Those of us at Sunlight Labs spent the past few minutes panicking as House of Representatives member sites stopped responding to requests from our office. A brief round of recriminations followed (“Please don’t tell me you forgot to throttle your scraper”). But as www.house.gov winked out, and then requests from our EC2 machines stopped coming back, it started looking more likely that the House is down, and that its minutes-long death throes represented its DNS data timing out and disappearing from caches around the web.
So far this looks like a DNS outage, and one that affects the House MX records. That means that it isn’t just websites that are down: emails will be bouncing, too. That’s bad news.
The .gov root servers still show correct nameservers for the house:
But those nameservers currently respond to DNS requests with empty replies. As a result, external systems don’t have any information about how to contact House servers. Here’s the output from Google’s DNS:
We’re sure the folks in the Sargeant at Arms’ office are plenty busy right now, so we’ll refrain from calling them. But we’re happy to lend a hand if they need it!
More updates here as we have them.
UPDATE: Phew! Looks like they’re back up.