Dns fix – Fix «The DNS server isn’t responding» in Windows 10 / 8 / 7

Fix «The DNS server isn’t responding» in Windows 10 / 8 / 7

The DNS server isn’t responding error is one of the most common DNS errors which you will experience while connecting to the internet in Windows operating systems.

The DNS server not responding error is extremely common and even if the internet connection settings are properly configured on your Windows computer there is a high possibility that you will still get this DNS server error The DNS server isn’t responding.

Fix “The DNS server isn’t responding” error in Windows 7/8/10

Today in this how-to-fix tutorial, we are going to tell everything about the DNS server error (what is a DNS Server and what does DNS server not responding mean?) and how to fix “The DNS server isn’t responding” error in Windows 10, 8, 7 operating system. Let’s see now.

You may also be interested in checking out:

What is a DNS Server?

DNS or Domain Name server is a technology which helps in the management of the public as well as domain names of all the websites. One can think of DNS as a phonebook where the phone numbers of a person are written right next to their name.

With the help of DNS, you just have to enter the URL address and your computer will detect the address automatically with the help of domain name server. You can also follow this DNS server guide to know in details about what is DNS server? Why you should change DNS Server address? How to change DNS server on Windows, Mac, and Android with the best public DNS servers? etc.

What Does DNS server not responding Mean?

Before we tell you how to fix DNS server not responding issue on your computer, let’s find out what does The DNS server isn’t responding mean.

The main reason that you are getting this error on your computer is because of the incorrect hosts file on your computer. If the host names inside the hosts file of your computer are having an outdated listing it will lead to DNS server not responding error and you won’t be able to connect with the internet.

Simply, you have to make changes to the hosts file manually as this will help you in configuring The DNS server isn’t responding problem. You can open the hosts file using notepad and then search for the website to which you are not able to connect. Delete that website and save your hosts file and you should open that website easily without any error.

How to Fix “The DNS server isn’t responding” in Windows 10 / 8 / 7

Now that you know what does DNS server not responding mean and also know the reason behind this DNS server error, let’s follow the methods which will help you in solving “The DNS server isn’t responding” in Windows 10, 8, and 7 computers. Here we go:

Method 1: Fix the DNS server isn’t responding Problem

Before you start following this method we suggest you to take backup of the router settings and the firmware. This will help you in case anything goes wrong and you can restore back to the settings.

Step (1): You have to change DNS server manually. For changing the DNS server, open Control panel on your computer and then select Network and Internet. Once you have opened Network and Internet settings, you have to choose Network Sharing Center. Here you have to select Change Adapter settings.

Step (2): You will find all the adapters which are installed on your computer. Now you have to select the adapter which you are using on your computer. Right click on the adapter and then select Properties.

Step (3): You will see many options here. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) from here and then click on Properties option.

Step (4): Change the DNS server by selecting “Use the following DNs server addresses” option.

Step (5): Enter the below-mentioned DNS addresses in their respective fields:

Preferred DNS Address – 67.222.222
Alternate DNS Address – 67.220.220

Or, you can also use Google’s DNS address:

Preferred DNS server: 8.8.8.8
Alternate DNS server 8.8.4.4

Step (6): Once you have entered the details, select Validate settings upon exit. Select OK and then click on exit button.

Once you have changed the settings in the adapter, now you need to make changes in the router configuration as well as it will help you to fix the DNS server isn’t responding problem.

Step (1): Download and install OpenDNS on your computer. You can download it from this link.

Step (2): Open command prompt on your computer and then enter IPCONFIG/ALL

Step (3): Find the LAN or Local Area Adapter here. Now write down the Physical address which you see in the command prompt.

Step (4): Now, open Start menu and then enter CPL.

Step (5): Select the Network Adapter and right click on it. Now select Properties from the menu displayed.

Step (6): Select Configure and then open Advance tab and open Network address.

Step (7): From here you have to choose redial button Value. Here you have to enter the physical address which you have written down before from the command window.

For the example: If the Physical address of your network adapter is 78-DD-08-F1-DF-B0 then you have to remove the dashes and type it as 78DD08F1DFB0).

Step (8): Finally, select OK button and then choose Reboot the system.

