checked the nameservers - I don't think they are the problem since it resolves correctly from the cli. It's only when I try to fetch some remote content with php that I get the timeouts. (wget works)
I did a couple of other changes in /etc/hosts since my last post since I think I didn't have my interfaces configured correctly and the /etc/hosts confirms now to manual but it didn't help. I set up the server on a private network and then changed the IP addresses - could this have led to problems?
To my knowledge all you need to fetch remote content is fopen - according to phpinfo() this shouldn't be the problem. Only other thing I did different from the manual is I installed xcache.
allow_url_fopen On On
allow_url_include Off Off