Having an unresponsive or misconfigured Domain Name Server (DNS) can be quite infuriating since it won’t allow you to perform any tasks online, nor would you be able to load any web pages. Moreover, even after running the built-in troubleshooter in the Windows operating system, you might still not be able to fix the problem.
On a Windows 11 or 10 PC, you might see any of the following statements in a web browser or in the troubleshooter:
- The DNS server isn’t responding.
- Your computer appears to be correctly configured, but the device or resource (DNS server) is not responding.
- This webpage is not available.
- www.xxxxx.com’s server DNS address could not be found.
In most cases, these issues are linked directly to your DNS server. Either they are unreachable or are misconfigured. If you are seeing similar prompts while trying to access different web pages online, then you can benefit from the potential solutions discussed below.
Table of contents
- Causes of Unresponsive DNS Server
- Fix DNS Server Not Responding
- Closing Words
Causes of Unresponsive DNS Server
As we said, the DNS servers are usually unavailable or are misconfigured on your computer for the problem to occur in the first place, but there is more to it. It may be possible that the DNS server is correctly configured but your router is malfunctioning. Therefore, the root cause of the problem can be a few.
- The browser cache is not updating the new DNS settings.
- The DNS server is configured incorrectly.
- The DNS server’s IP address is incorrect in your system settings.
- Your router is malfunctioning.
- A third-party antivirus is blocking a website, in which case it will show “DNS server not responding.”
Let us now continue to learn how to mitigate the issues so you can proceed to the desired web page.
Fix DNS Server Not Responding
We suggest that your resolve the issue by attempting the given solutions below. perform these in the given chronological order that goes from less aggressive to a more aggressive approach.
Clear Browser Cache
Start by clearing your browser’s cache. Sometimes, after you have changed the DNS settings, the browser fails to acknowledge these changes and functions based on the stored (cached) information. Therefore, perform these steps to clear the browser cache:
Open the Internet Properties applet by typing in inetcpl.cpl in the Run Command box.
Under the Browsing history section, click Delete.
In the next pop-up window, make any other selections to remove and then click Delete.
The browser cache will now be cleared and new entries will be created. Now check to see if this resolves the issue. If it doesn’t, then proceed to the next step below.
We suggest that you also change your browser to make sure that the problem is with the DNS server and not the browser.
Changing your web browser will narrow the root cause of the problem. If this resolves the issue, then it means that the problem was either with the previous browser or its cache, in which case we suggest that you repair/reinstall the browser.
However, if it doesn’t fix the problem, then we believe that the following solutions will certainly address the fault.
Run Network Troubleshooter
The Windows operating system comes with its own troubleshooter. You can run these tiny apps that will automatically scan and attempt to repair any problems if found with the network and its connectivity.
Follow these steps to run the network troubleshooter:
Navigate to the following:
In Windows 11:
Settings app >> System >> Troubleshoot > Other troubleshooters
In Windows 10:
Settings app >> Update & Security >> Troubleshoot >> Additional Troubleshooters
Here, run the Network Adapter troubleshooter.
A wizard will now launch and scan your network adapter(s). When asked to select which adapter to troubleshoot, click on your current network adapter and then click Next.
If an issue is detected, you will be asked for a confirmation to apply its fix. Proceed by applying the fix and continue through the directions given by the troubleshooting wizard.
When all solutions have been applied, close the wizard. In case no fix was suggested, close the wizard still.
Now check to see if the problem was mitigated.
Restart Computer/ Router
If the solutions up until now have not worked for you, you can try restarting your computer and the router your device is attempting to connect to. This will ensure that any minor malfunctions on your computer will be resolved and that your router will be performing optimally.
Restarting both of the end devices would mean that all of their services and functions have been rebooted, and if any were malfunctioning, they will likely be sorted out and return to normal function.
However, if this doesn’t work either, then we still have a few options remaining to rectify the issue.
On a Windows computer, you can reset the complete network configuration with a click of a button. It is a quick method to reset all configurations to their default settings. Here are the steps to reset your network:
Note: Resetting your network will bring it back to its default configuration and all manual configurations will be lost. Moreover, your computer will be rebooted automatically. Therefore, it is suggested that you save all open data and ensure that you can re-apply the configurations (if any).
