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Use CNAME for web browsing

Posted on 2004-11-05
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Last Modified: 2010-03-18
I am trying to use a CNAME on and internal DNS to point to an external FQDN.  Currently I have a internal CNAME setup as sp.example1.com that points to www.internet.com.  If I open a command prompt and ping sp.example1.com, it says it is pinging www.internet.com and pings the appropriate IP address.  So theoritically it is working.  However, in a web browser, if I try to go to sp.example1.com I get page cannont be displayed.

We are not using a proxy server and are NATing directly out the firewall.

Does a web browser treat CNAME's differently and what do I need to do to get it to work properly?

Any help is appreciated.
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Question by:saylestock
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Expert Comment

by:adamdrayer
ID: 12506223
Is www.internet.com a commercially hosted website like earthlink, or interland?

do this trick...  at a dos prompt, type "nslook www.internet.com" and get the first IP address.  Then type the IP address into the webbrowser like so... http://w.x.y.z/

If if doesn't work than the site is not accesible unless the browser specifically requests that FQDN.  it has to do with the way that the site hosts multiple websites on the same IP addess and uses the requesting FQDN to handle the delivery of the proper pages.
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Author Comment

by:saylestock
ID: 12506406
Thanks,

www.internet.com is provided by a web hosting service.  I did you suggestions and with the IP addrress it basically goes nowhere.  So it is obviously it must be based on name.

So in this circumstnace, am I basically screwed and there are no work arounds?
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by:adamdrayer
ID: 12506436
I am not aware of any. but don't close the question yet, i'll look around and see what i can find
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by:crissand
ID: 12506792
Do you use the browser on the server which is dns, or on other machine? If it's another machine, the dns is not configured corectly, because a cname is a name perfectly valid for dns. Also, verify the default gateway on the machine with the browser, seems that it's trying to find the ip address in the local network.

A better description of the network will help.
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Expert Comment

by:adamdrayer
ID: 12506877
I don't think he's able to connect to the website using the IP address.  Its probably not a name resolution error.  Especially since ICMP works.

Ive had hosting companies verify that you need to connect to them using the proper requesting domain name.

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Author Comment

by:saylestock
ID: 12506914
I get the same result on the DNS server or a desktop.  Note that I can ping using sp.example1.com and it resolved to www.internet.com and ping the correct IP address.  In the web browser...it goes nowhere.  Probabbly becasue the hosting site is using one IP address to host multiple sites.  www.internet.com is not in our DNS, so it is being resolved through the root hints on our DNS server.
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Expert Comment

by:crissand
ID: 12506959
Do a tracert sp.example1.com. Can you connect directly to www.internet.com?
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Author Comment

by:saylestock
ID: 12506982
yes, got there in 15 hops.
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by:crissand
ID: 12507081
In Internet explorer/Tools/Internet Options/Connections/Lan settings do you have any proxy configured?
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Author Comment

by:saylestock
ID: 12507126
No.  Original post noted no proxy.  NATing direcly out to the Internet.
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Expert Comment

by:crissand
ID: 12507181
I saw but I wanted to be sure. I understand you cannot connect nor by IP address. Let's try an experiment, create another cname for www.google.com and test it.
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Author Comment

by:saylestock
ID: 12507345
I have created a test CNAME to my own personal web site at my house and it works perfectly.
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Accepted Solution

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TheDefiant earned 500 total points
ID: 12513882
I believe this issue is to do with the configuration of the remote web server as well as the local browser.  It sounds to me like the remote web server is configured for name-based virtual hosts, which means it has one, single IP address and many different website names.  The web server serves the appropriate web site based on the name the browser sends on the Host line of the initial request to the server.  Since you are trying to browse to the name sp.example1.com, the browser is trying to ask the remote server for that name, which the server does not know of (it's not configured to use that name).

There is a simple solution.  The Host line is not part of an HTTP/1.0 request, and thus, the default website configured on the remote server should be served (assuming one is defined).  There is an option on the Advanced tab of Internet Options in Internet Explorer (find Internet Options on the Tools menu) to only send HTTP/1.0 requests, one for all requests, one for only through proxies.  You need to enable the all requests option.  That should solve the problem.  If not, then the remote server does not have a default site configured, and you will still get an error message from the server.  The other possible problem with this is that the default configured site is not the same as the www.internet.com site you are pointing the CNAME to.  If that is the case, you're pretty much S.O.L.
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