Tech Issues Update


After Monday’s drama and subsequent changes in our DNS server address, most folks can now access the site. This is progress from when it was roughly 0% for a few hours mid-Monday, but is still not ideal.

Although most folks who might want this update cannot read the site, hopefully this info will trickle to them.


The changes I made to the domain were roughly at 3 pm Eastern, Monday. Once those changes were made, they must propagate out to the internet to ISPs, corporate networks, etc., and this can take up to 48 hours. As of this morning, I’m still getting reports of people unable to connect via one connection, but successful via another. For example, I had an early-morning report from Indiana where the work computer is fine, but the home connection is unable to find the domain. Another one a bit later this morning was from overseas – using a local connection failed, but using his US-based VPN was fine.


Hopefully, the dust will settle from this a bit later today and it will be another painful memory. Once I have 12 hours with no reports of this lingering issue, I will rebuild the site’s CDN (Content Delivery Network) setup to increase the site’s speed and reduce your download time. Currently, I expect that to be Thursday afternoon. It will not be disruptive as this will entail adding some things, not moving things, and those who are slow to receive the changes will just see the current, non-CDN, setup.


I’ve got some things to take care of today, but will be back later.


Open Thread


(about the Featured Image – the conversation seems to be changing)

61 replies
  1. 1
    NotMax says:

    Don’t know if you are already aware of it nor if M⁴ passed along the tip that the Recent Comments and Recent Posts widgets are still active and keeping up to date on the site’s 404 page.

  2. 2
    jeffreyw says:

    Got on with no issues.

  3. 3
    Yutsano says:

    FWIW I haven’t had trouble getting on save for a couple minor blips that fixed themselves a second time. Except the work computer but I can get around that on my phone.

    Once again merci beaucoup Alain!

  4. 4
    DCrefugee says:

    Odd. I haven’t had a problem accessing the site throughout this episode, and I’m usually the other guy…

    Some people may just need to reboot their routers and devices…

  5. 5
    Catherine D. says:

    I’ve been having loads of trouble. Seems to be better at work now, but on and off at home.

  6. 6
    stinger says:

    Dipping my toe into the Twitterwaters. Following Dorothy Winsor, Barack Obama, my local news/weather station, The Royal Family, Thoughts of Dog, and Betty Cracker. Between these and Ms. Cracker’s Likes and Retweets, I’m getting all the news and entertainment I really need! Should stand me in good stead the next time I can’t access Balloon Juice for 36 hours….

  7. 7
    Haroldo says:

    I’ve had no problems with my mighty Toshiba Satellite, Chrome, and some Comcast provider. My fat fingers preclude the use of any touch display device.

    As always, Alain (and M^4), thanks for all your thankless work.

  8. 8

    As you say, it looks like the political weather of the country is shifting. Or maybe the Very Serious People are now waking up to the fact that the weather shifted long ago. This is a big deal, and I think an awful lot of people still don’t understand what a big deal it is. Trust, once it’s lost, is next to impossible to win back again. People think these clowns sold the country out. And they have good reason to think that, since in all likelihood they did sell the country out. Republicans might brazen this out in the short run; they might hold on to the Senate. But I don’t think we really yet fully fathom the incalculable harm they’ve done to themselves in the long run. Maybe I’m nuts, but I’m hopeful. In the end, there are more of us than there are of them, and they’re losing people every day.

  9. 9
    TS (the original) says:

    Many thanks Alain. On the down under side of the world I was out for 24 hours – and was seriously missing my main US news site. Has been fine since I first got access back.

  10. 10
    Doug R says:

    Phone worked every time I tried in the past few days. Didn’t try it in the am when “is it me or the internet” said you were down. But shaw and and couldn’t find you for a few hours at a time. Been stable since yesterday evening.

  11. 11
    AndyG says:

    Thanks Alain. Rebooting my home router did the trick.

  12. 12
    Rand Careaga says:

    Access achieved this morning for the first time in a couple of days. Thanks.

  13. 13
    Steeplejack says:


    Paul Bronks’s @BoringEnormous for the best in animal humor.

  14. 14
    Heidi Mom says:

    Access achieved late last night. What a relief to see Balloon Juice again! Thanks for all your hard work.

  15. 15
    MattF says:

    Access has been off and on for me this morning. But (obviously) now seems to be working

  16. 16
    JPL says:

    Thanks for the update.
    It has been stable for me all day. My access previously was sporadic at best. Wahoo!

  17. 17
    Nelle says:

    Thanks for your work, Alain.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Procopius says:

    Don’t know if this will be of use to anybody, because I haven’t had any difficulty accessing the site. I’m in Thailand, my ISP is in Bangkok, and I access the internet over a 30 Mbps ADSL over copper line. My operating system is Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit and I use the Chrome browser. If I can be useful testing anything over the web I’d be happy to help.

  20. 20
    Obvious Russian Troll says:

    @DCrefugee: DNS propagation through the Internet is a pain. To oversimplify a bit, the domain on its authoritative DNS server is configured with a value that determines how often other DNS servers check in to see if it has changed. It looks like the new host is set at 24 hours; not sure about the old one.

