Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Home User problems: "Can't see site"

While not exactly a marketing issue, this technology gotcha has my focus this week (well, one of them along with some personnel and office issues) and its possible that it might have prevented some percentage of people from ever seeing our site over the last two years that we've been marketing:

"Page not found" - Is a DNS with "***.255" the problem?

I have an online home education website, PreK-8th grade, which has a number of users who report that they cannot get to our site. This problem has been around for years but due to a recent rash of problems, I'm focusing on it.

I've found that there are some cases where users can browse the web fine but every effort to see our site is stymied. Typing in our url, our dns, pinging us , and tracert efforts all produce "not found" or "timed out" messages. Our users are all home users mostly non-technical. I've found two cases where once they remove the router, the problem goes away. In one case its netgear, in another its TP-Link.

The site is www.Time4Learning.com . My DNS is . I've been told that the problem could be the address and the .255 ending that this is often blocked by routers.
- Why is it blocked?
- What should I do about it?
- If I ask my hoster (webstream) to change my dns, will this be disruptive in any way to my users?
- I also got a cryptic email from the support line at one of the router companies suggesting that I "have your hoster point to the RFC that says that a .255 is now valid"
- what does that mean?

As a side note, we are not a technical company and are currently between programmers.
homeschool curriculum

netgear support - emiails back & forth
tp-link support - emails back & forth (they do not yet seem to have understood the problem)
webstream support - they have not yet answered...

netgear - http://forum1.netgear.com/support/viewtopic.php?p=131020#131020
dnsstuff - http://forums.dnsstuff.com/tool/post/dnsstuff/vpost?id=1110884
netshed - dns forum - http://forums.devshed.com/dns-36/page-not-found-is-255-the-problem-361788.html

Postscript - I got this response from my hosting company:

Ah yes, the 'ole don't assign .0 and .255 addresses. While most people, who don't have much experience with IP's and subnetting, think these are invalid addresses, they actually are valid in classes other than /24's. Unfortunately some, usually small home routers, assume traffic coming from a .255 address is a smurf attack and block it.

The only way to fix this is to give you another address since we cannot correct the manufacture's router problems. I'll go ahead and assign another while also leaving your .255 bound. This will assure you no down time.

Your new IP is


1 comment:

BBat50 said...

BTW - we have stopped using the hosting company that caused us these problems and I've heard that since then they went bankrupt. So, I'll name names: