Tip: Using nslookup to Verify the Status of Your DNS Zones

nslookup is a utility used to query Internet Domain Name Servers ( DNS Servers ). nslookup can be found on most operating systems and is fairly simple to use. This guide is designed to serve as a quick demonstration showing the most basic features of nslookup. There are many different ways to use nslookup; most of which are beyond the scope of this document. You are most welcome to read through the help menu by typing help 🙂

Lets begin by opening a command prompt or terminal and type nslookup. This will now show you nslookup followed by >. From here you will use the command ( set q= ). This tells nslookup what record type you are querying for. By default it will look at the record name and return the type and IP address associated with it. Commonly this returns the A record or CNAME record. If your looking for other records, you will place them after the = sign. For this example we are looking up the mx record for name.com ( set q=mx ).

This shows you how the mx records are currently set at the nameservers you are using. For another example lets look at txt records ( set q=txt )

If you see a result with NXDOMAIN, this means the record does not exist at the nameserver you are querying against. Most likely this either hasn’t propagated out or your non-Authoritative Nameserver does not know it exists. The best thing you can do here is check the Authoritative Nameserver and wait out the TTL if it exists there.

Lets break this down a little further. Notice the two sections?

The Non-authoritative answer represents what your current nameservers believe the record to be. The Authoritative Nameservers are responsible for managing the zones for the domain you are querying. These are the nameservers assigned at the registrar to manage DNS for the domain. In other words; if you want the absolute answer, go to these Nameservers. By default nslookup will go directly to the Nameservers your computer is configured to use.

Now that we know the Authoritative Nameservers, lets run a query and see what results we get. This can be done by using the command ( server _nameserver_).

Because this retrieves the information directly from the Authoritative Server responsible for the domain, the information represented by this request shows what other Nameservers will respond with when data is requested. Why is this important? If your not able to visit a website after making DNS changes, your Nameservers may be showing out of date information. By querying for the data from your currently set Nameservers and then from the Authoritative Nameservers, you can determine if your local Nameservers are seeing the new data.

What if the data is different?

While this question is too deep to discuss entirely here, there is one very common reason a Nameserver will hold onto old data. If the TTL has not expired, the non-authoritative Nameserver will respond with the cached result and not look up the new data until it expires. When your record is set with a TTL of 300, this means the record is good for 300 seconds from the last query. After 300 seconds of the last query, the record is marked as out of date by the non-Authoritative Nameserver and then re-verified from the Authoritative Nameserver at the time of the latest query. If you have a TTL set to 86400, the record will stay in place for 24 hours. This means updates to the domain could take up to 24 hours to fully propagate out. One thing to note here. This is per the previous TTL settings, not the new TTL settings. If you set the new TTL to 300 from 86400, the current TTL setting of 86400 will stay in place until 24 hours after the cached records timestamp. Unfortunately, sometimes the record will not update after the TTL expires and you will need to flush the DNS cache to force your computer to see an update. Use caution here and consult with your ISP or Network Administrators if you are unsure of the ramifications from this action.

If you have any questions regarding the propagation of your records, a good place to start at is with the management group for the Authoritative Nameservers. Once you verify the data is set properly at the Authoritative level, you should then go to the support group that manages the non-Authoritative Nameservers and inquire as to why the records are not showing up. As always, if you’re not sure which support to start with, it never hurts to start with your registrar ’97 they can always point you in the right direction.

New to the Team: Robert Church

Everyone, meet Robert. Robert joined us earlier in the summer as one of our systems administrators and he’s probably best known as the guy who stays up all night cranking when there are things like outages. A transplant from Fort Worth, TX to Colorado, Robert came to Name.com with many years in the hosting industry under his belt.

Prior to working in hosting, he was a yakuza assassin that specialized in knives. Even though he was quite good at his job, he felt the lack of benefits and worker’s comp were too much of a liability. He decided to leave the yakuza lifestyle for a more rewarding career in systems administration. However, that doesn’t mean he’s any less sharp at his job! Ba dum bum.

Bad puns aside, Robert has been a fantastic addition to the Name.com team. We’re very excited to have him on board and we hope you will join us in welcoming him.

Fantasy Football Update

Hey fantasy footballers!

The Name.com league has a few games under its belt and we’re starting to see some teams take off..and a couple fall behind. The Dr. Hook McCracken team seems to think their stats are an anomaly and that’s why they’re in last place — whatever makes you feel better. 😉

The only remaining undefeated team is Cowboy Barker’s Beauties, which belongs to our support lead Sky. Proving that his apparent cheating is not just limited to ping pong. (We kid, Sky, we kid 🙂

How is your team doing? Let us know in the comments!

The Little Registrar That Could

For a while now we’ve touted that we have “almost” a million domains under management. That alone has been a big achievement for us — this little registrar tucked away in the Rocky Mountains. Well, now we are extremely excited to announce that we proudly have OVER one million domains under management!

It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to where we are, but really we wouldn’t be anywhere without our customers. You guys are why we do what we do, and for that we thank you. 🙂

Feel free to join us in a big “WAHOO!” as we celebrate this huge milestone. Cheers, and here’s to the next million!

