In brief, we will explain exactly what a DNS outage is, why you should be worried, why it happens, and, most importantly, can you prevent DNS outages. We have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started.
What is a DNS outage?
A DNS outage is a disruption in the DNS service that stops a particular domain name from being resolved to its IP address.
The DNS (Domain Name System) is a network of servers that translate domain names to IP addresses and facilitate the use of the Internet.
We, people, remember domain names, but we need to access the web hosts where their resources are hosted. This is why we need the IP addresses of the web hosts that the DNS translates for us.
If you have a website and you are experiencing a DNS outage, that means that during that time, there is no DNS server that can respond to clients’ queries. The clients won’t get your server’s IP address and won’t receive service until your DNS servers start working again.
Why should you be worried about it?
If new clients can’t get the IP address of your service, like your site, for example, they won’t be able to access it. If nobody can reach your site, they won’t see the important information it has, nor can they buy any of your products and services. So, having your site down leads to zero online transactions during the DNS outage and a bad reputation for your company.
The worst thing is that if it was caused by you, or somebody else in your company, it could take a long time until the problem is discovered and later fixed.
Why does it happen?
There are several potential causes of a DNS outage, including:
Human error. The number one reason for problems in the world. A human, you, or whoever administrates your domain can misconfigure the DNS server. That can cause different problems. Imagine if your IP address is 220.127.116.11 and your DNS server provides 18.104.22.168. Nobody will be able to go to your site since the IP address is wrong.
Hardware failure. Your DNS records are hosted inside a real DNS server. If its hardware components fail, the machine will stop working.
Software failure. The DNS server runs different software. If the OS (operating system) or any of the services that it runs fail, it can translate to downtime.
DNS attack. There are many cybercriminals out there. Different attacks target the DNS. The most common approach is a volumetric DDoS attack that overwhelms your server and does not let it respond to clients’ queries.
Is DNS outage preventable?
Yes, the DNS otage is preventable in almost any case.
Human errors. Hire professionals to manage your DNS and double-check the DNS records for errors.
Hardware and software failures. Always have a backup. Get a Secondary DNS service that will provide answers even if your main server is down.
DNS attacks. Get DNS protection. Use good firewall software or cloud-based DNS protection.