Close Open DNS Servers Published: Mar 16, 2006
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According to users of the Webhosting Talk (webhostingtalk.com) message board, San Diego-based Web hosting provider Aplus.net may be using the Web sites of its customers, without their knowledge, to promote its own ranking within search engine algorithms.

Aplus.net Accused of Cloaking Links
According to users of the Webhosting Talk (webhostingtalk.com) message board, San Diego-based Web hosting provider Aplus.net may be using the Web sites of its customers, without their knowledge, to promote its own ranking within search engine algorithms.

Contributors to a Webhosting Talk thread claimed the company was "cloaking" customer sites to increase its own search engine rankings, displaying optimized pages to search engine spiders and unmodified pages to real users.

In a question posted to the Google Answers site last week, a Web site operator asked why their site's listing in Google search results included "Web Hosting | Dedicated Servers | Domain Names by Aplus.net," a phrase that did not appear on the site.

In a lengthy reply, another user suggested that Aplus.net might be inserting code, containing links to the Aplus.net home page, into users' sites. When visited by search engine crawlers, the links to Aplus.net can help significantly boost search engine rankings. The Google algorithm is known to value external links to a Web site as a strong indicator of overall popularity, and favors this factor in determining page rank.

Aplus.net did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Aplus.net's Google rankings would certainly seem to support the claims. According to Google, 17,300 pages link to Aplus.net, compared to 2,070 that link to Interland.com and 1,040 to cihost.com, the Web sites of comparably-sized Web hosting providers. A sample search of the term "web hosting" on Google turned up a thirteenth place ranking for Aplus.net. The term "hosting" registered a tenth place ranking, the last position on the all-important first page of Google's search results.

The linking codes - which appear in the source code of Google's cached copies of some Aplus.net-hosted sites, but not in the sites themselves - appear to have been added without the knowledge of site owners. There is no mention of Web page modification in Aplus.net's terms of service agreement.

Some Webhosting Talk users suggested that the alleged cloaking could cause Web hosting customers to have their sites blacklisted by search engines. Cloaking is typically penalized by search engine companies.

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Comments (20)