Once you have done all the above-mentioned things, search for the drivers of the network adapter from the manufacturer’s website. This should fix the DNS server is not responding error. If your connection is blocked then you can disable the Network Firewall settings.

Method 2: Reset DNS settings to Fix DNS server not responding

You can also reset the DNS settings as it will help to fix DNS server isn’t responding issue very quickly. Here’s how to reset DNS settings in Windows system:

Step (1): First of all, open Run window on your computer by pressing Windows + R key. Enter cmd in the dialog box to open the command prompt window.

Step (2): Now to reset the DNS settings, you have to execute the commands which we have mentioned below:

ipconfig /flushdns > Hit Enter
ipconfig /registerdns > Hit Enter
ipconfig /release > Hit Enter
ipconfig /renew > Hit Enter
netsh winsock reset > Hit Enter

Once you have executed all these commands successfully, reboot your system and DNS server isn’t responding error should be resolved.

Method 3: Restart the Router

The above two methods should solve the DNS server is not responding error, however if you failed to fix the issue you can disconnect the Wi-Fi router and reboot it. Rebooting the router has helped a lot of people and it is really a quick fix. Make sure that you have switched off the router for at least 2 minutes before you turn it back on.

The 2-minute time interval will make sure that all the memory is erased along with the remaining charge. Provide the power supply to your router after 2 minutes and this should fix “The DNS server isn’t responding” in Windows 10 / 8 / 7 computer.

You might also like to know: How to Set Bandwidth Limit on TP-Link Router

Method 4: Enter Safe Mode

If you are still experiencing the problem then you can enter the safe mode of your computer as it has proven as DNS server not responding fix. You might have installed a third party software which disabled the internet connection on your computer.

To enter Safe mode on your computer, simply power it off and hold the F8 key when it is booting. Once booted, try to connect with the internet. Learn: How to Open Windows 10 in Safe Mode [Quick ways]

Method 5: Disable All the Extra Internet Connections

If you are using a lot of Internet connections on your computer then also you can experience this error. Windows also install a lot of connections by default when you connect to a new network.

To uninstall all the extra connections which you are not using on your computer, you have to open Control Panel and then go to Network and Sharing. Select Change adapter settings option and then select the connection which you are not using. Right click on the extra connection and then choose Disable option.

You might also like to see: How to Disable Internet Connection Sharing in Windows

Method 6: Troubleshoot Using a Software

If the above explained all methods failed for you then you can take help of a software to troubleshoot the DNS server is not responding problem.

Smart Dns Server Not Responding Fixer is a tool which specializes in fixing the Windows registry errors and all the DNS server issues. You can easily install the software called Smart Dns Server Not Responding Fixer Pro on your computer and start the Scan. Once the scan is completed, it will display all the problems which were identified in the scan and which need to be fixed.

In order to fix the DNS server not responding issue, you can click on the Fix button which will resolve all the DNS errors which you are having on your computer.

You can perfectly use this software in Windows 10, 8, 8.1 and 7 operating system. To see what was scanned and what were the issues you can check the logs of the software.

Conclusion

So, these are the top 6 most helpful methods which make to our guide of how to fix DNS server not responding issue. We hope that the DNS error which you were facing on your computer is resolved after following this guide “how to fix The DNS server isn’t responding in Windows 10 / 8 / 7” and now you are able to connect to the internet.

This is not a really big issue but a very common one and the solution to this issue is also quite simple as you have already seen above. However, if you are not able to fix DNS server is not responding error with simple solutions then you have to opt the advanced methods.

Feel free to let us know using the comments section below – which method worked best for you as the DNS server not responding fix?

www.zerodollartips.com

How to Fix »DNS Server is Not Responding» Error in Windows 7 & 10

While trying to browse the internet you may have encountered the error that says, DNS Server is Not Responding. It may also show up with the websites name along with the message ‘Server DNS Address Could Not be Found.’ Though it is not a very common problem but it occurs once in a while when the DNS server that translates a domain name doesn’t respond for any reason. But you can fix this problem easily by following the methods given below.

Before trying anything complex, let’s do some basic tasks to narrow down the problem. First of all, try to load the website in a different browser to see if it’s a browser related problem. You can clear the browser cache, cookies and then give it a shot as well.

