DNS Workarounds

"DNS" is the SatNav of the web, telling your browser where to find particular sites. When DNS goes wrong, it can prevent you from logging in to your iBex account.

 

All computers on the Internet are found using a numerical "IP Address", it's not very user friendly and is typically four blocks of up to 3 numbers, like 202.174.119.107.

When you type a domain name into your browser, or click a link in google, your Internet Service Provider ( ISP) translates that friendly name (eg www.seekom.com) into the numerical address using a protocol called the Domain Name Service (DNS).

Occasionally, your ISP's DNS can lose records for specific domains, or simply not work at all. If this happens it's completely out of our control but unfortunately you might not be able to connect to your iBex account, however there are some things you can do to minimise your risk.

Get a back up plan!

We have a number of recommendations that can ensure you don't lose access to your account in the event of a DNS outage at your ISP, and these are listed below in order of simplicity. Some of the suggestions require you to have more than just basic computer knowledge and administrative privileges on your PC.

 

1. Get a second connection!

If you have a second phone or fax line, you could use this for an additional broadband connection with a different supplier as a contingency. There are some really cheap broadband deals around, and whilst they might not be great for your main connection, as a back up £10-£15 / month could give you some peace of mind. Alterntively, why not get a pay as you go 3G dongle, which you can pay a small amount to top up each month.

http://www.uswitch.com/broadband/compare/pay_as_you_go_mobile_broadband

For example, a "3" dongle has the following advertising text:

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Your Mobile Broadband device or SIM comes with enough data to connect to the internet right away.

When you've nearly used up your data allowance, we'll send a text to your dongle or MiFi to let you know. If you've got a tablet, you can use your My3 account to keep track of your remaining data.

Once you've used up all your data, we'll redirect you to your My3 account to buy another top-up.

Top-up with a card or voucher.

There are two ways you can top-up your Mobile Broadband. You can either:

  • buy a top-up voucher from a store and go to your My3 account to choose how much data you want
  • or you can register a debit or credit card in your My3 account and top-up online.

Most of our top-ups last for 30 days after you've activated them. If you only use Mobile Broadband now and again, you can buy Pay Per Day Mobile Broadband. This costs £2.99 per top-up, giving you a 500MB data allowance which lasts until midnight the day after you buy it.

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We're not suggesting you use 3 specifically over any other provider, but there are plenty of deals out there like this that can give you an alternative to your main connection.

(The great advantage here of course is that if it's not just your ISP's DNS but their entire connectivity that has gone up the spout, then you are more likely be able to connect with a different supplier.)

2. Change your DNS servers in windows.

For those more technically minded, you can switch to a different DNS server from your ISP's default. It would be advisable to do this as a temporary measure, when experiencing difficulties, as your own ISP's servers are likely to be faster when working correctly. Google have public DNS servers, and instructions are available here but it might be worth your while testing this in advance of an emergency,  just in case....:

http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/docs/using.html

The thing to highlight here is:

"Important: Before you start

Before you change your DNS settings to use Google Public DNS, be sure to write down the current server addresses or settings on a piece of paper. It is very important that you keep these numbers for backup purposes, in case you need to revert to them at any time."

Also, if your primary DNS server is showing as blank, you should be able to find the IP address on your ISP's support website by searching "DNS server IP address".

Google DNS servers have the IP addresses 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4

 

For Windows XP users.

  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, click Network and Internet Connections, and then click Network Connections.
  2. Right-click the network connection that you want to configure (if using a wired connection, select 'connected' for a wireless connection, select 'wireless') and then click Properties.
  3. On the General tab (for a local area connection), or the Networking tab (for all other connections), click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), and then click Properties.
  4. If you want to manually configure DNS server addresses, click Use the following DNS server addresses, and then type the preferred DNS server and alternate DNS server IP addresses in the Preferred DNS server and Alternate DNS server boxes (ie 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4)

 

For Windows Vista Users

  1. Open Network Connections by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Network and Internet, clicking Network and Sharing Center, and then clicking Manage network connections.

  2. Right-click the connection that you want to change, and then click Properties. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  3. Click the Networking tab. Under This connection uses the following items, click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) , and then click Properties.

  4. To specify DNS server address settings, click Use the following DNS server addresses, and then, in the Preferred DNS server and Alternate DNS server boxes, type the addresses of the primary and secondary DNS servers (ie 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4)

For Windows 7 Users

  1. Open Network Connections by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type adapter, and then, under Network and Sharing Center, click View network connections.

  2. Right-click the connection that you want to change, and then click Properties. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  3. Click the Networking tab. Under This connection uses the following items, click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and then click Properties.

    Picture of the Network Connection Properties dialog boxThe Network Connection Properties dialog box
  4. To specify DNS server address settings, click Use the following DNS server addresses, and then, in the Preferred DNS server and Alternate DNS server boxes, type the addresses of the primary and secondary DNS servers (ie 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4)
    Picture of the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)Properties dialog box

 

Having changed your windows DNS Servers:

You might need to restart your computer, but once you do, your PC will retrieve DNS information from Google's public servers, rather than your currently 'not working' ISP's DNS servers.

 Note, if you already have values in here, rather than "Obtain DNS ... automatically" it might be an idea to set only the alternate server as 8.8.8.8 and leave this as a permanent setting. This means that if your ISP's main server can't resolve the friendly "www.seekom.com" name to an IP address, then your computer will ask google's server where to find it.

 

3. If all else fails - windows or mac.

One final trick is to edit your "hosts" file, and add a line that will enable you to manually tell your computer where to find Seekom's server

From your Windows Start Menu, go to (All Programs) Accessories and then right click on Notepad. Click "run as administrator" and enter the admin password for your computer (for windows Vista / 7) and then copy and paste the following lines in your windows hosts file which can be found in: C:\windows\system32\drivers\etc

202.174.119.107 ibex.seekom.com

202.174.119.107 www.seekom.com

202.174.119.107 s1.seekom.com

Save, and then close all browser windows before re-opening and you should now be able to log in to your account from our usual login form.

 

 

Mac users with OSX 10.2+  can also do this, by editing their  /private/etc/hosts file with the same details as above.

As far as I'm aware, users of iOS (iPhone / iPad) can't edit their hosts file.

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