Navigate to the following:
Settings app >> Network & internet >> Advaned network settings >> Network reset
Here, click Reset now, and then reconfirm your action.
Your network settings will now reset and your computer will reboot after approximately 5 minutes. Your computer needs this time as it is automatically reinstalling the network adapter and all necessary drivers.
When it does reboot, check to see if you are now able to access the web page which initially threw the DNS error.
Change DNS Server Address Manually
It may be possible that your current DNS configuration has become invalid and the server no longer exists, or maybe your computer is simply having trouble communicating with it. If so, try changing the DNS settings manually. Here is how:
Open the Network Connections applet by typing in ncpa.cpl in the Run Command box.
Here, right-click on the adapter that is currently connected and then click Properties from the context menu.
From the Properties window, click on “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and then click Properties.
The IPv4 properties window will now open. Select “Use the following DNS server addresses” and then enter the following 2 addresses as the Preferred DNS server and the Alternate DNS server:
Note: Alternatively, you can also enter the DNS server addresses provided by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or your organization’s system administrator.
Click Ok when done.
Click Ok on the adapter properties as well.
(Optional) As a best practice, restart your network adapter by disabling and then re-enabling it.
Now check if you still see the same error message. If you do, continue to perform the following solutions and mitigate the problem.
Although technology is making an advancement all around us, many of the network devices still support (and often use) the IPv4 networking protocol, as opposed to the IPv6 protocol. However, both of these are enabled by default on our wireless network adapters on a Windows computer.
That said, IPv6 is often not required, hence it can be disabled. Although it does not make sense to have our issue resolved by disabling this option, users have reported that it often does. Therefore, if you are still experiencing issues with your DNS server, try disabling it using these steps:
Open the Network Connections applet by typing in ncpa.cpl in the Run Command box.
Right-click on the adapter being used and then click Properties from the context menu.
From the Properties window, scroll down and uncheck the box next to “Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6),” then click Ok.
When disabled, check to see if the issue persists.
Update/ Reinstall Network Driver
Outdated or corrupted network drivers are often the cause of a faulty and unstable internet connection. It may be possible that you have either an old or a corrupted network driver installed which needs to be replaced in order to rectify the issue.
First, try to update your network driver to a newer, better version. However, if the latest version is already installed, then you must reinstall it. Here is how:
Open the Device Manager by typing in devmgmt.msc in the Run Command box.
Expand “Network adapters” by clicking on it, then right-click on the wireless adapter and then click Update driver from the context menu.
You can now click “Search automatically for drivers” to automatically install the latest driver (needs internet connection), or you can click “Browse my computer for drivers” to manually update it if you have already downloaded a standalone driver for your network adapter.
Once the driver is updated, continue to check if it resolved the problem. However, if the latest driver was already installed and your problem remains, try reinstalling the driver.
Uninstall Third-Party Antivirus
All third-party antiviruses cannot be trusted, and even if they are, it is still plausible that they might consider legitimate system files as well as websites a threat and block them from running or being accessible. Therefore, we recommend that you disable or uninstall any third-party software on your PC and then check to see if it resolves the issue.
You can uninstall them from the Programs & Features applet, or use antivirus removal tools to uninstall them and clear all footprints.
If this doesn’t work either, then there still is a trick up our sleeves to fix the problem.
Reset TCP/IP Stack
The internet works on TCP/IP protocol. If TCP/IP protocol stack is not working correctly, you will have issues with your Internet connection, such as the one we are trying to fix. The best way to fix Internet issues is to reset TCP/IP stack settings. Follow these steps to learn how:
Note: Resetting your TCP/IP stack will undo any manual configurations. Therefore, it is recommended that you only proceed forward if you remember and can configure those settings again.
Now run the following cmdlets one after the other.
ipconfig /release ipconfig /flushdns netsh winsock reset netsh int ip reset ipconfig /renew
When all these cmdlets are executed, restart your computer, re-apply the manual configurations (if any), and then attempt to connect to the network again.
Now that everything has been reset, check to see if you are now able to access the web page that was previously throwing the DNS error.
The Domain Name Server is responsible for translating the URLs into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. However, if a DNS is unavailable, then your internet connection will not work altogether, and basically, be useless.
That said, we recommend to all system administrators and ISPs provide a stable and correct DNS infrastructure to the end clients so they do not have similar issues to these.
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