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Please forgive me if this is a duplicate, or better on network engineering SE.

I have an account on BlueHost, and it provides me configuring multiple dedicated IP addresses and multiple SSL certificates.

Every so often, the system goes down, and I hear about it from clients. I say so often, because at one point I was finding it going down daily. Now, I don't check everyday, nor do I have a health checkup setup to check minute-by-minute the health of the deployed web sites/apps.

But at the time of me posting this, the server I'm using is down... it looks like.

However, I use another host name that is bluehost-controlled, and I can get in and observe working behaviour of the site. I can determine there is an operating web server with Wordpress, etc etc, so I know the database connection is working too.

But using a browser to load my dedicated IP addresses, I get nothing.

Does this suggest any small specific set of faults I can possibly investigate in the future if it happens again? One idea I have is the IP address goes through a load balancer or uses a slightly different routing path to the bluehost-controlled host name, passing through a failing router. Honestly, I'm not in my comfort zone here.

Thanks for your time.


From what I understand, all my sites are hosted on one physical machine although I can't be certain. They're all accessible through another host name using an account subname:

Meanwhile the dedicated IP address for mysiteaccountname always works. I may (probably?) have done a test in the past, using a newly working dedicated IP before installing an SSL certificate, to see what would happen, but I don't remember the results of that.

share|improve this question
Minor clarification: you say "another host name" and also "load my dedicated ip address". So your working test-case is via name (dns) but your own downed server is via IP? – horatio Apr 17 '14 at 18:26
Yes, as you explicitly put it, is correct. However, and to reiterate (just for happy emphasis) the host name is a bluehost host name, going through DNS and whatever (possible alternative) routing it has. – Tom Pace Apr 17 '14 at 18:33
Do you know if each of the host names points to the same machine? Seeing as how you have multiple IP addresses, the hosted sites may or may not be on the same physical machine. When these outages happen, have you done any network tests to determine if the issue is with DNS? Do the sites respond to ping at all during an outage? Do traceroutes from you to bluehost suddenly stop at some point? I would do a traceroute when everything is working as expected, and then when the system goes down do another trace route and compare results.. – Richie086 Apr 17 '14 at 18:37
@Richie086 Hey hey, good thought! In fact yes, I did that in the last year, getting working & non-working traceroutes for comparison as you describe. Further, I've taken those results, plus looking up the physical postal address of the data centers that come up from searching the owners of the IPs and host names on each step of the traceroute, and delivering an informed report and inquiry to Bluehost technicians, but usually without an informed response except "it's not working yet" and later "it's working now". Bah! I'm still trying to figure it all out. – Tom Pace Apr 17 '14 at 18:43
You need to split the problem in half by determining whether, during a problem, those IPs do reach the machine or don't reach the machine. – David Schwartz Apr 17 '14 at 19:26

Sounds like you have a static IP assign but not actually a dedicated IP.

In cases where the web server needs to answer for multiple sites on the same IP address and port they will use host name binding, where the right site is chosen based on the requested host name.

Hitting a server setup like this by IP will usually either lead to the default site on the server, or just do nothing (for security reasons).

share|improve this answer
Thanks for your response. I understand that setup as you describe, and it's how I used to experience the behaviour on Bluehost, until I upgraded my service to enable any number of dedicated IPs rather than one and only one. Sometimes, on rare days when I think the DNS is out of order, I have tested by IP address on those sites I've personally configured for dedicated IP, and it has in some cases worked thus. – Tom Pace Apr 17 '14 at 18:37

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