How to Fix DNS Server Not Responding: 11 Methods to Try

How to Fix DNS Server Not Responding: 11 Methods to Try

How to Fix DNS Server Not Responding 11 Methods to Try blog image

“DNS server not responding” error message means that your browser is unable to connect to the DNS server that translates website names into IP addresses. Without a functioning connection to a domain name system (DNS), the browser can’t access a website using your domain name.

This article provides 11 actionable ways to fix the DNS server not responding error on Windows and Mac operating systems.

Takeaways
  • A “DNS server not responding” error indicates that your browser cannot establish a connection with the internet’s domain name system, preventing website access
  • A range of issues can cause the DNS error including ISP issues, router and modem problems, DNS server outages, and other hardware and network issues
  • Sometimes, the solution is as simple as using another browser or restarting your modem or router, while sometimes, you may need to resort to more advanced and tech-savvy methods to resolve this issue like disabling IPv6 or flushing the DNS cache

What Causes the “DNS Server Not Responding” Error?

Common causes of the “DNS Server Not Responding” error include:

  • ISP Issues: Sometimes, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) may experience outages or technical difficulties.
  • Router Problems: Malfunctioning or misconfigured routers can prevent communication with the DNS server.
  • DNS Server Outages: The specific DNS server you’re trying to use may be down or overloaded.
  •  Incorrect DNS Settings: Misconfigured DNS settings on your device can lead to connection problems.
  • Firewall/Antivirus Interference: Some firewall or antivirus software settings can block access to DNS servers.
  • Network Driver Issues: Outdated or corrupted network drivers can cause connectivity problems.
  • Operating System Glitches: Sometimes, temporary bugs or issues in the operating system can disrupt DNS operations.

What Causes DNS Server Not Responding Repeatedly?

When you get this error repeatedly, it often points to a more persistent issue. Consistent problems with DNS can mean that your ISP’s DNS server is either unstable or consistently overloaded. In other words, your ISP’s infrastructure could be having difficulties.

Other issues include a failing router or modem, misconfigured network settings, especially if set to a non-reliable DNS server, as well as malware or firewall settings. It’s essential to pinpoint the root cause and address it to ensure a stable internet experience.

How to Fix “DNS Server Not Responding” on Windows and Mac

The “DNS Server Not Responding” error, means there’s a failure in the communication between your device and the DNS (Domain Name System) servers.

DNS servers function as the internet’s phone book, translating easily remembered domain names like “example.com” into IP addresses, numerical addresses that computers use to identify each other.

When this translation process is interrupted it can’t be completed due to the unresponsiveness of the DNS server, your computer can’t connect to the desired website. In the following sections, we’ll discuss 11 ways to fix the “DNS Server Not Responding” error, both on Windows and Mac.

  1. Troubleshoot Network Problems

The first step is to run network diagnostics, as it can help you diagnose and troubleshoot all the possible network issues. Here’s how to do it on both Windows and Mac.

How to Troubleshoot Network Problems on Windows

Troubleshoot Network Problems on Windows

  • Navigate to the Control Panel, then Network and Internet, and then Network and Sharing Center
  • Click the Troubleshoot problems under Change your network settings
  • Navigate to Additional troubleshooters, press Internet Connections, and then Run the troubleshooter
  • Wait for the process to complete. If there’s an error, it’ll appear on the window, along with the steps you need to complete to fix the DNS issues.

How to Troubleshoot Network Problems on Mac

  • Close all the apps and connect to the network that gives you issues
  • Hold the Option key and select the Wi-Fi status icon in the menu bar. Choose Open Wireless Diagnostics
  • Follow the instructions to go through the scanning process of your network connection
  • When the process is complete, click the Info icon in the Summary window to see the potential issues and fix DNS server error.
  1. Connect with a Different Device

To make sure that it’s not a problem with your device, try connecting a different device to the network, such as a laptop, a phone, a tablet, or some other device. If the other device doesn’t have a problem with accessing the website that displays the DNS error, then the problem is associated with the main device you’re using.