    So you wind up with the DNS servers at a lot of ISPs and devices serving as DNS caching servers getting a request for looking at it and saying, eh, I don’t have to check up on it for another 23 hours (or whatever). So they don’t, and they give their clients the old IP address. Which no longer works.

    While this means that rebooting your device or your wireless router may help (if they’re caching DNS, which most devices do to an extent and at least some wireless routers are configured to do), it may not help immediately if your ISP is still using the cached entry.

  21. 21
    BretH says:

    I switched from Google’sDNS servers to OpenDNS servers and that got me back on.

  22. 22
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Today … the ACCESS!

    Tomorrow … the EDIT FUNCTION!

    Balloon Juice MARCHES ON!

  23. 23
    BretH says:

    Ignore this – forgot to hit the “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.” checkbox.

  24. 24
    azlib says:

    HI Alain,

    Sound like your DNS provider screwed up the DNS server IP cutover. Normally, the process is to crank down the time to live on the nameserver records to a very small value (say 5 minutes) and wait for the change to propogate and then change the DNS server IP records. You can then crank up the time to live on the nameserver records to a reasonable value. Doing it this way avoids having to wait longer than the cranked down time to live for any cached records to time out.

  25. 25
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Such great pix of you skydiving! So happy that you did it, though you’re much braver than I. I’ve maintained for many years now that I’m happy to jump out of a plane, when I have to. Until then, I will not. I hate, hate, hate small planes – one crashed and broke my dad’s back, and one crashed and killed my half-sister. So I avoid them like the plague, shall we say.

  26. 26
  27. 27

    @SiubhanDuinne: Saw your pictures in BC post yesterday, your jump was badass! Are you going to swing by western MA anytime soon?

  28. 28
    AliceBlue says:

    BJ is back!! Now I can stop hyperventilating.

  29. 29
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @azlib: Thanks for the lesson, and that is not sarcastic! I’ll file that for future reference as a superior technique.

    In this case, it was a cluster of issues that boil down to “a company left something on and so it worked and so I didn’t remember to point to our host’s nameservers after stopping their service”. And without warning late Monday morning, what worked didn’t, and site was 100% missing. I had no choice but to immediately point to our host’s nameservers so site would return, even if it took a while. And then, to top things off, our CDN decided that this change offended it somehow and many folks got weird SSL certificate warnings (or outright blocking in Mac/iOS) so I had to remove the CDN from our setup until it all settles down. Again, more time to propagate, but since the issue was current, a slow-build wouldn’t have made a good difference.

    But for any future changes, I will work such clever tweaking of update intervals into my plan – thanks again!

  30. 30
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Alain the site fixer: ugh. no edit comment. What dumbass did that? Ok folks, must go, will be back online in a few hours.

  31. 31
    PutinsLovePuppet says:

    Wasn’t able to access Monday or Tuesday using a MacBook with Safari 11.1.2 and Chrome 69.0.3497.92. Can access normally using both now. Perhaps you should post on the Balloon Juice Facebook page for those who still can’t access normally (if anybody)?

  32. 32
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Alain the site fixer:

    Thanks, Alain, but wow! With that awful family history, I’d avoid small planes too! I actually enjoy small planes (including helicopters), although that wide-open door at two miles up was a bit disconcerting. But the jump itself was sublime and peaceful and beautiful.

  33. 33
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    No immediate plans to re-visit your part of the country; am toying with thoughts of a return trip perhaps next spring. Would be a treat to see you again!

  34. 34
    Gelfling 545 says:

    Thank you for all you do for us.

  35. 35
    Brachiator says:

    Many thanks Alain.

  36. 36
    Sandia Blanca says:

    Thanks to Alain, majormajormajormajor, and John Cole for giving us this “home on the tubes”–sometimes I take it for granted, but certainly missed having my frequent fixes in the past couple of days. Glad to be back!

  37. 37
    Yutsano says:


    No immediate plans to re-visit your part of the country

    *cough* You need to come back to Seattle! (cough)

    Also: looks like work browser is back up too. Arigatou gozaimashita Alain!

  38. 38
    The Moar You Know says:

    Thoughts of Dog

    @stinger: Which is superb. Usually makes me tear up a bit, I’ve got a golden just like he does. His far more famous site, Dog Rates, is great but lightweight.

    If you’re a dog person I would also enthusiastically recommend @TheGoldenRatio4, which is amazing.

  39. 39
    HalfAssedHomesteader says:

    If it helps at all, I found out the DNS server on my ATT router failed the lookup and refused to check with its upstream servers even after a reboot. Had to go around that to get to the site. The router DNS seems to have the address now.

  40. 40
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    *cough* You need to come back to Seattle! (cough)

    Seattle is one of my very favourite cities, and I haven’t spent nearly enough time there! Possibly sometime in 2020.

    (P.S. You should really do something about that cough.)

  41. 41
    Eawyn says:

    Still can’t see the site from my work computer. “This Page can’t be displayed”.

