What caused our web addresses to go to the wrong site?

Someday I hope to be able to write good thread titles. Today is not that day. Anyway, one day last week all of the sudden my company’s corporate site and our intranet web addresses weren’t working. Entering either web address would take you to a weird site that used our company name, but wasn’t our site(s). The corporate website and the intranet are managed by different companies, but both sites “pointed” to the same wrong website. Both have our domain name in the address.

I thought that perhaps the (totally worthless) guy who set up our email and our domain had let our domain name expire and it was snapped up by somebody else. I told my boss to try to get ahold of our guy (who never responded AFAIK), bossman sends an email or two, and suddenly our sites come back up.

I never did find out what the hell happened. Was my guess correct?

If the domain had expired and been bought by someone else it probably would have taken more time and effort to recover it.

More likely there was a DNS configuration error.

Hunch: try visiting allkhewfnckauhsenkfjcg.com or a similar junk address. Does the page it shows look like the weird site you saw?

I wonder if it was like a placeholder site that one of our website managers had created? It had our name in the header (title?) and what looked like links to pages on the faux site that could make sense based on our company name alone. Would a DNS error cause any site with our domain name in it to point to this same, wrong, site?

You have a shitty ISP which hijacks invalid DNS requests to serve ad-laden pages that present keyword searches based on the URL you typed. When your domain registration lapsed, you ended up at one of these pages instead of what you expected.

You can fix this by telling your ISP to stop being such chowderheads, or by using an alternative DNS server, like Google’s free DNS service.

I have heard of sleazy web admins redirecting company urls to parking pages overnight or on weekends to make extra cash. (Parking pages are sort of fake websites where the owner gets paid if someone clicks on links.) I would try revisiting your site at 3am or on the weekend and see if it looks weird again. If it does, take screenshots, show your boss, and fire your web guys.

I also suggest comparing the IP address of your site when it is normal to when it looks strange. If the IP address is different (especially if it is owned by a parking site like parked.com), that is another indication that the site has been redirected.

If you don’t know how to check the IP address, you can use this site: http://network-tools.com/. Just type in the domain name, for example mysite.com, and hit GO.

No, I don’t think that was it since the intranet site and the corporate site are administered by two different companies.

Noted. Thanks.

But you also said this:

Could you please explain the difference between the URLs for the corporate and intranet site. If the corporate site is www .mycompany.com and the intranet site is intra.mycompany.com, then a single domain redirection could explain what you saw.

Yep, that’s how they’re set up. I assumed that an administrator could only redirect the website he administers, not affect all websites with that domain name.

mycompany.com is a single domain name. The www or intra are initially sent to the same IP address but can be redirected to different sites based on the URL.

Friedo’s theory is another possibility but dummy pages generated by an ISP usually say something like “mycompany.com was not found but here is some helpful information [commercials] you might like.” You should try going to something like gdfzvgdfgytrtyrty.com at work and see what kind of page you get. If it looks nothing like what you saw that day, then it is unlikely it was a page generated by an ISP. I have a feeling ISPs don’t normally do that for corporate customers.

No, it wasn’t a website like you describe. It was a “real-looking” website with our company name as the title/header, a pic of a gal, and links down the left-hand side that literally did not match what we do, but *could *match what we do based on our company name.

It does sound like a sleazy web admin redirected your site to a parking page. This could damage your placement in Google search results and lose potential customers.

Hmmm. Well, we actually DO have a sleazy web admin (you are saying it’s one of ours, right? Not just some not-otherwise-specified slimeball, right?).

Coincidentally, I am often up at 3:00AM… I shall make it a point to check the sites cuz hell I’m up anyway.

Only someone with the password at the domain registrar could redirect it. So yes, it would be the web admin or someone else at the company.

Rather than manually checking my site around the clock, I use http://www.serviceuptime.com/ which checks my site every 5 minutes for $5/month. It notifies me if the site is not up or the expected content is not there. For example, it could notify you that the words “widgets and sprockets” are missing from the company homepage. However, it could not check your intranet site since it runs externally. There are many similar services but I have had a good experience with that one.

Hmmmm… that is interesting.

Can you clarify something? What do you mean by could not check your intranet site since it runs externally? I don’t understand how the two sites are different in that regard.

Thanks for your help, BTW, and to everyone.

That particular product that I linked to runs outside of your company (externally) and can only see what the average internet user can see. It cannot see your intranet. In other words, if you posted a link on the SDMB to your public site, we could all see it. If you posted a link to the intranet site, it would not work for us on the SDMB.

I am sure you could setup your own web monitoring tool within the company that could see the intranet site but that would be a small project.

In this case, the redirection affected both sites, so an external monitoring tool should catch it.

Got it. “It” is the monitoring tool, not our intranet.