Tip: Verify DNS & Route to Hostname

I came across this handy little tip last week when helping a customer who was experiencing propagation issues. By “came across” I mean our awesome system administrator, Robert, was kind enough to share it with me.

I’m sure some of us have experienced this:

You update your nameservers to point your new domain to your host, but then something’s fishy. Your site is not resolving. Or, it’s resolving for others, but not for you. What it comes down to, is your site is not working right. You’re frustrated and you don’t know whether it’s a problem with your registrar, your host, or your internet service provider (ISP).

If you find yourself in this situation, following these steps will provide enough information to help reveal any possible routing and propagation issues:


Start -> Run -> Cmd

Then, one at a time, enter these commands and hit Return:

  • nslookup yourdomain.com > c:\netcheck.txt
  • nslookup yourdomain.com >> c:\netcheck.txt
  • pathping yourdomain.com -q 50 -w 500 -4 >> c:\netcheck.txt

This then creates a netcheck.txt file in your C: drive.


Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal

Then, one at a time, enter these commands and hit Return:

  • cd ~/Desktop/
  • dig yourdomain.com +trace > netcheck.txt
  • dig yourdomain.com @ >> netcheck.txt
  • traceroute yourdomain.com >> netcheck.txt

This then creates a netcheck.txt file on your Desktop.

Now when you contact the support department of your registrar, host, or ISP you will have an incredibly useful bit of information to send them with the netcheck.txt file. If you’re not sure which support to start with, it never hurts to start with your registrar — they can always point you in the right direction.

Either way, providing the netcheck.txt file will show where the routing is breaking for your hostname and will help support determine what and where the problem is a lot quicker. And quick turnarounds make everyone involved a happy camper. 🙂

I Want My Dot TV


You may have noticed the super sweet pricing we’ve had on .TV domains for the past couple months. $10.99? I mean, holy cow!

Well, we’re happy to announce that this special .TV pricing will continue until the end of 2010. Woohoo!

This means you get two more months of:

  • $10.99 .TV one-year registrations
  • $9.99 .TV multi-year registrations

So if you’ve had an idea for a video site for a while, now’s your chance to secure your .TV domain for as many years as you want..at a ridiculously low price.

Get seen today!

Spooktacular October Promos!

Hey everyone!

We’re pretty excited about the month of October. Sure it’s officially fall and we’re surrounded by absolutely beautiful colors. But we’re really looking forward to this little thing called Halloween at the end of the month. In honor of one of our favorite holidays we have some spooktacular promos just for you!

This month you can use the promo code OMGZOMBIES for:

  • $8.49 .COM & .NET registrations
  • $8.99 .COM & .NET renewals
  • $7.49 .ORG renewals

Don’t forget we’re also offering these specials:

  • $6.99 .IM registrations and renewals
  • $10.99 .TV registrations
  • $6.99 .ASIA registrations


Our Bad Luck Continues!

Hi folks!

We thought we were in the clear after last week’s hardware difficulties, but it seems we’re just not that lucky. Today we are experiencing a completely unrelated hardware issue and no customer sites are affected, only the Name.com website.

Our Systems team has been communicating directly with IBM about our issues and they are recommending we upgrade certain parts of our hardware. We are in the middle of this process now and during this time the Name.com website will not be available. We believe that once our upgrades are complete it should prevent any hardware issues like this going forward.

We apologize for any inconvenience and we thank you dearly for your patience during this time.

Name.com Sponsoring Podcamp Denver!

We’re excited to announce that we will be one of the sponsors of the first ever Podcamp Denver! We had a blast at Podcamp Boulder 2 earlier in the year and we’ll admit that we’re looking forward to participating in one a little closer to home.

Things kick off in Denver this Friday night (10/1) for a bit of networking and planning, and then the “UnConference” runs from 9am to 4pm on Saturday. We’re happy to say that our sponsorship is covering breakfast and much needed caffeine for the attendees. We’ll also be attending and helping answer any domain related questions people may have.

For those unfamiliar, Podcamps are a casual, unorganized conferences for new media enthusiasts and professionals interested in sharing and learning in an open environment. For more details on Podcamps and a list of upcoming events you can find all of the info you need on the official site.

If any of our Colorado peeps are interested in checking out Podcamp Denver, you can register for the event here (it’s FREE!). Hope to see you there!

New to the Team: Pat Ramsey

Okay, okay, those of you that watch Beer Fridays will know that Pat isn’t super new. He actually joined our Dev team earlier in the summer as a software developer, and right away he found himself at home reviewing beers with us in front of a camera. My kind of programmer. 🙂

Pat is a recent graduate of Colorado College down in Colorado Springs, where he majored in Computer Science. When he’s not computing or making beeps and boops (often times with his mouth), he is your typical Coloradoan that enjoys skiing, biking, and chillin’. He also enjoys scuba diving, but I will refrain from making a sarcastic comment about Colorado and its abundance of oceans. Whoops.

We’re very excited to have Pat on board. He codes with the nimble fingers of a seamstress and plays ping pong with the wingspan of a Pterodactyl. One makes him an asset to the team, the other makes him our ping pong nemesis. Either way, we hope you all will join us in (retroactively) welcoming Pat to the Name.com team!