  42. 42
    suezboo says:

    Hearing you loud and clear in Africa. Windows10/Chrome. No problems.

  43. 43
    The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Just dropping in to second the sentiments about your jump being badass.

  44. 44
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion:

    Of all the terms I thought would never be applied to me, “badass” is right up there at the top of the list.

    I love being badass!!

  45. 45
    HalfAssedHomesteader says:

    @HalfAssedHomesteader: And Many Thanks for getting things fixed!

  46. 46
    Aleta says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Badass SiubhanDuinne … … yes, it rings true.

    Thank you for those wonderful pictures.

  47. 47
    Soprano2 says:

    I can finally access the site on my phone with Wi-Fi – as of last night I was only able to access it on my phone with my data plan. So, that’s cleared up for me at least.

    Computer changes suck. At my work the whole network crashed at the end of August, and no one could figure out how to fix it, so they had to rebuild it from scratch. They’re still ironing out issues because of that.

  48. 48

    @SiubhanDuinne: Being a mob enforcer is pretty badass, don’t you think?

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Being a mob enforcer is pretty badass, don’t you think?

    Well, yeah, but that’s only a part-time gig.


    Badass SiubhanDuinne … … yes, it rings true.

    Once all the site issues are cleared up, I might just change my nym!

  50. 50
    Mohagan says:

    @Rand Careaga: Me too!! I was completely unable to access via the home computer (Chrome browser) or on the Android phone (Samsung 7), and now you’re back. Many thanks to you Alain.

  51. 51
    J R in WV says:

    Well, I gotta confess, we stay up late and sleep late, having met working for an AM paper, working til midnight, going out for ‘Za at 1 or 2 am, seeing the night life at the Royal Spaghetti House under the pink and green neon.

    So I never missed a moment of B-J even on the worst moments of the outage. But still, thanks Alain, Major^4, for the work you’re doing and will do into the future.

    Badass SiubhanDuinne — Mob Enforcer~!!~

    There you go, girl!!! Jumper from airplanes, leader paratrooper of the shock battalion of the revolution!!!

    Howzabout dat?!

  52. 52
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: You can now wear the title for life. I can admire you for doing the jump and still not have any desire do to it myself.

    Another thing people do that I will never ever attempt: climb Everest. It kills a lot of people, even experienced climbers. Probably a considerably higher risk than your choice, skydiving.

    The only thing remotely comparable for me on my bucket list would be going to Antarctica. But it’s not like I’d go overland alone with dog sleds, I’d go on some sort of tour. So not at all comparable.

    So, yeah, you’re badass. Also, you can wear purple and unsuitable red hats. With “Badass” written on them.

  53. 53
    Ceci n est pas mon nym says:

    Where does Alain live? Curious if that “TREASON” or rather (TRE45ON) sign is in deep-red country.

    Penny just dropped. I was puzzling on why they used a 4 for the A, when I finally realized the S was a 5.

  54. 54
    karen marie says:

    Last night, for the first time, I experienced, on my Android tablet, the horror of the popup autoplay ads on this site. Never before has that happened. Made it impossible to stay and read anything – commenting was a nightmare as the autoplay ad box blocked half the comment box but because the keyboard was up, I could not slide the page to reach the X to close the ad box. When I finally was able to reach the effing ad box, it took me three times of getting shunted to the ad owner’s website before I was able to get the damned thing gone, and then within five seconds ANOTHER ONE popped up. I gave up at that point and went back to twitter.

    I assume the ad blocker I use on my laptop prevents that problem from occurring here, but I will no longer be able to visit here from my tablet as long as those damned popups are a thing.

    Can’t we please go to an ad-free model where I can donate via paypal or Patreon? Pretty please?

  55. 55
    stinger says:

    @Steeplejack: Followed — thanks!!

  56. 56
    stinger says:

    @The Moar You Know: Ohhh, nice, thank you!

  57. 57
    grrljock says:

    @The Moar You Know: Adding on to the Twitter-follow recommendation: @BlairBraverman, musher, author, all-around good person, for cute Alaskan Husky (i.e., sled dawgs) pictures and overall interesting feed.

  58. 58
    azlib says:

    @Alain the site fixer:

    @azlib: Thanks for the lesson, and that is not sarcastic! I’ll file that for future reference as a superior technique.

    NP. I have done DNS configuration and maintenance since the early 80s. Caching helps make the system work, but can be a pain with any major configuration change. Glad to lend any advise. Feel free to contact me if you need help with any future Issues. I love Balloon Juice. It is a fun site to read and I have learned quite a lot about issues I would have never delved to explore.

  59. 59
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Ceci n est pas mon nym: this was taken in Northwest Washington DC

    @karen marie: It’s in the works.

  60. 60
    jim says:

    Alain–I think most of us BJ readers know how things go in software-land. So a) we understand when things go awry. And b) We appreciate your notes letting us know what happened. Thanks for all that.

  61. 61
    J R in WV says:

    But then there are the other people (person, really!) here, to whom a calm and patient explanation for the issues is perceived as an attack on their mental state, for which the only answer is Total ATTACK!

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