Last night, we rolled out a significant update to the DNSstuff site infrastructure. These changes are mostly behind the scenes, but represent something that has been under development for quite some time. Before reporting any issues with the site, be sure to read on about what's new, any issues we're already aware of, and what we're working on next.

 

NOTE: This post was last updated to reflect current issues on September 28, 2012 at 5:00 PM Central Time.

 

Professional Toolset Version 2.0

The biggest change you'll notice is in Professional Toolset. We've completely revamped the backend of Professional Toolset to be a shiny, new platform that provides us the opportunity for future tool and feature development. (More on that in a bit...)

 

All of the results pages have been reformatted to make what was mostly pretty cumbersome to wade through into output that you can use to quickly identify key results and values from the different tools and tests. Our development and user interface teams tried to find ways to highlight important information and organize results to make more clear, format key-value pairs more clearly, and other key changes to each page's results.

DNSstuff-newwhois.pngDNSstuff-newdnsreport.png

New Professional Toolset Tools

With the migration came the addition of some new tools, including one new free tool.

 

  • URI Block List Lookup - looks up blacklist entries based on a URI
  • Vector trace - performs traceroutes from three different locations (currently 3 locations in different parts of the US) to aid in routing and site availability troubleshooting, including a map from all 3 locations
  • Social Media (FREE) – shows social media (facebook, twitter) references to a domain
  • ADR Domain Inspector - displays the A and NS records for each DNS server in your domain
  • WWW cohost - locates multiple domains/sites hosted on the same host
  • Additional Mail Testing Tools:
    • SPF
    • SMTP Banner
    • SMTP Greeting
    • Null Sender
    • Postmaster
    • Abuse
    • Address Literal
    • Open Relay
    • POP Banner
    • POP Authorization
    • POP Status
    • IMAP Banner
    • IMAP Authorization
    • IMAP Status

 

Site Infrastructure Updates

DNSstuff has been migrated to a different site infrastructure/hosting environment, which affords for better redundancy, management, and monitoring functionality than before. Several tools also rely on these multiple points of redundancy to offer better and more accurate results. Some tools, like Mail Server Test Center, RBL Alerts, and Domain Doctor have not yet been migrated to the new infrastructure, but in coming months will be.

 

DNS Alerts migration to Domain Doctor

Customers of the old DNS Alerts service should have received both an e-mail and a popup notification recently letting them know that with this migration, we had to phase out support for the old service. Customers of DNS Alerts have long been entitled to Domain Doctor subscriptions, we've just made it official. Based on our records, some people may have still been using the DNS Alerts tool up to the last week, if you didn't get a chance to migrate your alerts and need help, let us know and we'll work with you to sort it out.

 

Issues, both expected and not

As with all new websites or versions of software, we're aware there are going to be some growing pains with the site. If you've got a feature that you used that was removed, a feature that you'd like to see added, let us know here. If you are having issues with any tool, including results that differ from the previous version or what you'd expect, please be sure to report them to technical support. If you have any account issues (accessing the site, purchasing new tools), please report those to support as well.

 

Here's what we're currently aware of that falls into the features and changes department:

 

DNS Report Misc Test Failures and Issues

There are still a few outstanding situations where DNS report may be returning unexpected results. We've resolved a lot of them, but what you might still see out there includes: sometimes MX tests pull in MX records for parent domain; sometimes DNSSEC records don't appear even though they exist on the domain; in very few cases MX records do not appear even though they exist; SPF records are shown for every DNS server in your domain but do not show which server the displayed SPF record came from.

 

Updated: DNS Report New Results Format is (was) Hard to Read

Several people have commented that they prefer the old format of DNS Report. You asked, we listened. We put up an even better version of DNS Report that incorporated a ton of your feedback about what you do and why you need it. Check it out and if you've got more comments, be sure to post here: DNS Report Feedback & Thoughts! There's still work to be done in the detail of results, so we're still listening.

Updated: Sometimes an Error is Returned when Running Tools

Thanks to customer input, we've dug into the "Sorry,..." messages presented sometimes on results pages. We've determined sometimes these errors are somewhat legitimate (i.e. an A record doesn't exist for a domain, so we can't display results), but the information you get back is clearly not helpful. We're going to fix this so that you get appropriate feedback when something goes wrong, and only see the other message when something unexpected happens. If you aren't sure which case your error message falls into, please continue to report it to our support team. You'll see "Sorry, but these probably aren't the results you're looking for" or "We're sorry, but we're unable to execute your request." Provide the "Test ID" value either in your Thwack post or your support case, that will help us track down where the issue is coming from. We're going to be adding better error reporting in an upcoming site update to help differentiate these cases.

 

DNS Lookup/Timing/Traversal Tools Aren't Querying SRV Records

We discovered an issue with SRV records that requires some development effort on our end to resolve. We're working on a resolution. As a workaround, if you use the "dig" or "raw" results formats instead of "pretty" in DNS lookup you should see expected results.

 

RBL Alerts Give Slightly Different Results from the Spam Database Lookup Tool

We've added some additional RBL sources to the Professional Toolset's Spam Database Lookup Tool that hasn't yet propagated back to RBLalerts. We're adding these into RBL alerts as well to make the results a little more fully-functional and consistent.

 

What's Next?

Here's some of the stuff we're working on (other than the issues above) in the coming weeks and months. Disclaimer: this is not a commitment to release these features on any specific timeframe, this is just intended as a guide to our general priorities.

New Toolset UI!

We're super excited about this one. We're going to revamp the old and busted DNSstuff Professional Toolset page with some New Hotness that's much easier to navigate. Down the road, this will let us add functionality like favorites (so you can "pin" your most used tools) and multi-tools (tools that run a series of tools, so you don't have to run multiple individual tools to perform a series of troubleshooting steps).

 

MSTC Fully Integrated with Toolset

You probably noticed that a lot of our new Professional Toolset tools are mail-oriented. Our goal is to combine the functionality of Mail Server Test Center with Professional Toolset so that you have a one-stop shop for all testing. We'll break out the mail-specific tools into their own area so they are easy to find and use.

 

New Site Look & Feel

We couldn't revamp Professional Toolset without looking at the rest of the site, so that's what we're going to do. We want to build a site that you want to visit, so we're going to look at the things that interest you and how best to present them.

 

Improvements to RBL Alerts and Domain Doctor

We'll be migrating RBL Alerts and Domain Doctor over to the new site infrastructure. This should improve the stability and management of these platforms, similar to what we did with Professional Toolset.

 

What Do YOU Want to See from DNSstuff?

We've spent some time talking to customers, gathering feedback via surveys, and generally thinking about what's interesting and good for DNSstuff, but if you've got something we missed on the new site, an issue that you've been itching to see addressed, or thoughts on what tools, content, or other features you'd like to see, send them my way!