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What causes ‘Named Failed’ errors in your server and how to fix it

What causes ‘Named Failed’ errors in your server and how to fix it

Failed to start service : Failed to start BIND : Starting named: [FAILED]

This is a commonly seen errors in web servers, when your DNS service fails to start. As DNS is vital for your websites to resolve, ‘named failed’ obviously means your websites have gone down too.

In cPanel servers, you may see at times, these intermittent notifications from the chkservd service about named service failures:

 “named failed @ Sun Jan 29 07:07:17 2017. A restart was attempted automagicly.” 

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Here, we’ll discuss what causes this ‘named failed’ errors in servers and how to fix them.

What causes ‘named failed’ errors in your server?

DNS failures can occur due to many reasons, the major causes we’ve seen are:

  1. Missing configuration file – You need to have a named.conf in your /etc/ directory. The named service cannot start without a conf file. This configuration file is usually generated and configured during initial server setup, but can get deleted due to human errors or hard disk corruptions.
  2. Named.conf getting corrupted – Over time and as domains get added to the server, the named.conf entries can also grow. It can happen that interruptions or loss of connectivity or manual update errors can cause the named.conf file to get corrupted and lead to service failures.
  3. Missing log files – The DNS service logs its updates in the main log file of server ‘/var/log/messages’. Absence or deletion or permission issues of this file can cause named errors.
  4. Directory issues – The directory where the DNS records are usually stored is the ‘/var/named’, but if the directory get deleted or corrupted or gets its permissions changed accidentally, it can cause DNS service to fail. Configuring the chroot directory incorrectly in the named.conf file can also make it unable for DNS to start.
  5. Corruptions in DB records – Each website has a DNS record associated with it, in the server. If these DB records are included in the configuration file, but they have any error in the format or content, it can cause the service to give errors.
  6. Another process listening to the DNS port 53 can cause it unable for named to bind to that port, causing a service start error.
  7. Corrupt named binary or OS related issues – Though this is very rare, it can happen that the named installation itself got corrupted and that caused the service error.

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How we resolve ‘named failed’ errors in the servers

We follow a systematic approach to resolve the service failures in servers, as our priority is to minimize the service downtime.

With our years of expertise handling different sorts of service related issues, we are easily able to identify and resolve an issue from the error messages during restart and the logs.

For DNS, the log entries are usually available in the ‘/var/log/messages’ file. We pinpoint the problem from these files and take steps to resolve the issues notified.

Permission errors to configuration file and DB record errors, we examine everything that can go wrong with the named service, until the service is restarted fine.

Some of the fixes include rebuilding the named.conf file, correcting the format of DB records, modifying the file and folder permissions, or even reinstalling the named binary in the server.

In cases where another process other than named gets bound to the port 53, it usually denotes some malicious scripts trying to access the UDP ports.

We monitor the services regularly on a 24/7 basis, to detect and resolve all service related errors before it affects the customers and they come up with complaints.

You don’t have to lose your sleep to keep your customers happy. Our friendly Hosting Support Specialists are online 24/7/365 to help your customers. ]

Anything from a simple formatting error to a hard disk corruption, can lead to service failures. That’s why a systematic and efficient debugging process is crucial to avoid a server downtime.

If you would like to know how to avoid downtime for your customers due to service failures, we would be happy to talk to you.



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Bobcares is a server management company that helps businesses deliver uninterrupted and secure online services. Our engineers manage close to 51,500 servers that include virtualized servers, cloud infrastructure, physical server clusters, and more.