How to Fix “DNS Server Not Responding” Error (11 Methods)

A Domain Name System (DNS) is a directory that translates domain names or hostnames into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Due to this process, users can easily access websites on the internet through web browsers.

Sometimes, certain DNS error messages can be encountered when accessing a website, one of them being the “DNS server not responding” message. This means that the web browser can’t connect to the site because the DNS server fails to map hostnames to IP addresses correctly.

There are many causes to the “DNS server not responding” error, from misconfigured network adapters to incorrect DNS server addresses. Fortunately, most of these problems lie on the user’s end and can be solved without much effort.

This article will go over 11 potential solutions to solve the “DNS server not responding” issue on Windows and Mac and several common causes for this error message.

1. Troubleshoot Network Problems

Running network diagnostics is the first step to fix the “DNS server not responding” error. This method can help diagnose and troubleshoot all detected network issues and errors without much hassle.

Here’s how to run network diagnostics for both Windows and Mac computers.

Run Windows Network Diagnostics

Follow the steps to run network diagnostics on Windows 10:

  1. On Windows, go to the Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center.
  2. Select the Troubleshoot problems option under Change your networking settings.
  3. Click on Additional troubleshooters -> ​Internet Connections -> Run the troubleshooter.
Run the troubleshooter option in the network and internet settings in Windows
  1. Wait for the troubleshooting process to complete. If an error message appears on the window, just follow the steps shown to repair the issue.

Configure Wireless Diagnostics on Mac

Here’s how to run wireless diagnostics on macOS:

  1. Close all open apps and connect to the network you’re having the problem with.
  2. While holding the Option key, select the Wi-Fi status icon in the menu bar, and choose Open Wireless Diagnostics.
  3. Follow the instructions on the screen to examine your network connection.
  4. Once the scanning process is complete, click the Info icon in the Summary window to learn more about each entry on the list.
Wireless diagnostics settings in Mac

If this method does not fix DNS server problems, proceed to the next step.

2. Connect With a Different Device

Try connecting a different device to the same home network and access the site you’re having trouble with.

If the second device can access the web page using the same network, then the problem is with your primary device.

However, if you still can’t visit the website with other devices connected to the same network, it could suggest that your router might be the issue.

Using other connections such as mobile data can also help ensure that the issue is not on the site’s end.

3. Switch to Another Web Browser

Another simple solution to try when solving the “DNS server not responding” issue is to visit the website from a different web browser.

For instance, if your primary browser is Mozilla Firefox, try to access the web page from other browsers such as Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome.

If this method turns out to be fruitful, then update your default browser to the newest version or reinstall it completely. However, if the “DNS server not responding” message appears once again, the browser is not the source of the connection problem.

4. Restart PC in Safe Mode

An operating system that isn’t correctly working can result in the “DNS server not responding” error message.

To figure out whether this problem makes the DNS server not responding, you’ll need to restart your computer in safe mode – a stripped-down version of your operating system that can limit the files and resources used for running your device.

Here are steps to start a computer in safe mode on Windows:

  1. Go to the Start menu, select the Power button, press the Shift key, and select Restart.
  2. On the Choose an option window, click on Troubleshoot -> Advanced options.
  3. Select the Startup Settings option under the Advanced options, and click Restart.
  4. Press F5 on the keyboard to select the Safe Mode with Networking option.

If you’re using a Mac, here’s how to start up your computer in safe mode:

  1. Navigate to the Apple menu -> Shut Down. Wait for around 10 seconds after your device shuts down.
  2. Power on your Mac and quickly press and hold the Shift key until you see the login screen.

If your network connection works in safe mode, it means that third-party software might be causing the “DNS server not responding” issue. To resolve this, you’ll need to find and delete the application from your PC.

5. Restart Modem or Router

A modem or router that isn’t properly functioning can also be the cause as to why a DNS server isn’t responding.

Therefore, consider restarting your modem or router to clear the cache, potentially fixing the DNS server problem.

Press the power button of your router or modem and unplug its power cable from the power outlet. Wait for at least 30 seconds before pressing the power button again to restart it.

If restarting your modem or router doesn’t work, try to reset it to its default settings. Check the instruction manual of the device for steps to reset your modem or router.

6. Deactivate Antivirus and Firewall

Antivirus and firewall programs aim to protect your device from malicious software. However, these tools can also block your internet connection.