  • Gravatar - Jen
    Jen 19:58, March 20, 2006
    If you have multiple servers running off the same DNS, make sure that you put all those server IPs in the trusted area if they are resolving through that DNS:<br />
    <br />
    <pre>acl "trusted" {<br />
    mainIP;secondaryIP;firstserverip;secondserverip;127.0.0.1;<br />
    };</pre><br />
    <br />
    Otherwise, great tutorial.
  • Gravatar - zac
    zac 21:57, March 22, 2006
    actually all you need to do is tihs:<br />
    <br />
    options {<br />
    recursion no;<br />
    };<br />
    <br />
  • Gravatar - Rajesh
    Rajesh 09:42, March 23, 2006
    i did as per the instructions but the "Open DNS Servers" still show fail. please let me what else is to be done.
  • Gravatar - Andrew
    Andrew 20:11, March 23, 2006
    The above breaks Bind on a VPS
  • Gravatar - Rajesh
    Rajesh 10:10, March 29, 2006
    I did as mentioned above but still the "Open DNS Servers" show fail in the DNS stuff.
  • Gravatar - dew
    dew 11:40, April 12, 2006
    really
  • Gravatar - alan
    alan 12:46, April 18, 2006
    this worked as-is for me
  • Gravatar - valtea
    valtea 20:35, April 19, 2006
    My server have <br />
    <br />
    root@server [/etc]# cat named.conf<br />
    include "/etc/rndc.key";<br />
    <br />
    controls {<br />
    inet 127.0.0.1 allow { localhost; } keys { "rndckey"; };<br />
    };<br />
    So where do i Add <br />
    acl "trusted" {<br />
    mainIP;secondaryIP;127.0.0.1;<br />
    };<br />
    Will it be on the same line with the keys after "rndckey"; <here><br />
    or <br />
    "rndckey"; }; <Here><br />
    };
  • Gravatar - Ryan
    Ryan 02:22, May 4, 2006
    Did anyone come up with an answer for valtea or does anyone know? I have been researching until I am blue in the face.
  • Gravatar - Dan
    Dan 16:54, May 13, 2006
    Got the same problem as valtea!
  • Gravatar - Kyle
    Kyle 19:34, May 15, 2006
    Same problem as above!
  • Gravatar - Steve
    Steve 17:46, May 18, 2006
    Add it after the controls section. <br />
    <br />
    EG:<br />
    controls {<br />
    inet 127.0.0.1 allow { localhost; } keys { "rndckey"; };<br />
    };<br />
    <br />
    Add it here<br />
  • Gravatar - Nick
    Nick 08:35, June 27, 2006
    Thanks, this tutorial worked great!
  • Gravatar - Spock
    Spock 21:15, July 9, 2006
    Steve, I tried adding it after controls, but I receive this error:<br />
    <br />
    Stopping named: [ OK ]<br />
    Starting named: /etc/named.conf:17: missing ';' before '}'<br />
    /etc/named.conf:18: missing ';' before '}'<br />
    /etc/named.conf:19: missing ';' before '}'<br />
    <br />
    Jul 10 04:12:50.694 starting BIND 9.2.4 -g<br />
    Jul 10 04:12:50.717 using 1 CPU<br />
    Jul 10 04:12:50.722 loading configuration from '/etc/named.conf'<br />
    Jul 10 04:12:50.723 /etc/named.conf:1: open: /etc/rndc.key: permission denied<br />
    Jul 10 04:12:50.723 loading configuration: permission denied<br />
    Jul 10 04:12:50.723 exiting (due to fatal error)<br />
    Error in configuration file /etc/named.conf : [FAILED]<br />
    <br />
    ===================<br />
    Here are the first lines of my named.conf:<br />
    <br />
    include "/etc/rndc.key";<br />
    <br />
    controls {<br />
    inet 127.0.0.1 allow { localhost; } keys { "rndckey"; };<br />
    };<br />
    <br />
    acl "trusted" {<br />
    ip1;ip2;ip3;ip4;ip5;127.0.0.1;<br />
    };<br />
    <br />
    //<br />
    // named.conf for Red Hat caching-nameserver<br />
    //<br />
    <br />
    options {<br />
    directory "/var/named";<br />
    allow-recursion { trusted };<br />
    allow-notify { trusted };<br />
    allow-transfer { trusted };<br />
    dump-file "/var/named/data/cache_dump.db";<br />
    statistics-file "/var/named/data/named_stats.txt";<br />
    /*<br />
    * If there is a firewall between you and nameservers you want<br />
    * to talk to, you might need to uncomment the query-source<br />
    * directive below. Previous versions of BIND always asked<br />
    * questions using port 53, but BIND 8.1 uses an unprivileged<br />
    * port by default.<br />
    */<br />
    // query-source address * port 53;<br />
    version "surely ye jest?";<br />
    };<br />
    ===================<br />
    Suggestions?
  • Gravatar - Spock
    Spock 21:27, July 9, 2006
    Solved it! I just missed the ";" after the words trusted inside allow-recursion { trusted; }; etc.
  • Gravatar - Andrew
    Andrew 04:40, July 20, 2006
    How long does it takes dnsreport.com to update this info after you make changes?
  • Gravatar - Hussein
    Hussein 05:50, October 15, 2006
    Like Zac above noted.<br />
    All you need to do is add a like in the options sections that looks like this:<br />
    <br />
    recursion no;<br />
    <br />
    This should close your server.<br />
    <br />
    If you need to harden and secure Bind even more, you can have a look at this site:<br />
    <br />
    http://www.cymru.com/Documents/secure-bind-template.html<br />
    <br />
    You need to be carful, and back up your named.conf file before testing, but this is a complete secured Bind template.<br />
    <br />
    Cheers
  • Gravatar - Ricardo
    Ricardo 05:44, April 4, 2007
    I did all this things but the problem i have is that then my clients stop receiving emails and they are not able to send either i have added all the ips of the server plus 127.0.0.1...any ideas?
  • Gravatar - G
    G 03:59, June 1, 2007
    thanks worked a treat
  • Gravatar - ahmed
    ahmed 07:55, February 25, 2010
    close open dns

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