You can also try to connect a second device like a tablet or someone else’s laptop either wirelessly or wired to your network. Now try to browse that particular website and check if you still get the DNS Server Not Responding or DNS Server Unavailable error. If yes then follow the methods mentioned below to fix the problem.

Method 1 – Change The DNS Server Addresses

The DNS server address is usually obtained automatically, but you can set it to something more reliable.  As the DNS server your PC obtained automatically is not responding, you can change it to one of the most reliable DNS servers out there. OpenDNS and Google DNS are considered to be the best and they are totally free. In our case we will use Google’s DNS server address. Let’s start off.

Windows 10 Users can simply type in ncpa.cpl into the Windows search box and press Enter. You can also Press on the Windows key from your keyboard and start typing which will take you to the search box.

Windows 7 users click on the Windows Key type in Run in the search bot and then type ncpa.cpl in the Run box and press Enter.

Now you will see the network connections and right click on the connection that you are using and click on Properties.

A new window will pop up, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and then click Properties again.

In that window select the radio button that says Use the following DNS server Addresses. Then in the Preferred DNS Server field type in 8.8.8.8 and in the Alternate DNS Server field type in 8.8.4.4 then check Validate Settings Upon Exit box and click OK. Now restart your PC.

This will change the DNS servers on only the computer. If you are using internet on a mobile using a router then you can check out this post on how to change DNS servers on routers.

The DNS servers used above are Google DNS server addresses but you can also pick any other free DNS server from this list if you don’t want to use Google’s DNS server. Now try to connect to your internet and browse the websites that you were getting error to see if the problem is solved. If it didn’t, then try out method 2 which is flushing DNS.

Method 2 – Disable Unused Networks

Usually windows installs extra connections even if you never use them. But it’s best to have only the one connection that you use regularly and remove the other connections so that they can’t cause any kind of connection issue.

If there are any other connections that you are not currently using, then you need to disable them. To do that Press the Windows Key from your keyword and type in ncpa.cpl in the search box just like we did in method 1. Windows 10 users have a round search icon right next to the Windows icon in the taskbar.

You can also find the network connections by navigating to Start > Control Panel > Network and InternetNetwork and Sharing Center > Change Adapter Settings.

Now you will see all the connections that you are either using or not. Disable the connections that you are not using by right clicking on them and then clicking Disable.

In the picture above I’ve right clicked on the network that I’m using because the other ones are already disabled.

Method 3 – Flush The DNS of Your Computer

Windows and other operating systems usually store the DNS data in the cache This cache also store data of the visited websites and clearing the cache may solve the problem. To do that, click the Start button and type in cmd in the search box and press Enter from keyboard.

Command prompt will appear, then type in ipconfig /flushdns and hit Enter. This will remove all the DNS cache entry which just might resolve the problem. If not then also type in the following command and press Enter after each of them.

ipconfig /registerdns

ipconfig /release

ipconfig /renew

netsh winsock reset

Once done, restart your computer and check if the problem still exists.

Method 4 – Change Physical Address

At this point we will change the physical address of the computer. Go to Windows Start menu and type in cmd in the search box and hit Enter. In command prompt type in ipconfig /all and press Enter. Now find the physical address from there and write it down somewhere.

Now to go Start menu again and type in npca.cpl in the search box and hit Enter. This will show you the network connections. Now right click on the active connection that you are using and select Properties.

Now click on Configure and then select Advanced tab.

After that click on Network address and select the radio button that says Values. Now type in the network address that you have written down previously. Make sure write them without the dashes like this 408D5C44A795 and then click Ok and restart the computer.

Method 5 – Power Cycle Your Router and Computer

If you are using a router then unplug the router from the power source and as well as the computer. Leave them unplugged for at least 1 minute. This will clear the memory and release residual charge. Then plug them in again, turn them on and wait for them to fully start and connect. Now see if the problem is solved or not.

If you are using wireless network, you can also use an Ethernet cable to connect your PC directly to your router and check if you still get the error message. Now, if the problems is still there then move on to method 4 to try some other fixes.

Method 6 – Some Other Methods

If the three methods above doesn’t work for you then try some other methods listed below.

1. Uninstall Antivirus

Some people reported that after uninstalling their Antivirus program (mostly McAfee) the problem was gone. You may try some other good free Antivirus such as Avast or AVG.

