Network Solutions

I’d like to tell you a little story about my other favorite registrar. Network Solutions. Or, as we like to call them, Network Problems.

I have a customer. Let’s call him Bob. He has a domain name. Let’s call it This domain name was part of the Verisign hosted services program. (For those of you joining late, Verisign and Network Problems are the same company.) This means that the dns, email, and web site are all hosted at Verisign. And it means that if they wanted to add an email address, they pay an additional $n a month. I don’t know what that number is. It doesn’t matter.

So, Bob wanted to move his email hosting to our mail server, so that he could have 20 email accounts rather than 1. Easy, right? You just change the MX record. 5 minutes, tops.

Or, not.

I got on the Verisign management interface, and there’s no place to manage MX records. You can add and remove email accounts, but you can’t point the record elsewhere. I called Verisign Websites and tried to find out what needed to be done to fix this. They said that nothing could be changed on the domain. It is hosted by them, and, technically, they own the domain. If you don’t want it hosted with them, then go get another domain. Nyeah, nyeah. I replied that this was a really amazingly dumb policy, and that I would be transferring my domain to another registrar immediately.

Clearly, in retrospect, I should have done just that.

The manager that I got on the phone after a few minutes of hold time said that I should cancel the hosted account, which would automatically transfer the domain over to a regular NetSol registrar account, and I could manage the DNS servers there.

So, I still can’t change the MX record, and now I have to host not only the email server, but the DNS server, and the web site. All in the name of adding a few email accounts. Fine, I say, and agree to this.

A mere 5 days later, I’m able to manage the domain on the NetProb web site. I can log in (oops, they changed the username. Didn’t we mention that?) and edit the DNS records on the domain.

And, for a glorious 2 days, everything worked.

Then Bob called. We can’t see our web site. And we’re not getting mail.

I checked everything. Everything was working.

I checked the whois record. It lists no DNS servers. Not the wrong ones. Just none at all. And, of course, since Verisign/Network Solutions are flaming morons, requests for the web site go to the Verisign sitefinder “service”. (To quote someone on Slashdot, can I punch you in the face, and call that a service too?)

I went back to the web site, and added the DNS servers back on, and was promised speedy results in 48-72 hours. But, 3 days later, there were still no DNS servers listed. Repeat that process twice, and I’m starting to get rather steamed, and Bob is running out of patience.

I called NetProb, and they made the edit for me while I was on the phone. Except that it didn’t work.

I called them again this morning, and the customer service dude tried to make the edit, and told me that it wasn’t working, and that he’d escalate this to the engineering staff to find out why it was not working.

So, here we are, 2 MONTHS later, and the 5 minute task of changing an MX record has turned into a multi-thousand-dollar process (in time and frustration) that threatens to lose us a customer.

I think I’ll be transferring this domain elsewhere in the very near future.