A problem with the database that keeps track of all Internet addresses slowed network traffic for several hours Thursday morning, effectively blinking some Web sites out of existence.
The problem appeared to be resolved by midafternoon.
During the trouble, computers couldn’t always find some addresses ending in “.net” and “.com,” sometimes e-mail didn’t go through and attempts to look up some Web sites came up empty.
A user seeking an address ending in .com, for example, would have received an error message that read “Could not resolve DNS,” said Aggie Nteta, a spokeswoman for Network Solutions Inc., which runs the main registry of Internet addresses, called InterNIC, under an arrangement with the U.S. government.
Every morning at 2:45 a.m. EDT, the files listing all Internet addresses for North America are updated and sent out through the network. Thursday morning two of those files somehow became corrupted, setting off error alarms.
However, the system administrator on duty chose to release the files anyway, creating a situation in which many Web sites effectively blinked out of existence, at least in the eyes of browsers.
“The big effect was that our site became invisible,” said Chris Caldwell, chief engineer at NDA, a Web site design company in Woburn, Mass.
The files were corrected and re-released about four hours later.
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