2. Disable Your Firewall

Some people reported that after disabling their firewalls they problem was gone. This could be the solution for you too. Disable your firewall and check for the error.

3. Try Connecting in Safe Mode 

Booting your computer in safe mood and trying to connect will help you determine if any third party software is causing the issue as the safe mode will only load the needed files for windows. To do this reboot your computer and hold down the F8 key. Then select Safe mood with networking from the list of options. Then test the connection and if you can connect, then probably any of the third party program is causing the issue like a firewall or antivirus software.

The methods listed above are known to solve the DNS server not responding error that you get in your computer. If you still couldn’t solve the problem then comment below by mentioning which methods you tried and which you didn’t and I will try my best to help you out.

www.incrediblelab.com

5 Common Causes and Fixes

Browsers use the Domain Name System (DNS) to bridge the gap between internet IP addresses (numbers) and website domain names (words).

When a web name is entered, it is sent first to a DNS server where the domain name is matched to the associated IP address so that the request can be forwarded to the correct computer.

This is a huge problem for privacy since all standard internet traffic must pass through a DNS server where both the sender and destination are logged.

That DNS server usually belongs to the user’s ISP, and is under the jurisdiction of national laws. For example, in the UK, information held by ISPs must be handed to law enforcement on demand. Similar happens in the USA, but with the added option for the ISP to sell the data to marketing companies.

While the content of communications between the user’s local computer and the remote website can be encrypted with SSL/TLS (it shows up as ‘https’ in the URL), the sender and recipient addresses cannot be encrypted. As a result, every destination visited will be known to whoever has legal (or criminal) access to the DNS logs – that is, under normal circumstances, a user has no privacy over where he goes on the internet.

VPNs are designed to solve this problem by creating a gap between the user’s computer and the destinat

thebestvpn.com

DNS Server is not responding on Windows 10/8/7

When you try to connect to the Internet, the connection might fail when we run the Troubleshooter, and you might get this error: The device or resource (DNS server) is not responding. The exact error would be:

You computer appears to be correctly configured, but the device or resource (DNS server) is not responding.

Fix DNS issues & problems

DNS Server is not responding

If you face DNS issues or problems on your Windows 10/8/7 computer, there are few things you could try to resolve it.

Before you begin, backup your Router settings and update the firmware of your Router. Check the Router manual for more information on this subject.

1] The fisrt thing to try is to change the DNS server address manually. Follow these instructions-

  • Go to Start and Click on Control Panel
  • Open up Network and Internet and go to the Network and Sharing Center.
  • Click on Change adapter settings.
  • Now you’ll see the list of Network adapters. Select the Network adapter that you are using and right-click on it and open Properties.

  • Then Click on “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)
  • You’ll see the Internet Protocol Properties

  • Select “Use the Following DNS server address:
  • Enter the Preferred DNS address:   208.67.222.222
  • Enter the Alternative DNS address: 208.67.220.220
  • Also select Validate settings upon exit check-box.

  • Click OK, and then close to finish.

Now you have to enter the same DNS address in the Router configuration as well. You may refer the Router manual for more information on this.

2] If this does not help, you may try to install and configure OpenDNS and see if that helps.

3] The next suggestion I have to make is entering the Physical address in the Network adapter setting and seeing if that works for you. To do this-

  • Go to Start and type in CMD and Hit Enter
  • In command prompt type in IPCONFIG /ALL
  • Look for your network adapter
  • Write down the Physical Address. According to this screenshot it’s 78-DD-08-F1-DF-B0 in my case.

Now go to Start and type in NCPA.CPL. Right Click on your Network adapter and go to Properties.

Select Configure.

Then follow these steps-

  • Click on Advance Tab and select Network address
  • Select the radial button Value
  • Type in the physical address you wrote down before, (In my case it was 78-DD-08-F1-DF-B0) Remove the dashes when you type in i.e. 78DD08F1DFB.
  • Click OK
  • Reboot the System.

Now look up your Network adapter model and go to the manufactures website and find the appropriate drivers and update the Drivers and see if that resolves your issue.

4] The last suggestion I have to make is to disable your Firewall completely and see if that helps your connection.

Hope something helps.

