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DNS problems at login - a possible solution


Monty Linden
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Since at least 2007, the viewer has shown intermittent DNS failures during login.  Typically, this DNS problem appears as a login failure with the following alert:

DNSerror.png

This occurs on all platforms and for multiple reasons, not all of which are completely understood.  But they center on a DNS resolver library that issues DNS requests directly from the viewer.  To solve these problems, we're trying a scheme that uses threads and the normal operating system resolver library.  We now have a Project Viewer that implements this scheme and we're inviting those who've experienced these problems to give it a try and maybe do a comparison test.

Release Notes and links to the Project Viewer installers can be found here:  http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Release_Notes/Second_Life_Project_HTTP/3.6.13.284698.  A reminder about Project Viewers:  these are 'early access' releases that may be less stable than Release Candidate or Beta Viewers.  If you can't bear the risk, please consider waiting for a later release.

Comparison Test

If you had this problem and changed your computer's DNS configuration to use Google DNS (https://developers.google.com/speed/public-dns/docs/using) or other DNS service to work around the problem, you may be a candidate to perform a comparison test.  The test involves restoring your DNS configuration to a pre-workaround condition and then running your current viewer and then the Project Viewer.

In detail:

  • Before installing a Project Viewer, revert your DNS configuration.
    • Restore your DNS settings to their original values.  In most cases, this will mean switching back to the values provided automatically by DHCP.  Visiting the Google page may jog your memory.
  • Confirm that your current viewer again has the DNS problem.
    • Login using your current viewer and see if you get the DNS error above.
    • If it just works, that's good for you, bad for us:  we won't be able to see an improvement.  You might leave the DNS settings in their natural form (using DHCP) or go back to Google DNS.  Whichever works best for you.  You might test the Project Viewer anyway to verify there are no regressions.  (I'm happy to have good/good comparison reports.)
    • If it fails to login due to the DNS problem, you've confirmed the original situation still applies and we can move on to the next test.
  • Test the new viewer; confirm correct behavior.
    • Install and login using the Project Viewer.
    • Login and scene loading should work as expected without DNS errors.
    • Teleport a few times and verify that scene loading continues without DNS problems.
  • Report test results, good or bad.
    • Tell us what you found in a reply to this topic.  If the Project Viewer gives you DNS failures, describe the circumstances leading up to the failure and the failure itself if you can.


And if you experience other problems not related to DNS, please report them in Jira (https://jira.secondlife.com/).

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The problem with most recommended DNS fixes is they recommend changing your service 100% from the ISP provided DNS to another service like Google’s DNS servers. I believe that is a poor choice and for some will be problem prone.

ISP’s do some odd things with their DNS services. Abandoning their DNS service may remove features one needs to work with their ISP. On the other hand it can also get rid of annoying things some ISP's think are handy. In Troubleshoot Your #SL Connection I point out how to blend DNS services to get the best of both. I have four DNS servers listed in my router: Google #1, COX #1, Google #2, COX #2. 

In Communist, Socialist, dictatorships, kingdoms, and religious hegemonies the DNS servers and port blocking are going to be non-standard. Some businesses now control their wi-fi connections for guests to use special DNS services to provide advertising and doctored search results. Once the Lab moves to provide more phone-connected service we will run into that. The Lab is never going to be able to deal with all that crazyness.

I recommend all the SL DNS related information include the information on how to retain access to your ISP's DNS and get the advantages of third party DNS services too.

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