Internet users trying to send email to America Online or get to the online giant's site have been plagued by problems due to a major glitch with the Internet's domain naming system.
Instead of being routed directly to AOL, users from the Net trying to send email to some of the company's 13 million members or trying to get to the company's portal were instead redirected to the servers of a company called Autonet.net, AOL spokeswoman Ann Brackbill has confirmed.
When Net surfers try to reach an address on the Net, they type in the name in their Web browsers or in an email message. In order to reach their destinations, the names are routed through the Net and sent to the domain name server. If the server is wrong, the surfer will not reach the proper destination and neither will his or her email.
The problem has now been fixed, Brackbill said, but it may take awhile for systems throughout the Net to catch up with the domain name server.
Systems administrators began noticing the problem mid-morning as traffic to AOL began bouncing. Most Internet access providers cache their domain name server records, so not everyone on the Internet would have instantly known there was a problem.