These resources may also interest you:

  1. How to flush Windows DNS Cache
  2. How to change DNS settings in Windows
  3. Manage web browsing speed by changing DNS settings
  4. DNS Cache Poisoning and Spoofing
  5. Check if your DNS settings have been compromised.

Shyam aka “Captain Jack” is a Microsoft MVP alumnus and a Windows Enthusiast with an interest in Advanced Windows troubleshooting. Suggestions made and opinions expressed by him here are his personal one’s and not of his current employers. He blogs at captaindbg.com.

www.thewindowsclub.com

How can I fix a DNS leak?

The solution is to ensure that once connected to the VPN,
you are using ONLY the DNS server/s provided by the VPN service.

OpenVPN v2.3.9+

As of OpenVPN version 2.3.9 you can now prevent DNS leaks by specifying a new OpenVPN option. Simply open the .conf (or .ovpn) file for the server that you are connecting to
and add the following on a new line. For more information see the OpenVPN manual.

block-outside-dns

If for any reason you are unable to use the solution above continue reading.

If you are using a version of OpenVPN older than v2.3.9

Please note that as this problem normally only affects windows clients, only solutions for Windows appear here.

3 basic steps to fix the problem;

  1. Before connecting to the VPN, set static IP address properties if you are using DHCP
  2. After connecting, remove DNS settings for the primary interface
  3. After disconnecting, switch back to DHCP if neccessary or reapply original static DNS servers

Solution A — Automatic

If you are using OpenVPN on Windows XP/Vista/7 then a fully automated solution is available.

Download dnsfixsetup.exe — (md5 checksum: f212a015a890bd2dae67bc8f8aa8bfd9)

After installation, when you connect to a VPN server, a batch file will be run executing the 3 steps above.

Three scripts are generated for each OpenVPN configuration file;

  1. configfilename_pre.bat — executed when you initiate the connection but before the connection is established — Calls pre.vbs — If any active DHCP adapters exist, switch to static
  2. configfilename_up.bat — executed when the connection is established — Calls up.vbs — Clear the DNS servers for all active adapter except the TAP32 adapter
  3. configfilename_down.bat — executed after the connection is disconnected — Calls down.vbs — Reconfigure adapters back to their original configuration

Solution B — Manually clearing the DNS

The solution below does not switch the adapter to static if you are using DHCP. If you do not
switch to a static IP configuration and your computer renews its IP address whilst connected to
the VPN, the DNS settings may be overwritten. It is highly recommended to switch to a static
IP configuration.

  1. Open the command prompt (cmd.exe) as an administrator.
  2. Before connecting identify the name of the connected network interface. In the case below it is
    «Local Area Connection»
    netsh interface show interface
  3. Connect to the VPN. Once connected proceed to the next step.
  4. Flush the DNS resolver cache
    ipconfig /flushdns
  5. Disable the DNS configuration for the Interface identified in step 1
  6. netsh interface IPv4 set dnsserver "Local Area Connection" static 0.0.0.0 both

  7. Test for DNS leaks.
  8. After disconnecting, reconfigure the adapter to renew the previous DNS settings
    netsh interface IPv4 set dnsserver "Local Area Connection" dhcp
  9. Once again, flush the DNS resolver cache.
    ipconfig /flushdns
  10. Done.

www.dnsleaktest.com

[Fix] DNS Server not Responding On windows 10/8.1/7

Getting DNS server is not responding error while Running the Network Troubleshooting tool? sometimes the error would be like your computer is trying to use DNS server that is incorrect, DNS server not available or DNS server isn t responding windows 10, 8.1 or Windows 7. This Error mostly occurs when the DNS server that translates a domain name doesn’t respond for any reason. Here this post we discuss What is DNS on a windows computer? Why getting DNS server not responding and how to fix DNS server error on windows 10.

What Is DNS?

Before moving To Solutions first understand what is DNS, Why DNS server not responding Error Occurs? DNS stands for Domain name server is an end to end server that translates and then fetches the address of your required website to enable your access to it. For Ex : ( we provide for searching a particular page into the actual address of the web page. It resolves the physical address into IP address. Because computer only understands IP addresses ) so that you can access and browse the internet. If the DNS Server Stuck, Not Responding your pc unable to translate the Address and Result No Internet Connection.

This Error Mostly Cause it the DNS Service Corrupted, security firewall certainly blocked your PC and working as a barrier, didn’t communicate with websites, the internal problem in the network adapter or router etc.

