QUINCY — Internet outages were reported by Comcast customers across Massachusetts and elsewhere as the communications giant’s DNS servers appeared to have crashed Sunday night.

The problem was corrected by Monday, but many people still had problems or needed to power cycle their modems.

To prevent the problem from happening again, change your network adapter’s DNS settings to a public DNS server, like Google’s 8.8.8.8 server. Instructions can be found here.

While service was not technically “down,” countless thousands of customers did not have Internet access, as changing your DNS server settings is not a common computer task among home users.

The internet service was “down” on the North Shore and South with other reports as far as New Haven and Western Connecticut. Reports then came in from Washington, Baltimore, New York State and across Northern New England.

Television service was not affected.

In Quincy, where Blast is headquartered, DNS service was down, but high-definition TV is working. Changing to the Google DNS service solved the problem.

This article was initially written via an iPhone with AT&T 3G service.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

35 Responses

      • Wade

        Thanks Nick. The DNS solution worked in Derry, NH (Comcast Digital)

    • Dettymac

      Virginia Business class out too
      DNS servers I use:
      68.87.73.242
      68.87.71.226
      Have been down most the night
      Can ping them with slow latency, 200 MS

      Reply
  1. JD

    Comcast is down the entire Northeast, MA, CT, NJ, VA. DNS server issue. Changing to a public DNS will bypass the problem.

    Reply
  2. Casey

    It’s down in Dover, NH too. I reset the modems a few times. Even tried to call tech support and you can’t even get through. Their lines are so clogged its busy or it just doesn’t route. I’ll be sure to call and get a credit. So much for farmville tonight… HaHa on my iPhone too now.

    Reply
  3. dt

    So comcast’s “network health” page still (hours after outage started) says “no known issues”. If there was ANY high speed alternative to comcast here (northern virginia) I would take it. BTW, calling them either gets a busy signal, or you get disconnected after jumping thru their automated hoops

    Reply
  4. Tracy

    I never experienced an interruption as I had my DNS not configured to use their horrible DNS to begin with. I recommend if you switch to Google DNS to keep it set to Google DNS

    Reply
    • Casey

      probably 90% of computer users have no clue what DNS is… so ya I changed mine and I can now harvest my wheat, milk my cows, and check on my Mafia…

      Reply
  5. phira

    I consider myself pretty tech savvy for a non-techie. So when I didn’t get any results from restarting my computer, modem, or router, I figured there was something going on with my service. I hadn’t been very aware of DNS before, and fortunately, I have a Droid, so as soon as I saw DNS mentioned on my Twitter/FB feed, I looked it up and figured out how to change it on my computer. What bothers me is that besides the info I got on social networking, I’ve barely found ANY info about this Comcast issue.

    Reply
    • Matt

      You and I are clones. Same routine, same thought process. Comcast should be ashamed twitter educated Comcast’s customers on how to go around their problem.

      Reply
  6. ddog

    Ya i tried pinging their dns servers

    PING 68.87.71.230 (68.87.71.230) 56(84) bytes of data.
    64 bytes from 68.87.71.230: icmp_seq=1 ttl=48 time=243 ms
    64 bytes from 68.87.71.230: icmp_seq=2 ttl=48 time=246 ms
    64 bytes from 68.87.71.230: icmp_seq=6 ttl=48 time=238 ms
    64 bytes from 68.87.71.230: icmp_seq=7 ttl=48 time=247 ms
    64 bytes from 68.87.71.230: icmp_seq=8 ttl=48 time=253 ms
    ^C
    — 68.87.71.230 ping statistics —
    8 packets transmitted, 5 received, 37% packet loss, time 7299ms
    rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 238.367/246.040/253.315/4.924 ms
    [[email protected] ~]$ ping 68.87.73.246
    PING 68.87.73.246 (68.87.73.246) 56(84) bytes of data.
    64 bytes from 68.87.73.246: icmp_seq=2 ttl=47 time=381 ms
    64 bytes from 68.87.73.246: icmp_seq=4 ttl=47 time=388 ms
    64 bytes from 68.87.73.246: icmp_seq=5 ttl=47 time=389 ms
    ^C
    — 68.87.73.246 ping statistics —
    6 packets transmitted, 3 received, 50% packet loss, time 5699ms
    rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 381.156/386.311/389.702/3.739 ms

    ## slow to respond and getting packet losses.

    DNS server for users can be changed in your router configuration. Most of the above comments are saying that users can bypass this outage by using someone elses DNS server like google’s This way instead of comcast providing your router what server to speak with for a specific domain name, you can use google’s or someone else’s.

    Reply
  7. Zz

    My service went down by 8PM (Boston area), but using my cel (sprint) I managed to find this page and update my DNS settings. Worked like a charm. Using google DNS now. THANKS A LOT GUYS.:D

    Reply
  8. DK

    Washington, DC and Northern VA are also affected. And it IS affecting the TV too. My guests and I watched the TV freeze crash before our eyes, we couldn’t get reception back again through the cable box.

    Reply
  9. Steve

    Just another reason why Google is going to take over the world. (In a good way of course)
    Thank you, google DNS servers.

    Reply
  10. Teanna

    I am cancelling with Comcast! My computer was down several hours, calling did no good. Anyone recommend a better server than comcast? I live in Cambridge, MA

    Reply
  11. sox fan

    I spent an hour on the phone with a COMCAST rep – I didn’t realize their DNS was down – there customer service is hopeless.

    Reply
  12. Chris

    Maryland, and mine is STILL down, gonna go home and try that dns thing, hope it works

    Reply
  13. DavkinNH

    Here in Raymond, NH found that some services ran ok, just no DNS… Gave me an appreciation for what DNS does..! Finally seemed operational Thursday. Router had DNS IP 77.77.77.77/77.77.77.78…seemed almost ominous….

    Reply
  14. DavkinNH

    Here in Raymond, NH found that some services ran ok, just no DNS… Gave me an appreciation for what DNS does..! Finally seemed operational Thursday. Router had DNS IP 77.77.77.77/77.77.77.78…seemed almost ominous….think I got a pic of the screen before I changed it,..But now that people have done that, doesen’t that give Google a bigger slice…Think I’m gonna read up on SkyNet…. tempered with some Maaax Headroom.

    Reply

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