Yet another contact Facebook-messaged me tonight to tell me that his email to me bounced. Sadly, I had to repeat the story of how emails from New Zealand now regularly bounce, that with at least one party we’ve had to resort to using the fax, and that, if he had a Hotmail or a Gmail, could he use that instead to reach me?
It’s a ridiculous state of affairs and I can’t believe I’m even saying it. But here’s a good example that I encountered myself tonight using Telstra Clear:
As you can see, neither Cloudﬂare nor Lucire will load—in fact, Telstra Clear’s DNS server plain refuses to resolve either.
Even Duck Duck Go has its share of problems, though eventually I got through.
No wonder certain people can’t reach us. The sad thing is, it’s been going on all year, and Telstra Clear admits there’s a problem with a subcontractor somewhere down the line, with no ETA on resolution.
It’s not doing my reputation much good when there are people asking me if I’ve shut down a business.
Thanks to Jeremy Bank tonight, I switched to Open DNS, at least to get some work done “on the cloud” (and people wonder why I am a cloud-sceptic: if you lived here, you would know why). Things worked for a wee while, before conking out again.
Both Cloudﬂare and Lucire worked for a while before something similar happened—and according to my end (on Plesk and at Rackspace) there are no problems. However, I was seeing blank pages with no data.
In all cases, after switching to a proxy server, either Codeen or a transparent one, things were ﬁne again.
I’m going to have to place the responsibility squarely on Telstra Clear because it really looks like HTTP is being blocked to some websites. And when you go away from its DNSs and use someone else’s, you’re OK for a while before it blocks that, too. The only way to ensure HTTP service is to use proxies, which, of course, are slow—and usually such techniques are the province of netizens inside China circumventing government censors. Surely no such thing happens here—but then, with our politicians, about as schooled on the internet as Jabba the Hut is on personal hygiene, you never know.
The more likely explanation is Jeremy’s, from four months ago when I ﬁrst blogged about this issue: ‘If you’re primarily with Telstra Clear, then I know why. It’s to do with their transparent proxies and caching. Stale content within their system is what often causes fail loads and the like. It’s bad.’
And it needs to be ﬁxed, unless Telstra Clear wants certain sites to be inaccessible as it leads up to its much-publicized unmetered weekend. Or is this its intention? Block enough sites, save on bandwidth costs.
After all, this blog and certain other sites we run—far less popular ones than either Cloudﬂare or Lucire—ran without issue tonight. Their IP addresses actually resolved.
A similar problem with resolving Lucire and Cloudﬂare happened last week, conﬁrmed by Twitter friends also on Telstra Clear, but, by the time the tech called back, things were working again. (But at least they call back, right?)
I didn’t blog about this issue then because I thought it was a one-off. But, frankly, it looks related to an error we’ve been getting through Telstra Clear for several years where some document types were not served; and it’s deﬁnitely related to the year-long bug that prevents many New Zealanders sending email to us.
Pay an exorbitant amount, and party like it’s 2001.
PS.: After one tech support report and reply, on November 30, 1.08 p.m. NZDT, I was ﬁnally able to put a traceroute through to lucire.com via Telstra Clear without using a proxy. That’s a lot of hours wasted.—JY
P.PS.: I may be able to let TelstraClear off the hook. Cloudﬂare Tweeted the following when I asked them, though I’m disappointed it has taken nearly a day for the reply. (Admittedly I had been Tweeting a Cloudﬂare status account, Cloudflaresys, instead of its regular account, Cloudﬂare.) ‘There was an issue that affected some parts of AU. Likely same issue that affected you. We have re-routed.’ I am informing TelstraClear now. Looks like we’re back to the original two issues of emails not arriving, and the broken custhelp.com website.—JY