Complete breakdown of DNS outage

A DNS outage can be a nightmare. Your finance team will be very nervous about calculating the losses. Marketing will struggle if a special sale or campaign is running. IT experts will be under severe pressure trying to solve it. And users will be disappointed.

What is a DNS outage?

A Domain Name System outage is a period during which the Domain Name System does not respond. To be reachable through the Internet requires DNS. Without DNS resolution or Recursive servers search, your online business will remain unavailable.

Breakdown of a DNS outage

Let’s walk through a common Domain Name System outage to understand it better.

Stage 1

Your server goes down. Usually, companies use detection systems to alert them about all types of issues. So the Domain Name System outage will be known first by your IT team.

Stage 2

New users trying to load your website won’t manage. Without DNS, there won’t be DNS resolution. This means you will lose potential new clients and sales.

Stage 3

Since a DNS outage can happen due to different causes, your IT team will work on diagnosing it. That is essential to take proper reaction. Servers can go down because of the following:

  • Normal maintenance procedures. Actions like updates or reboots will shut down your name server as long as completing the activity required. But no matter if it is a necessary and planned action, the result will be the name server won’t respond to DNS users’ queries (DNS outage).
  • Human errors. With a small mistake while configuring the DNS, your server can stop working. A typo can be enough to stop the DNS operation.
  • Hardware failures. Servers are machines, and they can fail. If the failure is not detected/fixed on time, the server will go out of service. If you only rely on a server and it fails, there won’t be a fast way to fix the DNS outage.
  • Problems in data centers. Even the most secure and modern data center premises can not cope with the power of nature. Natural disasters have destroyed complete data centers. In such a scenario, a DNS outage will be inevitable.
  • Cyber attacks. Servers are targets for attackers. They know how badly wounded an online business can be if its DNS is crippled. If you don’t shield your network enough and don’t add redundancy, the result will be a DNS outage.

Stage 4

Still, after the DNS outage, the IP address (IPv4 or IPv6) of the site can be found on a Recursive server cache or the cache of clients who previously visited your site. The issue is DNS data expires. When? That is defined by their TTL value. Eventually, such data will expire, and then, a complete Domain Name System outage will take place. No access for everybody.

Stage 5

The cause of the DNS outage is sorted, and the server is up again, so the website or app can be resolved normally.

Recommended article: Free Monitoring service: Advantages & Disadvantages


A DNS outage is a tragedy for websites and apps, but prevention is the key. You have to avoid it.

Author: Kayden

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