DNS, short for Domain Name Server, represents an essential part of the Internet as we know it. The service it provides has a magic impact on how convenient it is to navigate the Web and, more importantly, the way we access websites. A DNS server takes the popular name of any website and matches it with its actual address represented by an IP address. In practice, this means that we don't have to memorize long strings of numbers (248.59.53.110 is a typical IP address) and instead can just input the public name of the specific website.
Encountering the 'DNS Server Isn't Responding' error, in that case, is a serious issue as the victim not be able to open any websites. The causes for the error's appearance are varied, starting from issues on the DNS server's side to hardware problems with the user's router or software issues with the Web browser.
Users encountering the error should first try to switch to a different browser and see if the issue persists there as well. In many cases, checking to see if there is a new update for the Web browser and installing it also could resolve the problem. A bit more technical solution is to try and change the default DNS server to a different one. One possible choice is the public DNS service provided by Google.
To test if the problem is not caused on the hardware end, users are advised first to restart their router, and if that doesn't help, switch to another router device altogether.
How to Fix the “DNS Server Not Responding” Error With Windows 10 and macOS
Now you’re more familiar with the error message and what could be causing it, let’s look at how to fix it. Here ten potential fixes for the “DNS Server Not Responding” error for macOS and Windows devices.
- Change Internet BrowsersThe first – and simplest – step to fix the error is testing your current DNS connections. There’s a chance you could solve the problem by switching to another web browser and updating them. If you regularly use Google Chrome or Safari, for example, then try using Microsoft Edge or Mozilla Firefox to see if they can connect.If the other browsers can connect, you likely have to update your regular browser or re-install it. If the connection error persists, then you can move on to the next step as the browser is not the issue.
- Try Using Safe ModeDNS problems can be caused by a misbehaving operating system. You should try using Windows in Safe Mode to see if it solves the problem or not. Using Safe Mode limits the resources used to run Windows, making it an effective way to troubleshoot issues like this.Open the Start Menu on Windows and hover your mouse over the Power icon. Hold the Shift key and click on Restart to open advanced options when the computer restarts.Click on Troubleshoot > Advanced > Start-Up Settings > Restart. From here, press 4 to choose Enable Safe Mode or 5 to enable Safe Mode With Networking. Your computer restarts and opens in Safe Mode.
You can access Safe Mode for Windows 7 or earlier by holding down the F8 key while starting up your computer.
The Safe Mode process is similar to macOS devices. Hold down the Shift key while the machine is restarting. You can release the key when the Apple logo appears. The device should open in Safe Mode.
Log into your device as usual and try accessing the website you had trouble with before. If the problem isn’t with the network connection, then it’s likely caused by a third-party installation or software, such as an antivirus program getting in the way.
- Temporarily Disable Firewall and Antivirus SoftwareThe next step to fix your “DNS Server Not Responding” problems is to disable your firewall and antivirus software temporarily. These programs are vital components for securing your computer and other devices, but they can occasionally cause network and internet connection problems.Windows users can disable their firewall by opening the Control Panel and choosing Update and Security > Windows Security < Virus and Threat Protection > Manage Settings.Mac users have to go through System Preferences > Security and Privacy > Firewall.
Try re-accessing the website once you’ve disabled the firewall. If you can connect now, you should consider choosing a different antivirus program or changing the settings of your current one. Don’t forget to re-enable your firewall when you’re done!
- Disable Secondary ConnectionsIf turning off your firewall and antivirus programs didn’t get the job done, then you should consider disabling secondary connections on your device. You should make it so that only the connection you use is active and nothing else is getting in the way.Windows users can access these secondary connections by searching for “Network Connections” in the taskbar. Open the settings and click on View Network Connections. Clicking this takes you to the Network Connections page. Connections you aren’t using are labeled with a red (X). Right-click those connections and choose Disable to turn them off.Disable any connections that aren’t active. Restart your browser when you finish and try loading the website again to see if it solved the problem.
Mac users can access these settings by clicking on the Apple icon > System Preferences > Network. The window shows all of your connections. Disable inactive connections by clicking on it and then on the (-) to the bottom of the window.
- Disable Peer-to-Peer Features in WindowsIf you’re running Windows and the problem persists even after disabling your firewall and secondary connections, then there’s another option at your disposal; the Windows peer-to-peer feature. Please note this feature only appears in Windows 10.The peer-to-peer feature improves download bandwidth download. It allows you to download a Windows update and share the updated version of Windows with other computers on the local network, meaning only one device has to download the update. The problem is the service isn’t perfect, and it may interrupt DNS connections. We recommend disabling the feature if you are having issues with DNS errors.You can disable the feature y clicking on the Windows Icon > Settings > Update and Security. The left-hand menu should have an option called Delivery Optimization. Click on it and then click on the “Allow downloads from other PCs” option to disable the peer-to-peer feature.
