNS records. Just go to the toolkit’s site, click on the DNS Tree tab, enter your domain name, and click Submit.
If you have registered your domain and set DNS records our tool will display the results in an easy to see “tree” of records, organized from most general to most specific.
In our example, we are looking up the records for liquidweb.com, so the tree begins with that domain at the far left of the screen.
The next set of records displayed are the Authoritative Nameservers for the domain. These are the servers designated as the holders of the records for this domain. If you want to change the records for this domain, you must change them on these servers. Changing records anywhere else won’t make reflect DNS changes. Your domain can have one, two, or as many Authoritative Nameservers as you would like but most websites use at least two for redundancy and stability.
The next set of entries in the DNS Tree show the Types of records that are available. DNS record types are unique for each kind of DNS function.
- An “A Record” is used to identify primary IP addresses of given domains.
- “MX Records” are used for email routing and delivery.
- “TXT records” hold additional information about the domain, like SSL validations, DKIM entries, or SPF records.
For more information about DNS record types, see DNS Record Types.
The final “column” of entries displays the actual DNS record. This is typically an IP address for an “A record”, and domain name for an “MX record”, or a string of text for a “TXT record”. Hovering the mouse over a circle will display all of the information for the record in a pop-out window, including the TTL, Type, and Data.
If you’ve made recent changes to your DNS records, the toolkit may be showing an older, or cached, version of the records. The TTL portion of the record indicates how frequently the DNS system should update its records. TTL is shown in seconds, so a typical setting of 3600 means that servers will be asked to update your records every 6 minutes. The delay that occurs during this period is referred to as propagation. Some DNS changes, like nameserver changes, can up to 72 hours to propagate, so if you are going to be making changes to your DNS records, you’ll want to lower your TTL values for a quick update. For more information on reducing your TTLs, see How To: Lowering Your DNS TTLs.
If you need additional help, Liquid Web customer’s can contact the Most Helpful Humans in Hosting via ticket, chat, or phone at any time and we’ll do our best to make sure everything is working correctly.
As part of our Web Hosting Toolkit, our Liquid Web IP Checker makes it easier than ever to identify IT issues. IP addresses are the unique numbers assigned to every computer that connects to the Internet. When troubleshooting connectivity issues, checking your computer’s IP address is the first step in identifying possible network issues. Correctly identifying your public IP address allows you (and our Support technicians) to find information on the server and it’s log files to pinpoint possible issues between your computer and server.
Finding Your Public IP Address
As the first piece of information in the connection between your local workstation and server, your Public IP address is critical to the information gathering process. Fortunately, you don’t need to navigate complex networking configurations on your computer to find the public IP address; you need to ask an external server what IP identifies with your connection. You can do this by using Liquid Web’s Internet Web Hosting Toolkit. Go to the toolkit website and click on IP Checker. You’ll immediately be shown the public IP address that your computer is reporting.
You can also get additional information about how your computer is identifying itself (including location, operating system, and browser details) by clicking on the link in the extra information area. This information can help identify website compatibility issues based on various user settings.
How Do I Know If My IP Is Public or Private?
Most computers that are attached to a network have both a Public and a Private IP address. The IP address assigned to your computer by your router or wireless modem is generally a Private IP and typically is in one of two “reserved” ranges: either 10.x.x.x or 192.x.x.x. These Private IP ranges allow all of the devices in your local network to communicate with each other. When connecting with devices outside of your local network, your router will provide a Public IP address to outgoing traffic (often all of the devices inside your network will “share” the same Public IP address). The Public IP address allows computers across the Internet to identify each other and communicate effectively. To troubleshoot networking issues, we’ll need to find the Public IP address that your computer is broadcasting to the Internet. With the Public IP you can search through the firewall and server logs to find connection attempts and identify possible issues that may be preventing access.
How Do I Know If MY IP Address Is Blocked?
Most servers have software that works to detect and prevent possible malicious activity. Sometimes this software is part of the firewall or another application, but the result is the same: computers that fail to satisfy this software will be blocked from accessing the server. These blocks can occur due to repeated failed login attempts or even by opening too many connections at the same time (this often happens when transferring a large amount of data via FTP).
Security software typically blocks IPs by an escalating scale. That is, an offending IP address will be blocked for a short amount of time on the first offense, but the blocks will increase in length as the behavior continues until the IP address is permanently barred. An incorrect password saved in an FTP client can result in a permanent block in a short amount of time. If you suspect your server is blocking your IP, you may be able to remove the block automatically. For more information on unblocking your IP, see Unblocking Your IP Address.
Now that you’ve got your Public IP address, you can check your server logs for failed connection attempts or other errors that may indicate why you are having trouble connecting. Or you can share that information with one of Liquid Web’s Most Helpful Humans in Hosting and they can help resolve whatever connectivity issues you are experiencing.
If there is one truth in the world of web hosting, it is that we always need more information. Information about configurations, servers, connections, delivery speeds and networking is essential in troubleshooting and optimizing our web presence. While this kind of information can be gathered from various providers and sites across the Internet, Liquid Web has developed a one-stop shop toolkit to gather some of the most vital troubleshooting tools in one convenient interface designed to make your life easier.
The Liquid Web Internet Webhosting Toolkit provides you with the data you need to verify connectivity, identify DNS issues, and test web page performance. We’ll continue to develop and share new tools that will make your job easier; it’s one of the ways that we are working to be the Most Helpful Humans in Hosting. Continue reading “How Do I Use Liquid Web’s Hosting Toolkit?”