Fix DNS Server is not Responding

After Understand what is DNS on Windows computer and Why Getting The DNS server isn’t responding. ( Your computer appears to be correctly configured, but the device or resource (DNS server) is not responding ) Let’s Apply Bellows solutions to get rid of this.

Start with Basic solutions, Load The Website on Different Browser, Clean Browser Cache, Cookies Etc.

Restart The Computer, modem and the router Then Reconnect to the Internet.

Disable if any extra network adapter installed on your computer

Try Disable And Enable the Network Adapter ( To do this press Win + R, Type ncpa.cpl and ok. Then select the Active Adapter right click Disable Then Restart windows and Again Enable the Network Adapter. )

Visit Network Adapter manufacturer website download the latest available driver and update the current Network Adapter Driver.

Run System File Checker tool, And make sure corrupted system files not causing this issue.

Flush DNS and reset your DNS settings

After check above basic Troubleshooting Steps Still having No internet connection or Troubleshooter results DNS Server is not Responding Then let’s Try to Flush DNS Cache and Reset DNS settings Completly

To do this click on Start menu search Type cmd and Press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open Command prompt as Administrator. Then Type command ipconfig /flushdns and hit the enter key. After that Restart Windows And check Internet Connection on next login.

IP config Flush DNS command

Reset DNS Settings

If still having issue Then Try To Reset DNS Settings by performing steps below. Again open the command prompt as administrator and Type command bellow one by one and hit enter to execute the same.

ipconfig /registerdns
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew
netsh winsock reset

Reset DNS Settings

After That Type exit to close the command prompt and Restart windows to take effect the changes.

Also Read: Fix page fault in nonpaged area BSOD error

Manually Assign DNS Address

To change the DNS server address manually open Control Panel then Network and Internet and go to the Network and Sharing Center. Then Click on Change adapter settings, Select the Active Network adapter that you are using and right-click on it and open Properties.

Assign DNS Address Manually

Then Double Click on “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)”.  You’ll see the Internet Protocol Properties click the radio button “Use the Following DNS Server Addresses”. In the“Preferred” one you should type 208. 67. 222. 222 and in “Alternate” one you should type 208. 67. 220. 220 and press “OK” to save the changes. It is an Open-source service by Open DNS and you can use it to fix this error.

Assign DNS Address Manually and validate settings

Also, you can use Google Free DNS 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 after That check mark on Validate Settings upon exit and click ok. Save the changes and close all open window And Restart windows Check Internet Connection, DNS Server not Responding issue Resolved.

Change Physical Address

Also, Some Users report entering the Physical address in the Network adapter setting help them to resolve DNS Server is not Responding problem.  You can also fix this issue by changing the physical address of your domain name system server.

To do this open command prompt as administrator, Then type ipconfig /all and hit the enter key to execute the command. Here look for physical Address And Note down the same. For Me its: FC-AA-14-B7-F6-77

ipconfig All Command

Now Press win + R Type ncpa.cpl And hit the enter key. Right-click on the network connection and select its “Properties.” then Select “Configuration” to proceed further.

click on Configure

Now select “Advanced” tab Select Network Address. Here you will see a category “Value” where you need to enter the physical address you got from Command Prompt. Click “OK” to save the changes.

Add the Physical Address

Now try to connect again after rebooting the system. This time, it will work for sure.

Also Read

How To fix Windows Stuck in Automatic Repair loop

How to configure and setup FTP server on Windows 10

Fix dns probe finished nxdomain error on Google chrome

Background Intelligent Transfer Service ( BITS ) on Windows 10

5 Tweaks to fix windows 10 slow boot or startup problem

[Fix] Antimalware service executable High CPU Disk usage windows 10

These Are some most Working Solutions To fix Fix DNS Server is not Responding, your computer is trying to use a DNS server that is incorrect etc problem After recent Windows upgrade. I hope After Apply These solutions your problem get solved and you will get connected to network and internet. Still have any query, suggestion or face any difficulty while performing above steps feel free to discuss in comments below. Also, Read We couldn’t install windows 10 Fall Creators update 0x8007002C-0x400D.

windows101tricks.com

How to Fix DNS Errors and Regain Access to the Internet

Have you encountered a strange error in your web browser when trying to access a website? These particular errors state that the DNS has given an error, such as a DNS lookup error. You may still be able to use programs such as Skype or online games, but websites will refuse to load. Even more annoyingly, sometimes this error only affects some websites. So, what is this “DNS error,” why does it affect websites (or only some), and how do you fix it?