Restart the computer after disabling this option and see if you can access the website now. If not, then we’ve got several other options to consider.
- Restart The RouterIf the problem persists, the next step is to try restarting your router. Restarting your router flushes the cache and could be enough to resolve the “DNS Server Not Responding” problem.Modems typically have a power button you can use to turn them off quickly. Leave the modem turned off for about a minute or so before turning it back on. Wait a moment for the router to establish a connection, then check to see if your browser works normally again.Please note restarting the browser might not be enough. You should consider rebooting it properly by unplugging it, waiting half a minute or so, and then plugging it back in as usual.
- Update Network Adapter DriversYou could get the “DNS Server Not Responding” error message because the Windows network adapter driver is out of date. You can fix the problem by updating your current driver or getting a new adapter driver.There are several ways you can update the network adapter driver. The first is to update manually. We recommend you avoid trying to manually update network drivers unless you already have some experience doing so. You can use driver update tools to do the job for you if you aren’t sure what to do.These driver update programs automatically detect your system and the drivers on it and check for updated versions. We recommend using automated methods because they eliminate the problem of human error, which could see your download and install the wrong drivers for your system.
Either way, restart the computer after installing the drivers. Try connecting to the internet again to see if updating your drivers solved the problem.
- Flush the DNS Cache and Reset Your IP AddressIf the problem isn’t your browser, router, or antivirus program, then you should focus your efforts on the DNS settings. The problem could be that the DNS cache needs flushing as the router cache did. A reset can help as well.For Windows users, open the start menu and type “cmd” into the search field, and open the Command Prompt.Type “ipconfig/flushdns” (without quotations) into the Command Prompt and hit Enter. The window displays a message when the process is complete, letting you know the DNS cache was flushed. We’re not finished with the Command Prompt yet, though, as you have three more commands to enter;
Mac users have a similar process to flush their DNS cache. Mac users should open the Terminal application by pressing Command + Space and then typing “Terminal” into Spotlight. Enter the following command into the Terminal window;
Hit the Enter key to start the process. Terminal doesn’t provide a completion message as Command Prompt does, but the command should flush the cache as intended.
- Disable IPv6IPv6 is the latest version of the Internet Protocol that connects traffic between networks and the internet. However, the new system isn’t perfect and could cause the “DNS Server Not Responding” error that’s plaguing your computer.This means that one potential solution for your problem is to disable IPv6 on the computer. Windows users can do this through the Network Connection control panel. Right-click your current connection and choose “Properties” from the drop-down menu.Open the Networking tab of the Properties window and scroll down until you see the TCP/IPv6 option. If the option is selected, then unselect it and click OK to confirm your choice. Refresh the web browser and see if you can connect now.
Disabling IPv6 in macOS is a little different. Mac users must first determine the network interface they’re using. Open the Terminal application and use the following command;
If your computer is using IPv6 for a wireless connection and you want to turn it off, then use this command;
Networksetup -setv6off Wi-Fi
The following command is for Ethernet connections;
Networksetup -setv6off Ethernet
Press the Enter key after putting in the command and refresh your browser to see if the problem is fixed.
- Change the Default DNS Server on WindowsAnother potential solution to the problem is to change the default DNS server in Windows. The first step for Windows 7+ is to open the network connection properties. Click on the Windows button/Start menu in the taskbar and type “Network Connections” into the search bar. Choose “View network connections” from the list of options that appears.Now choose the internet adapter you are using (WLAN for wireless connections and LAN for ethernet cable connections) and right-click on the adapter. Click on Properties to open the properties window.Check the window for Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and then click on the Properties button for that option. Choose the “Use the following DNS server addresses” option to change the DNS settings for that connection manually. For example, you can use the address of Google’s DNS server,
“22.214.171.124” by inputting that into the Preferred DNS Server box and “126.96.36.199” into the Alternate DNS Server. Click on OK to confirm your choices.
If you’re on macOS, you’ll need to open the System Preferences to find these settings. Click on the Apple icon, open System Preferences, and choose the Network tab. Choose the current network and open the advanced settings. Click on the (+) button next to “IPv4 or IPv6 addresses” and press Enter.
Input the new DNS information and click on OK and then Apply. Restart the web browser and attempt to re-access the website. The “DNS Server Not Responding “ error should hopefully be solved.
Being hit with the “DNS Server Not Responding” when trying to browse the web is annoying. This post has covered ten potential solutions to the problem. We hope at least one of them works for you.