Attempt to temporarily deactivate your antivirus and firewall programs to check whether or not they’re the cause of the “DNS server is not responding” error.

To access the antivirus and firewall settings on Windows, select the Start menu and click Settings -> Update & Security -> Windows Security -> Virus & threat protection.

Windows security settings window - choose virus and threat protection

If you use a Mac computer, go to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Firewall.

Screenshot of Mac system preferences illustrating how to turn off Firewall

After deactivating your antivirus and firewall programs, rerun the network diagnostics and open the website again from your browser.

If this solves the problem, update or reconfigure the antivirus and firewall programs before reactivating them.

7. Disable Other Connections

Another solution to resolve the “DNS server not responding” issue is to disable unused connections on your device.

Follow these steps to disconnect additional network connections on Windows:

  1. Navigate to Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center.
  2. Click Change adapter settings on the left column.
Screenshot of Control Panel Network and Sharing Center in Windows where you can change adapter settings
  1. The Network Connections page will appear. Right-click on Local Area Connection and other connections you’re not using, and select Disable.

Here’s how to disable other network connections on Mac:

  1. Go to the Apple menu -> System Preferences -> Network.
Screenshot of network settings in Mac
  1. Select each of the unused connections on the left side of the screen and click the minus (–) button to disconnect that connection.

After disabling all unused connections, restart your browser and try re-accessing the website.

8. Change the DNS Server Address

If the website cannot be accessed after the previous solutions, try to change your DNS server address.

Your home network is configured to obtain a DNS server address automatically from your internet service provider (ISP). However, if your ISP’s DNS server isn’t responding, the internet service will stop working as well.

To temporarily resolve this problem, change your DNS settings and use a different DNS address. Doing so allows your browser to be still able to load any websites on the internet.

Fortunately, many services such as Cloudflare and Google Public DNS offer DNS addresses to use for free.

To set up other DNS servers on Windows, follow these steps:

  1. Access the Network Connections page by typing in ncpa.cpl into the Windows search box. Press Enter.
  2. Right-click on the connection you’re currently using and click on Properties.
Screenshot of Windows Network Connections showing a drop down menu that highlights the properties button
  1. On the Properties window, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) -> Properties.
  2. Tick on the Obtain an IP address automatically and Use the following DNS server Addresses options in the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) Properties page.
Screenshot of Internet Protocol version 4 configurations in Window
  1. Type your desired DNS server addresses in the Preferred DNS Server and Alternate DNS Server fields.
  2. Check the Validate settings upon exit box and select OK.
  3. Restart your computer.

Here are the steps to change the DNS server address on Mac:

  1. Go to the Apple menu -> System Preferences> Network.
  2. Click on your primary network connection and select Advanced -> DNS.
Screenshot of Mac advanced network DNS window
  1. Hit the plus button to add a new DNS server. Hit OK and then Apply.

Reset your internet connection and see if the “DNS server is not responding” problem is resolved.

9. Flush DNS Cache

Another solution in order to fix DNS server connection issues is to flush the DNS cache. Clearing the router cache might help make the DNS work properly.

Here are the steps to flush DNS cache files on Windows:

  1. Type in cmd in the Windows Search and press Enter to access the Windows command prompt console.
  2. On the command prompt, type in ipconfig/flushdns and press Enter.
  3. If the process is successful, a confirmation message will appear on the command prompt.
Screenshot of the confirmation message in Windows Command Prompt

The steps to flush DNS cache files on Mac are also relatively simple, but it’s crucial to run the correct command prompt based on your current operating system version.

On your Mac, open the Terminal by pressing F4 and entering the “terminal” in the Launchpad’s search box.

Once the app is opened, run the command that suits your version of macOS.

On macOS Big Sur, enter the following command:

sudo dscacheutil -flushcache; sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

To flush DNS cache on macOS Catalina, run this in the command prompt:

sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

Run this command to clear your DNS cache on macOS Mojave:

sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

Flush DNS cache on macOS High Sierra with this command :

sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

For macOS Sierra, Mac OS X El Capitan, X Mavericks, X Mountain Lion, or X Lion, run the following command:

sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

If you’re running Mac OS X Yosemite, input this command:

sudo discoveryutil udnsflushcaches

On Mac OS X Snow Leopard, run the command to flush DNS cache :

sudo dscacheutil -flushcache

If you’re using Mac OS X Leopard and below, enter this command:

sudo lookupd -flushcache

After running the commands above, the network adapter will refresh its DNS configuration.

