DNS sucks. January 21, 2008 8:24 PM   Subscribe DNS sucks.

DNS lookups of and have been bringing my MeFi-ness to a screeching halt for the last few days. I dread each day when the DNS cache expires and it has to look it up again. Holler at FM?
posted by intermod to Uptime at 8:24 PM (37 comments total)

Yeah, I agree and have been seeing the same thing.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:31 PM on January 21, 2008

Correction: it's not each day, it's more like every five minutes. WTF, did they enter the timeout number in hours instead of seconds or something? Someone with a clue about DNS records needs to go take a look and then smack someone upside the hed.
posted by intermod at 8:42 PM on January 21, 2008

I added entries pointing to in /etc/hosts for both a couple days ago. It's been incredibly annoying.
posted by enn at 8:48 PM on January 21, 2008

~ $ dig SOA
... 30 IN SOA 2007072370 300 3600 604800 300

Looks like they've set the Minimum TTL value for (which applies to all resource records in the zone) to 300 seconds (5 minutes). That's pretty small, particularly since as of RFC 2308 the Minimum TTL is used as the negative caching time, i.e. after a failed attempt to resolve or resolvers will immediately report "no such domain" to subsequent requests for only 5 minutes, after which a full attempt at resolution is retried.

In comparison,'s Minimum TTL value is 86400 seconds (1 day).
posted by RichardP at 9:07 PM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Frankly, I have the same problem with fmpub with just about every site that uses them. Seconding the smacking, BTW.
posted by Samizdata at 9:10 PM on January 21, 2008

Yep, been a noticeable problem for quite a while.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:27 PM on January 21, 2008

These guys haven't been on the ball in one way or another for years. Just loopback'em and never be bothered again.
posted by Mitheral at 9:53 PM on January 21, 2008

Yeah, the main reason I use adblock is not the ads themselves — most of the sites I read have relatively unobtrusive ads — but to avoid the excruciatingly slow load times some ad networks and such have. Fmpub, GoogleAnalytics, you listening?
posted by hattifattener at 10:03 PM on January 21, 2008 [5 favorites]

Nothing is more aggravating than seeing your browsing come screeching to a halt because some shit server can't be arsed to serve the fuckass ad you didn't even want anyway.
posted by "Tex" Connor and the Wily Roundup Boys at 10:05 PM on January 21, 2008 [7 favorites]

Yes. Yes. Yes.

did I mention? Yes?
posted by taz at 10:45 PM on January 21, 2008

I wouldn't want to encourage anyone to install BlockSite for Firefox, and add (among many other things) "http://*" to its list because that would be wrong.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:46 PM on January 21, 2008 [6 favorites]

My instinct tells me they're setting the TTL very low because they're planning to initiate a major move, and want to be able to roll it back quickly if something goes awry.

But I could be wrong; that's just the only situation in which I've seen a TTL set so low for a short period of time.
posted by davejay at 11:07 PM on January 21, 2008

PC Load letter? What the fuck does that mean?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:07 PM on January 21, 2008 [13 favorites]

...because some shit server can't be arsed...

I'm going to guess you're not really from Texas, after all, "Tex."
posted by vacapinta at 11:35 PM on January 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

I made it resolve to using my hosts file. This problem comes up once every year or so.
posted by knave at 1:00 AM on January 22, 2008

I did a quick search, and there have been 18 metatalk posts complaining about's loading performance, going back to 2005. I would have to say that I doubt heavily that fmpub will ever actually be decent, and that this problem will come back in... 2 months. Is there not a better solution to this?
posted by JZig at 3:12 AM on January 22, 2008

Is this something I'd need to turn Adblock off to understand?
posted by flabdablet at 3:52 AM on January 22, 2008

Is there not a better solution to this?

Not that I know how this site is structured, but it could probably be fixed by having the ads loaded in some AJAXy way, as/after the page is loaded. That way, the page itself renders no matter what, and if the ad server is having difficulties, you just don't get them.
posted by knave at 3:57 AM on January 22, 2008

Doi, hosts file. Dunno why I didn't think of that, I've resorted to it before when sites have been similarly unresponsive. Hey Federated Media, you just screwed yourself out of a bunch of adviews/revenue.

Thanks RichardP for looking at the record. I suspect the low TTL time is half of the problem. Usually the other half is that one of the name servers records turns out to be not working right.
posted by intermod at 4:21 AM on January 22, 2008

Astro Zombie writes "PC Load letter? What the fuck does that mean?"

