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We’ve all felt the annoyance of being in the middle of an online project, when seemingly out of nowhere a “DNS server is not responding” error pops up, bringing everything to a halt. While not uncommon, these mistakes are annoying and can slow you down all day.
Fortunately, there are several ways to fix a DNS error quickly so that you can get back on track without too much disruption.
What is DNS?
DNS stands for Domain Name System, which is the system that allows users to connect to websites by matching the domain names of websites (such as forbes.com) to the unique location of the server where the website is located. is stored.
Website IP addresses are made up of a long series of random numbers and periods. To make things easier, domain names are assigned in place of these number sequences, which you use to search for a website. DNS connects the domain name to the IP number and stores the domain names of websites that users visit to help them load faster.
What does DNS failure mean?
DNS failure occurs when users cannot connect to an IP address through a domain name. A message will appear indicating “DNS server not available” or “DNS address of the server could not be found”. Essentially, it’s like dialing a phone number and getting a busy signal. There are many potential causes, but the end result is a failed connection.
Potential sources of DNS failure
There are many components that need to work together seamlessly to ensure fast web access. DNS failure typically occurs when there is an issue with any of the following:
- Router or modem
- ISP (Internet Service Provider)
8 strategies for troubleshooting a DNS failure
1. Restart your software or device
Sometimes just exiting the browser completely for a few minutes will resolve the issue. You can also try restarting your computer or mobile device. If a simple restart does not work, look for the instructions for restarting in “Safe Mode” to disable unnecessary functions that may impact your system.
2. Restart the modem or router
Press the power button or completely unplug the power cord for at least 20 seconds. Then restart and see if the error is fixed after a few minutes. Also check for available updates, as they may be needed to keep your router working properly.
3. Change browser
If you’ve been browsing Google Chrome, try switching to Safari or Microsoft Edge a bit. If that doesn’t work, you can also try uninstalling and then reinstalling your favorite browser.
4. Suspend your firewall
If the DNS error is caused by your firewall or antivirus software, try disabling them temporarily. After manually disabling them, try opening the browser again to see if it works. If that worked, be sure to re-enable your firewall immediately.
5. Clear your cache
Frequently visited websites are stored or “cached” to help them load faster. If you try to access a cached site that has had a recent IP address update, you may get an error message. Emptying your browser cache should correct the problem. Make sure to search for instructions for your specific browser to make sure this is done correctly.
6. Disable additional connections
If any additional connections are open, such as peer-to-peer or Bluetooth features, turn them off, then try restarting the browser.
7. Keep everything up to date
Make sure all software, network adapters, and drives are up to date. If any have pending updates that need to be completed, run them and then try restarting the browser.
8. Check the DNS settings
This step will take a little more effort, as you will need to locate the correct DNS settings through a network administrator or ISP. Once you have the settings, compare them to those on your computer to confirm that they are correct.
If you cannot resolve a DNS problem yourself …
Sometimes it may be necessary to find another resource to help you resolve a DNS error. If you are having frequent problems, the cause could be your internet connection and you will need to contact your internet service provider (ISP). Your supplier can look for any service or equipment complications that could cause problems.
If everything is working fine on the ISP side, it might be time to consider bringing in a professional. Big box electronics chains and smaller local computer stores typically offer onsite computer diagnostics and repairs. Although this usually means leaving your PC for a few days, it will be worth the effort to resolve the DNS issue quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
DNS (Domain Name System) is the system that translates domain names into unique IP addresses that a browser can read.
DNS converts the website address you type into your browser’s address bar to an IP address, which is a series of numbers and periods.
What causes DNS failure?
DNS failure can occur for many reasons, including router or modem issues, issues with your browser, or outages related to your Internet service provider.