Don’t use generic domain names

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Ever since I started on my newest client’s project over a year ago, I’ve had problems with their VPN. When connected, I could no longer authenticate to remote Sharepoint or SQL servers on my local network (rending my VMs useless), name resolution would be fine for awhile and then stop resolving (making it a race to sync up source code with their server before I could no longer see it), group policies failed to update… anything that could go wrong seemed to on a very regular basis.

When visiting the client’s site last year, I found that I could not log into my laptop with my domain’s credentials while plugged into their network. It became a game of turn off the wireless, log in to my laptop, turn wireless back on. We eventually figured out that my domain name (the nice and generic DEV/dev.local) was conflicting with their DEV domain. While plugged into their network, my laptop would suddenly send login requests to their DEV domain controllers. The same thing happened when connected through VPN, causing SQL and Sharepoint to believe a hijack attempt was underway.

Over a year later, I finally got around to renaming the domain to a less generic BLUEYDEV/blueydev.local and suddenly everything works. I can finally work connected to VPN and source control rather than trying to sync everything up as quick as possible when connecting.

The moral of the story: When setting up your domain, never give them generic names that others might use, like DEV or TEST. This is especially important for laptops that you may be connecting to customers’ networks.

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