PC = Paper Cassette (as opposed to Manual Feed)
Load = You're out of the following paper in the indicated device
Letter = It's letter I think I need. Either the PC is empty or it's got non letter (A4, Legal, Envelopes, etc.) loaded.
posted by Mitheral at 6:47 AM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

We could always take fmpub's server out back to the waste ground accompanied by a few buddies and a baseball bat.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 7:17 AM on January 22, 2008

I almost posted this video (Single-link GodTube!) on the blue this morning, but decided againt. However, if you're in a compy-smashing PC Load Letter WTF mood, you'll enjoy it.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:30 AM on January 22, 2008

See also "PC What, Are You A Swedish Grad Student? Seriously? G5".
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:31 AM on January 22, 2008

I have no idea what any of this is about, but that won't stop me from saying that RichardP is an awesomely (and quietly) helpful member of this site that we are lucky to have. He also appears to have helpful technical answers and does a great job with the wiki. If he doesn't have some official position in Metafilter Industries, he should. Or at least a gold star for being such a valuable and contributive member. Cheers to RichardP.
posted by dios at 7:38 AM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

RichardP for King of Cake!
posted by Catfry at 10:27 AM on January 22, 2008

I've set TTL low in the past just because there'd always be some time when we had to switch over and then you love the short turnaround. I've had problems with it in the past. It's also very, very annoying when you're trying to do a minor change and nothing happens because you have to sit on your hands for 36 hours thanks to some DNS provider's idea of a good timeout.

A nice balance, maybe 2 hours, might be a better TTL I guess. Or if you're sure it's not going to change, then leave as is.

I once had dozens of sites running off a TTL of 5 minutes with perfectly fine response times; maybe the key is having a really responsive DNS server? I've never heard of it taking *that* much time...even 100ms is too long
posted by Deathalicious at 11:40 AM on January 22, 2008

wow, blocking that domain has done wonders for mefi's load time. hot damn.
posted by shmegegge at 12:50 PM on January 22, 2008

Dios & Catfry: Ah, shucks! Thanks for the cake.
posted by RichardP at 1:32 PM on January 22, 2008


# vim /etc/hosts

posted by krinklyfig at 4:57 PM on January 22, 2008

Mitheral, your cultural reference detector is broken*.

Deathalicious, uh huh, I know. As I said, this kind of problem usually arises when two things happen: very low TTL, and malfunctioning DNS. I bet one of their DNS records is bogus, so 1/N domain resolution requests just hang in the ether.
posted by intermod at 6:27 PM on January 22, 2008

Holy crap! You're not kidding about that improvement in load time. Wheeeeeeeeee! I could reload all day.

(but I will not.)
posted by davejay at 7:04 PM on January 22, 2008

Thinking about it, perhaps you could alter (or have them alter, depending on your relationship with them) the fmpub js so that it doesn't get triggered until the entire page has finished loading and rendering. It's a pretty standard trick these days.
posted by davejay at 7:07 PM on January 22, 2008

noscript works.
posted by hortense at 8:27 PM on January 22, 2008

intermod writes "Mitheral, your cultural reference detector is broken*."

No it's not, I just never found that bit all that funny in what was otherwise a hilarious film. Micheal supposed to be a crack programmer and he can't internet search "PC LOAD Letter"? It's well laid out in the documentation for HPs of that vintage including the substantial dead tree version that would have come with that unit (and Initech is the kind of company that would have that doc chained to the printer). If Milton or even Peter would have had that little misadventure it might have been funny.
posted by Mitheral at 9:16 PM on January 22, 2008

While I'm able to load metafilter..

Does anyone have an issue with fetching CSS from Over the past couple of days, Metafilter doesn't load, most of the time, in both Firefox 2.0x and IE 6. No problem with any other site.

In FF, Firebug shows that the HTML loads fine, but that never delivers the CSS. Occasionally, it works, but never reliably. OTOH, works fine and I'm able to log in but on the redirect, it gets stuck. Notably, the CSS for the login page comes from
posted by Gyan at 2:09 AM on January 23, 2008

The issue seems to have resolved itself pretty recently. I didn't make any changes at my end.
posted by Gyan at 4:26 AM on January 30, 2008

Well, it's happening again, and this time it is getting stuck on comments.js from
posted by Gyan at 10:11 PM on January 30, 2008

« Older Any Centrally Illini Interested In A Meetup?   |   Metafilter Infodump: more stats than you can shake... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments