What a Global Internet Outage Tells About the Cloud and Your Business

Scissors cutting internet cable with planet earth on white background - Concept of global internet outage

The week of June 14th, 2021 saw many applications and websites suffer from an internet outage. This, consequently, created considerable problems for many organizations that used these services. Businesses suffered from continuity issues, but perhaps the biggest takeaway is just how vulnerable the Internet really is to these kinds of issues. What happened, exactly?

A Small Firm’s Challenges Created Significant Ripples Online

Fastly is a firm that provides a content delivery network for several influential websites. This service basically supports a network of duplicate servers across 26 countries around the world, allowing websites to store data and content on them. If a user is closer to the location where the data is being stored, it can be accessed faster. This is the whole point of using Fastly–to ensure that users don’t have to wait too long for their news. On June 10th, however, several of these websites and applications went down. These websites and applications were ranked as some of the most popular on the web.

The internet outage was resolved quickly, but not quickly enough. It still created considerable issues for businesses and cost millions of dollars. These damages were caused by a 75 percent decrease in traffic for a full hour, which is pretty shocking, to say the least. Due to the nature of these services, the affected websites were unable to switch to alternative services, as doing so would have required a fair amount of preparation and would be quite a complicated process. We can glean some valuable insights from this scenario, particularly in how the Internet is structured and the concerns that lie therein.

The Concerns Underlying the Modern Internet

A content delivery network might help to provide content delivery systems with more content, but there are issues that come from using a CDN. These types of services are quite popular online, but since they rely on a central server to supply the information, anything that would render that server unable to work would make that content inaccessible. It’s just like any other cybersecurity issue that might affect a centralized server. CDNs might offer greater speeds compared to the traditional infrastructure that would otherwise be used to distribute content, but the advantages are not without their drawbacks.

It also does not help that the software specifications that make the Internet what it is today can disrupt billions of devices should they become vulnerable. Since most issues encountered by the Internet are smaller in scope, tools like machine learning are being used to troubleshoot and identify the root causes of these internet outages.

That said, not all organizations utilize a CDN, and many use cloud computing services for this particular need. With all this in mind, many businesses are not immune to the challenges of another internet outage, particularly from major cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Google. These create challenges for businesses that rely on these services.

We don’t want this fear to be an argument against cloud services. Instead, use it as an opportunity to understand the risks and concerns involved with its use. 4Corner IT can help you determine what your specific needs are and how your IT can address them. To find out more about how your business can use the cloud and other technology to augment its processes, reach out to us at (954) 474-2204.

How to Clear or Flush the DNS Cache in Windows

how to clear or flush the dns cache in windows

Sometimes slow internet connection hinders our productivity or whatever we’re browsing online for. This could be due to many reasons, and one common reason involves your DNS cache.

What is a DNS Cache?

A Domain Name Server (DNS) cache acts like a temporary directory where it stores domain names for the computers to access and read.

A simple analogy to better understand a DNS cache is to compare it to your mobile phone or any gadget’s phonebook directory. Of course, when storing a friend’s number on your phonebook, you don’t just save the number and leave it like that.

That would be really hard to memorize especially that a number contains at least seven digits. So what we usually do is type in a corresponding name to that number and save it. So when we’re browsing for our friend’s number, we only have to search for his name.

Also browsing for numbers only would be extremely hard to do compared to just typing the letters that spell out the names.

The DNS cache works the same way with phonebooks except it does the opposite.

So instead of storing names, the server transforms them into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. In other words, numbers. That’s because machines can’t read words, they use a binary language and communicate in numbers.

How Does a DNS Cache Work?

When you browse for a new website, the DNS Cache saves the domain name in its database. In layman’s terms, it’s like your “search history.”

Then when you try to search for the same website again, the browser communicates with the external server to load the website you’re looking for. However, your local server will work on name resolutions and try to find the domain name in its database.

Once the cache finds the name, it then loads the page.

Having too many domain names in the database could take a while to read and access. That’s why it’s necessary to clear or flush the DNS cache every once in a while or when there are random slowdowns.

Flushing the DNS cache will also get rid of the invalid records and even contaminated domains.

Simple Steps to Clear or Flush the DNS Cache

  • When clearing the DNS Cache in Windows, you must first go to the Start Menu. Then type in “CMD” in the search box.
  • Hit enter, and you can find the CMD file.
  • Right-click the CMD file and then click “Run as administrator.”
  • Hit “Yes” when a prompt box appears.
  • After clicking “Yes,” you should see a command window editor. From there, type in ipconfig /flushdns.
  • Hit enter.
  • After you’ve hit enter, there should be a notification below that says “Successfully flushed the DNS resolver cache.”

You can try browsing your favorite website. Or others would also do one last step, which is to go to the internet settings. Then disconnect and reconnect to the internet.

After that, you should be able to return to your regular browsing speed.

And that’s basically it!

You’ve just cleared your DNS cache, and now it will repopulate all new domain names that you’re going to type in your browsers moving forward.

Flushing the DNS cache isn’t only necessary to fix random internet slowdowns, it can also be imperative when you’ve recently changed the DNS server on your computer.

When you do this, sometimes the settings aren’t properly fixed. Hence, flushing or clearing your DNS cache can help.

Final Thoughts

These simple and easy steps to clear your DNS cache aren’t the panacea for your internet browsing slowdowns. In some cases, your ISP provider could also be the culprit.

But clearing the DNS cache will undoubtedly help if not permanently – then temporarily. For more tutorial videos on all things tech, there arefree online resourcesthat provide clear and concise step-by-step processes.

Author Bio:

Kerry Brooks is a passionate blogger and frequent traveler who loves share tips on photography, technology, and travel. She is currently working with AGR Technology, which aims to provide new information and provide some free software utilities to help computer users get things done quickly and in a simple way.