Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2010.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

Cox suckers

Posted 21 January 2010 in cox and dns

Today, Cox Communications fouled up my internet connection and broke one of my listparser tests. I was surprised to find that one of my tests abruptly started failing today without a change to the code. Within minutes I discovered that Cox is resolving DNS queries in a way that breaks internet specs. See, when I request http://badurl.com.INVALID, now I get a webpage back with search results and ads.

I called up Cox and spoke with Doug. He began to tell me that I could opt out, and I informed him that I was aware that I could opt out; I was expressly calling to file a complaint so that Cox would know my displeasure. I told Doug that I understood the benefit to people who type gogle.com or goggle.com or google.con: they'll end up at google.com using this service, but I'm furious that .invalid, .test, and .example also redirect.

It was at this point that Doug argued with me, that many internet service providers were already doing the same thing. I argued back that up until now Cox hasn't poisoned DNS queries. Then Doug betrayed that he wasn't listening to me at all by arguing that people who type gogle.com or goggle.com or google.con...

I cut him off and told him that I had just said the same thing, that I understood the reasoning behind it, and that I wanted only to file a complaint so wouldn't he like to file that complaint for me or redirect me to someone who could?

Doug said he would make a note in the ticket and thanked me for choosing Cox.

Listen here, Cox, I appreciate the service you're providing (it's an absolute godsend for some people I know). I appreciate that I have the ability to opt out. However, I share an internet connection, and as I told Doug, I would like the reserved top-level domains (.invalid, .example, .localhost, and .test) to remain reserved so that I could leave the service enabled to the benefit of my parents while still being able to write my software to spec.


After attempting to opt out of the service and being unable to do so in Firefox for Linux and Internet Explorer 8 for Windows, I decided to look at Cox' operating system-specific opt out directions. Turns out it's just as easy as modifying your DNS server addresses:

New and busted Old hotness (no DNS poisoning or anything!)