If you still can’t visit the website and the DNS error is still present, then something else is causing the problem. Alternatively, if you have other networks at home or office, or you have access to mobile data. Continue reading if the issue persists to fix DNS server error.

  1. Restart the PC in a Safe Mode

Restarting the PC in Safe Mode starts the computer in a diagnostic mode with minimal drivers and services. This can help troubleshoot issues or remove malware affecting normal operations.

How to Restart the PC in a Safe Mode on Windows

How to Restart the PC in a Safe Mode on Windows

  • Press the Start menu, click the Power button, hold Shift, and click Restart
  • Click Troubleshoot and then Advanced options
  • Select the Startup Settings and press Restart
  • Press F5 on the keyboard to restart in the Safe Mode with Networking

How to Restart the PC in a Safe Mode on Mac

  • Go to the Apple menu and then Shut Down. Wait for around 10 seconds when your device turns off.
  • Turn on your Mac device and hold the Shift key until the login screen shows up.
  • If the error disappears when you’re in safe mode, that means that the third-party program is causing the error.
  1. Switch to Another Browser

Switching to a different web browser can help troubleshoot the “DNS Server Not Responding” error because certain issues might be confined to the specific web browsers in use. Instead of Google Chrome, you can use some other browser.

Problems such as browser-specific bugs, malfunctioning extensions or add-ons, accumulated cache, or compatibility issues with certain websites can make it seem like there’s a DNS error when, in reality, the issue is localized to that particular browser.

Trying a different web browser can quickly determine if the problem is system-wide or limited to the initial browser, aiding in pinpointing the root cause.

  1. Deactivate Antivirus and Firewall

Sometimes, the firewall or antivirus software can interfere with the connection to the DNS server. Temporarily disabling them can help resolve DNS errors if they’re the cause of the problem.

How to Deactivate Antivirus and Firewall on Windows

If you need to deactivate the antivirus and Windows Defender Firewall on Windows. Go to the Start menu and then click Settings.

Navigate to Update & Security and then Windows Security.

Click Virus & Threat Protection and disable the antivirus and firewall.

How to Deactivate Antivirus and Firewall on Windows

If you use a third-party antivirus, you might need to deactivate it in the dedicated antivirus settings.

How to Deactivate Antivirus and Firewall on Mac

If you use a MacBook or iMac, navigate to System Preferences. Click Security & Privacy and then Firewall. Deactivate it. Again, you might need to check the particular settings of your antivirus if you use it.

  1. Restart Modem or Router

Restarting your modem or router is a common troubleshooting step to resolve various connectivity issues, including the “DNS Server Not Responding” error.

When you restart these devices, it can clear internal caches, resolve minor software glitches, and re-establish a fresh connection with your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Often, this simple act can remedy temporary issues, ensuring a more stable internet connection and effective communication with DNS servers.

Depending on the model of a router or modem you’re using, there might be a specific button for restarting the device. Alternatively, switch off the router or modem, wait 10 seconds, and then switch it on again.

  1. Disable Other Connections

Disabling other network connections can help determine if there’s a conflict or if another connection is causing interference. This can be especially useful if you have multiple network interfaces like Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or virtual networks.

How to Disable Other Connections on Windows

How to Disable Other Connections on Windows

  • Go to Control Panel. Navigate to Network and Internet and then select Network and Sharing Center.
  • Click Change adapter settings in the left sidebar
  • The Network Connections page will show all the connections on your device. Right-click on Local Area Connection, as well as other connections you no longer use, and click Disable

Local Area Connection

How to Disable Other Connections on Mac

  • Navigate to the Apple Menu, select System Preferences, and then Network
  • Select all the unused connections on the left side of the screen and click on the minus (-) button to disable those connections.

Before moving to the next solution, make sure to restart your browser and try to navigate to the website to see if the DNS Server Not Responding error was resolved.

  1. Change DNS Server Addresses

Switching to a different DNS server can sometimes resolve the “DNS Server Not Responding” error, especially if the preferred DNS server provided by your ISP is experiencing issues. Common alternative DNS servers include Google’s DNS (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) and Cloudflare’s DNS (1.1.1.1) which are both free.

