So I have a client I’m developing a website for. The client has been great to work with, and we’ve made good progress on the new site. But there was a problem: The client kept complaining that he couldn’t reach his site — he was getting “not found” error messages. He told me that he could, at one point, get to the site without the “www” — which was particularly strange because one of the first things I do on a new site is implement a 301 permanent redirect from the non-www to the www version of the URL.
I checked the DNS settings on the server. I did traceroutes from my computer. I went to websites in other parts of the country and did traceroutes. I pinged. I double-checked and triple-checked the nameservers. Everything was exactly right, and I was tearing my hair out trying to figure out why the client couldn’t reach his own site.
Finally, it struck me: The client was searching for the site, using the search box on Yahoo and Comcast.
Once I told him that his site not indexed yet (because it’s brand new), and that he needed to enter the URL directly into the browser’s address bar — voila! Problem solved.
This is one to file away to deal with future “can’t reach my site” issues.
Note to website designers and developers: If you ever have clients who can’t reach their site, check to see if they’re searching for it.