10. Disable IP Version 6 (IPv6)

Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) is the latest version of the internet protocol that identifies devices on the internet and a local network.

However, IPv6 can also cause the “DNS server is not responding” issue. Therefore, consider disabling IPv6 if the previous solutions still don’t solve the problem.

To disable IPv6 on Windows, do the following:

  1. Go to Network Connections, right-click on the active connection, and select Properties.
  2. Under the Networking tab, locate Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and unselect the box.
Screenshot of Windows Networking settings where you can select internet protocol version
  1. Click OK.

Here are the steps to turn off IPv6 on your Mac:

  1. Navigate to the Apple menu -> System Preferences> Network.
  2. Select the current network connection and click on Advanced -> TCP/IP.
Screenshot of Mac Network window illustrating how to turn off IPv6
  1. Click on the Configure IPv6 drop-down menu and set it to Off. Click OK.

If the off option is not available in the Configure IPv6 drop-down menu, try to disable IPv6 with the command line.

To disable IPv6 on a wireless connection, open the Terminal app on your Mac and run the following command:

networksetup -setv6off Wi-Fi

If you want to deactivate IPv6 on an ethernet connection, use this command instead:

networksetup -setv6off Ethernet

It’s also possible to disable IPv6 on a wireless and ethernet connection together by entering the following command:

networksetup -setv6off Ethernet && networksetup -setv6off Wi-Fi

Ensure to restart your device and connect to the internet again to check whether the “DNS server not responding” issue is resolved.

11. Update the Network Adapter Driver

An outdated network adapter driver can also be why the “DNS server not responding” issue appears on your Windows computer.

There are two options to update your network adapter driver – either manually or automatically.

Manually updating a network adapter driver can be challenging for beginners unfamiliar with driver software. Therefore, it’s recommended to automate it with a tool like Driver Easy, which can help download and install the correct drivers for your system.

Keep in mind that it’s essential to create a system restore point in your Windows before using the free version of Driver Easy. Doing so lets your computer turn to its previous state if an unexpected event happens.

To automatically update your network adapter driver with Driver Easy, follow these steps:

  1. Download and install the Driver Easy software on your computer.
  2. Run the software and click the Scan Now button.
A screenshot showing the dashboard of Driver Easy software
  1. Click the Update button next to each of the outdated drivers.
  2. Wait for the download and installation process to complete and restart your computer.

Once you’re done with the process, revisit the website you want to access and see if this method has resolved the “DNS server not responding” issue.

What Causes the “DNS Server Not Responding” Error?

One of the more common causes for DNS issues is improperly configured DNS records. This might happen when users don’t put in the right values or the correct IP address during the recording process.

Here are other possible causes of the “DNS server not responding” error:

  • Unavailable DNS provider. Your DNS service might stop working because of DNS errors on its network, such as heavy traffic and server outage.
  • Malfunctioning router or modem. A faulty router or modem can also trigger DNS errors. Try switching the ethernet ports or using different ethernet cables to determine whether your router is causing the DNS problem.
  • Hardware or network issues. Some hardware or network failures can also cause the “DNS server not responding” error. For example, a single server fails to relay the information to the next server correctly.
  • Antivirus software. Problems can occur when the software vendor updates an antivirus program, making the program believe your computer is infected and suddenly block your internet access. When this happens, your browser might show the “DNS server not responding” message.

Conclusion

The “DNS server not responding” message means that your browser cannot connect to the internet.

Several causes of DNS errors include misconfigured DNS records, unavailable DNS services, a faulty router or modem, hardware or network issues, and antivirus software errors.

Here are some of the most common methods to fix the “DNS server not responding” issue:

  • Troubleshoot network problems. Run network diagnostics to identify and troubleshoot internet connection problems.
  • Restart modem or router. Clear your modem or router’s cache by pressing its power button and unplugging its power cable.
  • Deactivate antivirus and firewall. Temporarily disabling your antivirus and firewall programs might help to solve the DNS issue.
  • Flush DNS cache. Clear the router cache to refresh the DNS configuration.
  • Change the DNS server address. Replace your ISP’s address with a different DNS address.

We hope this article has helped you solve the “DNS server not responding” issue.

If you have any more questions or suggestions, please share them in the comments section below.

Author
The author

Tom Miller

Tom is a content management system expert and developer. He is passionate about helping people thrive online. Tom loves comic books and playing with his dog Luna.