How to Change a DNS Server Address on Windows

How to Change a DNS Server Address on Windows

  • Go to the Network Connections page by navigating to the Windows search box and typing ncpa.cpl. Press enter.
  • Right-click on the connection currently in use and click Properties.
  • Once you’re in the Properties window, click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties.
  • Tick the Obtain an IP address automatically and Use the following DNS server Addresses option located in the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) Properties page
  • Type in the desired DNS server addresses in the Preferred DNS Server and Alternate DNS Server textboxes. You can use Google’s, Cloudflare’s, or some other preferred DNS server address.
  • Tick the Validate settings upon exit checkbox and click OK.
  • Make sure to restart your device so that the settings you changed take effect.

How to Change a DNS Server Address on Mac

  • Navigate to the Apple menu and then System Preferences. Then select Network
  • Select your primary network connection click Advanced and then DNS.
  • Click the plus button and add a new DNS server address. Click OK and then Apply.
  • Restart your internet connection and check if the error has been resolved.
  1. Flush DNS Cache

Flushing the DNS cache can help clear any outdated or corrupted DNS information, ensuring your computer fetches fresh data the next time you try accessing a website.

How to Flush DNS Cache on Windows

  • Type in cmd and press Enter to access the Windows command prompt.
  • In the command prompt, enter ipconfig/flushdns and press Enter
  • Once the process is complete, a confirmation message will show up if the process has been successfully completed.

command prompt

How to Flush DNS Cache on Mac

The process of flushing DNS Cache on Mac depends on which version you use. The first step is to press F4 and enter “terminal” in the search box. Once the terminal is open, you’ll need to run one of the following commands that suit your operating system version.

For macOS Big Sur:

How to Flush DNS Cache on Mac

For MacOS Sierra, MacOS High Sierra, MacOS Mojave, MacOS Catalina, MacOS X El Capitan, X Mavericks, X Mountain Lion, or X Lion:

MacOS Sierra, MacOS High Sierra, MacOS Mojave, MacOS Catalina, MacOS X El Capitan, X Mavericks, X Mountain Lion, or X Lion

If you use Mac OS X Yosemite:

Mac OS X Yosemite

If you use Mac OS X Snow Leopard:

Mac OS X Snow Leopard

If you use Mac OS X Leopard:

Mac OS X Leopard

Once you run one of these commands, the network adapter will refresh the DNS configuration, and the problem will be fixed. If the problem is still not resolved, try one of the solutions below.

  1. Update the Network Adapter Driver

The network adapter driver is a crucial piece of software that allows your computer’s operating system to communicate effectively with the hardware component responsible for connecting to the network.

Outdated, corrupted, or incompatible drivers can lead to various network-related issues, including the DNS Server error. Therefore, keeping this driver updated is essential for maintaining a smooth and stable internet connection.

Updating the network adapter driver can optimize its performance, fix known bugs, and provide better compatibility with your operating system and other system software.

In some cases, an older driver might not support certain features or protocols that newer websites or network infrastructure rely on, leading to connectivity problems.

Updating the Network Adapter Driver Manually on Windows

On Windows, users can update the driver through the Device Manager.

Device Manager

This built-in tool lists all installed hardware components, allowing users to manually update or roll back drivers.

Alternatively, visiting the official website of the network adapter’s manufacturer can provide the latest driver versions.

Updating the Network Adapter Driver Using External Tools

However, manually updating a network adapter driver can be a tedious task if you’re not tech-savvy, so you can use third-party software like Driver Booster or Driver Easy.

Make sure to create a system restore point before proceeding to install the new network drivers on your computer.

These tools scan your computer for outdated drivers and automatically fetch and install the latest versions, simplifying the process. However, you should approach these tools with caution, ensuring you choose reputable software to avoid potential malware or bloatware.