What Is a “DNS”?

“DNS” stands for “Domain Name System,” and it is usually associated with a “DNS server.” If you’re unsure how loading a website works, this doesn’t really help in revealing what a DNS does! Let’s analyse what role the DNS performs so we can get a better idea as to why it has errors and how to fix it.

A DNS server acts a lot like the address book on your phone. When you want to call somebody, you can manually enter their number, but remembering everyone’s numbers is a huge hassle. It’s so much easier to add their number in the phone’s memory and associate a name with it – such as “Mark” – so that when you want to call Mark, you find his name on the list and hit call.

The same goes for your computer. It doesn’t know what a “Google” or a “Facebook” or a “Twitter” is. It does, however, know what an IP address is. When you enter a website such as “www.facebook.com,” your computer figures that this is a URL and goes to its address book of URLs to figure out where Facebook is on the network. This is what the DNS server does – it acts as an address book for URLs.

Why DNS Errors Occur

What would happen if the address book on your phone was corrupted or deleted? If you entered “Mark,” your phone couldn’t look him up and wouldn’t be able to phone him. Similarly, when you enter a URL into your browser and the DNS server is down, your machine can’t get an IP address for that URL. Since your computer doesn’t know how to get to a “Google,” it comes back with a DNS error.

Particularly clever readers will realise that if you directly enter the IP address of a website into the address bar, you could technically surf the web even after your DNS server has gone unresponsive. While this is true, we don’t want to remember every IP address for when the DNS goes down! It’d be a lot better if we could fix the problem instead.

Fixing DNS Errors

So that’s enough about what a DNS is. Now, let’s take a look at the options you have when your DNS is acting up.

Flush DNS Cache

If you’re visiting the same page a lot, it makes sense for the computer to remember the addresses for URLs so it doesn’t have to page the DNS server every time. This storage of remembered URLs is called the DNS cache. Sometimes your machine will rely on this to resolve a URL, but if this cache is corrupted, it will return an error.

Windows

Flushing the DNS cache in Windows is very easy. To start, press the Win key and start typing cmd. When command prompt appears in the search results, right click on it, and select “run as administrator.” This brings up an elevated command prompt window which can accept system-level changes.

To flush the DNS cache in Windows, enter this command:

Mac OS X

The commands for flushing DNS on Apple’s operating system seem to change with the direction of the wind. There are about four separate and different commands for each separate version of OS X. For this reason we’ve only included the most recent ones.

To flush the DNS cache on Mac OS, the user will need to launch a terminal window. Head over to the Applications area, look for an application named “terminal,” and launch it. With the terminal open, flush all DNS leases from your Mac and enter this command.

(OSX 10.10.4+)

dscacheutil -flushcache;
sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

(OSX 10.10-10.10.3)

sudo discoveryutil mdnsflushcache;
sudo discoveryutil udnsflushcaches

Linux

If you’re using Linux, open a command window and type:

Use A Public DNS Server

If the above doesn’t work, then the ideal solution is to change the server you’re using. Perhaps the server you use by default has gone down so you can’t resolve URLs. A good public DNS server to try when yours dies is the Google public DNS server. It’s located at “8.8.8.8” and “8.8.4.4.” You can change your adapter settings to use that DNS server instead of your default one.

If you’re not sure how to change the DNS server for your PC, check out our guides for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.

Disable Security (For a Short Time!)

It’s not ideal for security software to be disabled while using the Internet. However, an overzealous or corrupt security suite can sometimes block outgoing DNS requests, resulting in a DNS error. If you’re having trouble and have tried all of the above, try disabling firewalls and other security options to see if that fixes it. If it doesn’t, try uninstalling and reinstalling the software, or try a different vendor’s software. If it does, remember to turn the software back on!

Conclusion

DNS server issues can be frustrating to fix, especially when you don’t know how the errors occur in the first place. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what causes these errors and how to fix DNS-based problems when web browsing.

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