It happens more often than you’d think.

Last week saw my incredulous frustration at yet ANOTHER case where a client’s web developer, who was moving our client to a new website, took down their email during the process, leaving them without email for 5 hours – too long for most any business these days.

In the developer’s defense, he didn’t do it intentionally; however, this occurred because he made changes on the DNS (essentially the telephone directory on the internet) without understanding the ramifications of the changes he made.

Here’s what happened (in plain English):

While doing his work to move the client from the current website to the new website, he ended up resetting the DNS records to point to the new website and as well, had the records for email delivery pointed to the new website. This should NOT have been done and as a result this caused my client’s mail flow to stop.

We became aware of the mail stoppage from our monitoring system that alerted us that there was an issue with mail flow.

We quickly investigated the root cause for the stoppage and learned that the mail identifiers that are used to route email from one domain to another were changed by the web developer. This was done in error while he was trying to bring our client’s new website live.

This is not an uncommon turn of events when web developers bring new sites live or are moving sites from one hosting facility to another.

While they’re great at doing the development and producing great websites, they don’t always understand the implications of making DNS changes.

How You Can Prevent This from Happening to You

Make sure that your web developer does not have login privileges to the location where the DNS entries for your domain are managed

If your web developer asks for this information, don’t provide it. The only exception would be if these credentials are the same ones that the developer needs for managing the website files. Some web hosting companies have one username and password to manage files and DNS.

Don’t Provide Access to DNS Records, Period.

If your web developer asks for the credentials for DNS, don’t provide those. Instead, have the developer send a written request to TAG’s Help Desk, clearly stating the changes that are needed to affect the move or launch of the website.

Having TAG involved will ensure that there is not a mail flow disruption because we are trained on how to make DNS changes properly, and validate the changes once they are completed.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact us!