  1.  Disable Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6)

IPv6 is the latest version of the Internet Protocol, designed to replace IPv4 due to the latter’s limitation on address space. However, in certain scenarios, it might be necessary to disable IPv6, either for troubleshooting purposes or compatibility reasons.

How to Disable IPv6 on Windows

How to Disable IPv6 on Windows

  • Navigate to Network Connections and right-click on the active connection. Then, click Properties.
  • Go to the Networking tab, to Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and untick the checkbox.
  • Click OK to finalize the process.

How to Disable IPv6 on Mac

There are several ways to disable IPv6 on MacOS. In some cases, you might need to go to the terminal and resolve the issue there.

  • Go to the Apple menu, then System Preferences, and then select Network.
  • Click the current connection and then Advanced. Then, navigate to TCP/IP.
  • Select the Configure IPv6 and from the drop-down menu set it off. Click OK.

Sometimes, it might happen that the off option isn’t available in the drop-down menu, so you’ll have to do it from the Terminal.

If you’re using a wireless connection, go to the Terminal app and run the following command:

Terminal app

If you want to disable IPv6 on an Ethernet connection, run the following command:

IPv6 on an Ethernet connection

You can disable IPv6 on both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections by running the command below:

IPv6 on both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connection

You will need to restart your device, to ensure that the changes took effect. Once the device powers up again, make sure to reconnect to your network and see if the issue has been resolved.

Final Word: Fixing the “DNS Server Not Responding” Problem

The DNS server not responding issue can be annoying. Luckily, the problem is solvable with some minimal tech-savviness and a few steps on both Windows and Mac. If the issue has been resolved, it’s time to start building the website for your domain name.

Check out our selection of best website builders, and choose among the list of best web hosting companies to meet your needs.

Next Steps: What Now?

Learn More About DNS

Frequently Asked Questions

What can cause a DNS error?

A DNS error can be caused by server downtimes, incorrect DNS settings, network connectivity issues, outdated DNS cache, or problems with the internet service provider.

How can I reset my DNS server?

On most operating systems, you can reset the DNS server by flushing the DNS cache. For Windows, open Command Prompt and enter ipconfig /flushdns. On Mac, use Terminal and the command varies by OS version, but for many, it’s sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder.

What will happen if I reset my DNS server?

Resetting your DNS server by flushing the DNS cache will clear out old and potentially incorrect DNS information, which can help resolve browsing issues. It may momentarily disrupt ongoing internet activities but should improve accuracy in domain-to-IP resolution thereafter.

Sonja Vitas
Edited By:
Sonja Vitas
Content Editor

HostAdvice Speaks to ScalaHosting: An Interview with Chris Rusev

HostAdvice had the opportunity to speak with Chris Rusev, the CEO and co-founder of , a web hosting company that offers shared, cloud VPS, and...
8 min read
Eddie Segal
Eddie Segal
Digital Marketing Specialist

Email Deliverability: What Is It, Key Factors & Best Practices

What is Email Deliverability? Think of it like mailing a letter and making sure it lands right in the recipient's hands, not lost or thrown...
17 min read
Ela Gal-Kfir
Ela Gal-Kfir
Digital Marketing Specialist

Email Marketing vs. Social Media: Which is More Effective?

What is Email Marketing? Email marketing is a  that involves companies reaching out to potential and existing customers via email ...
10 min read
Ela Gal-Kfir
Ela Gal-Kfir
Digital Marketing Specialist

Email Engagement Metrics, Calculation & Best Practices

Email engagement tells us how interested recipients are in the content of emails they receive. It provides insights into what types of em...
12 min read
Ela Gal-Kfir
Ela Gal-Kfir
Digital Marketing Specialist
HostAdvice.com provides professional web hosting reviews fully independent of any other entity. Our reviews are unbiased, honest, and apply the same evaluation standards to all those reviewed. While monetary compensation is received from a few of the companies listed on this site, compensation of services and products have no influence on the direction or conclusions of our reviews. Nor does the compensation influence our rankings for certain host companies. This compensation covers account purchasing costs, testing costs and royalties paid to reviewers.
Click to go to the top of the page
Go To Top