Diana the Valkyrie

How to fix a DNS problem

What is DNS?

My main server is called "Jayne". Jayne has an address, which is but that's a difficult address to remember or type, so I have an easy-to-remember address which is www.thevalkyrie.com

When you tell your browser www.thevalkyrie.com, your browser has to look that up to find out the real address, which is and the thing that does that is called DNS (Domain Name Services).

Here's how it works. Your browser knows the address of a computer that can do the translation; that would usually be a computer at your ISP. That's your "DNS Server". So, it asks that computer to do the DNS translation.

How to check and correct your DNS server

On a Windows machine, do Start ... settings ... control panel. Double click on Network. Highlight TCP/IP and click on "properties". Then click on "DNS Configuration". You should see an address under "DNS server search order". You shoul hopefully see more than one address; if one DNS server is down, your computer will use the alternates. You can add as many alternatives as you like to that list

So, what address should be there? That depends on your ISP. Most ISP's have a web site, and you can find out what your DNS should be from there. For example, here's

  • Mindspring
  • Centurytel

    When I looked at the Mindspring page, it gave the DNS address as, and it also gave a secondary and a third one. But you should check your own ISP, and find out what they want you to use.

    I run a DNS server, too, and you can use that if you like. It's at

    When you have the right DNS number, you can type it in to the box, click on "Add", and then "OK". Windows will probably want you to reboot before it's all activated.

    How to do your own DNS

    But why do you need a DNS server? If you know that Jayne is why can't you just tell your computer that?

    Well, you can. There's a file on your computer, in the c:\windows folder, called hosts. That hosts file is used by your computer to look up computer names before, it checks DNS, and if it finds the name there, then it doesn't look any further.

    It's easy to add to that file, because it's just a text file. You can edit it with notepad or wordpad (those are the best) or any word processor (but then you must be sure to save the file as a plain text ascii file, or it won't be understood).

    If the file hosts doesn't exist, then you can create it.

    Load it into wordpad (the file must be plain text, not a Word Document), and at the bottom, add:		www.thevalkyrie.com vtv01.thevalkyrie.com          vicky.thevalkyrie.com  secure.thevalkyrie.com		hattie.thevalkyrie.com ftp.thevalkyrie.com		freya.thevalkyrie.com chat.thevalkyrie.com		vnews.thevalkyrie.com		news4.thevalkyrie.com		volds.thevalkyrie.com		hilda.thevalkyrie.com hilda

    The only downside of this, is that with the normal DNS, if I change the address of a computer, the DNS servers all know about the change. But your hosts file won't. Although I don't change the address of the computers a lot, I do change them sometimes. For example, if I'm doing some maintenance on one of the servers, I use DNS to switch the load to a different server, then take the one I'm working on offline. If you're using the IP addresses above, you'll see an interruption in service that other folks won't experience.

    So, if you do use this method, please treat it as a temporary work-around, and go back to using ordinary DNS as soon as you can, by deleting these lines from your hosts file.