DNS Server Not Responding

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By Sina Nasiri

It had happened with most of us when we opened the browser only to be blown away by the message which says, the DNS server is not responding. This means you won’t be able to make connections with the internet from your computer. In technical terms, what is happening in the realm of binary codes is that the decentralized naming system responsible for making the hostnames turn into the IP address for the computer to understand them has failed to respond to the request sent by your computer.

There are several reasons that can lead to DNS servers not responding, and in this article, we will discuss all those issues. Fortunately, people from non-technical backgrounds can quickly fix most issues related to the DNS server as the solutions are quite simple to follow.

What is DNS and How Does it Work?

If you think about it, DNS is like a phonebook that we used to have back in the day when mobile phones were not smart enough to save tons of phone numbers in their memory. All information which we get from the internet is accessible via domain names. Domain names are the website names or website URL you type in your browser’s search bar. All the browsers interact with the help of Internet Protocol addresses, and DNS provides the translation of domain names into IP addresses so browsers will be able to load the internet resources.

Every device which is connected to the internet has its own unique IP address, which makes it easier for the other devices on the internet to find it. A DNS server takes away the need to memorize the IP address, which is quite hard to remember in the first place.

Now talking about how a DNS server works, the primary process of DNS is converting the hostname into a computer-friendly IP address. We have already mentioned that IP addresses are assigned to each individual system that is connected to the internet. The IP address is necessary, and it is more like a street address that is used to find a particular residence. In the same way, when a user wants to load a web page, a translation needs to occur between what a user types into their browser, such as Facebook.com, Instagram.com, etc. to the machine-friendly address (IP address) which is required to locate the webpage.

Methods to Fix the DNS Server Not Responding Issue (in Both Windows and macOS devices)

Here are some simple yet effective methods that you can follow to eliminate the issue of the DNS server not responding:

1. Switch to Different Browser

One of the first steps of troubleshooting the issue of DNS servers not responding is by switching to the other browser or updating the browser with the latest patch.

To perform this troubleshooting, you need to open the internet from another browser. For example, if you are using Google Chrome to browse the internet, try to access the web with Microsoft Edge browser.

Now, if the problem has been eradicated by changing the browser and everything is working. It means your browser needs an update. You can uninstall the browser which you are currently using and download its latest version from the official website. On the other hand, if the second browser is also showing the error, you should rule out this option and try some other method.

2. Start Your Computer In Safe Mode

Now the browser is out of the question and we need to look at the software side of things that could be the problem. Let’s say one day you start your computer and find the OS not working as you desired it to be. In addition to this, when you are opening the browser, the page shows you the error of DNS not responding. Also, your OS might be crashing time after time during the usage without any warning. Well, in these cases, the first thing you need to do is restart your system in safe mode. The safe mode runs your system in a very basic state and allows you to find and fix various issues.

One key thing you need to keep in mind while entering the safe mode is to enable networking. There are two options within the safe mode, one with networking and the other without networking. To find out the issue with the DNS server not responding, you first need to have a working network in safe mode.

If you are able to browse the internet in safe mode without the DNS server error, it means that your computer is affected by a virus or malware, which needs to be removed. You can use antivirus software or reinstall the OS on your system to get rid of the viruses and malware.

Note: When installing a new version of OS on a computer, make sure you back up all the essential files.

3. Disable Your Antivirus Temporarily

No wonder antivirus software can help to keep your data safe and hackers away from getting past your system’s security. But when you are using an antivirus with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection, sometimes it will cause DNS to stop responding. We know how important it is to have an antivirus for safeguarding your device, but the combination of VPN and Antivirus could be a problem.

To deactivate Antivirus in Windows operating system, you need to visit the control panel and navigate to Update & Security > Windows Security > Virus & Threat Protection > Manage Settings.

On the other hand, a user working on a macOS device needs to check System Preferences > Security & Privacy.

Now after deactivating the antivirus program, you need to check the browser and try visiting a website to see if the problem has been solved. Also, you may need to update the antivirus program, if available, to make it work properly. If the issue of the DNS server not responding still persists after updating the antivirus, then you might consider configuring it for a specific application like your browser so that it automatically disables itself when browsing the internet. But we expect you not to follow the latter solution and go for another antivirus program that lets you browse the internet while being active.

4. Change the DNS Server

This solution is a bit technical, but we will assist you in following it even if you are from a non-technical background. If you have tried every other solution and the problem of DNS is still there keeping you away from accessing the internet, you might need to change the DNS server connected to your IP address. The public DNS servers are both maintained and owned by Google. These servers function as a recursive name for providing the domain name resolution for many hosts trying to access the internet. With the help of these public DNS servers, you are going to change your DNS server manually.

To change your DNS server, you need to access the “network connection settings” on your system. After that, right-click the start menu and select “Network Connections.” The alternative path could be to directly go to the “settings” and click on the “Network & Internet.

In the Network & Internet Settings window, you need to select the connection type on the left pane and then click on “change adapter options.” After that, right-click on the connection and then select “properties” from the drop-down menu. Now select “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and click on its “properties.

In your Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPV4) properties window, select “Use the following DNS server addresses,” and enter as your “preferred DNS server.” The “alternate DNS server” will be Click “OK” to apply the changes. Now you have to go to the browser and check if the problem has been solved.

5. Enter Your Mac Address Manually

Up till now, you have checked your internet browser, antivirus program, operating system, and DNS server. The fifth solution would be to check the Mac address of the system and update it manually.

To change the Mac address on Windows OS, you need to visit Device Manager. Then you need to click on the Network Adapter to open up the list of different adapters which are installed on windows. You need to find the adapter by the name of your network card. Right-click on it and choose Properties from the menu.

In the properties window, you need to select the advanced tab. Now there will be several properties that you can configure. Now, look for the Network Address, click on it and type the new Mac address on the right side below the value. When you are all done, press the OK button to save all the properties and changes.

For Mac users, you need to search for the system preferences and click on the network. Once you are in the network menu, click on the “Advanced…” button. Now go to the Hardware Tab, and there you can see the Mac address of your system, update it and save the settings. After that, open the browser and check if the internet is working.

6. Clear Your DNS Cache

Sometimes the error of the DNS server not responding is due to the insertion of an extra DNS cache in the memory, which you need to remove. To clear out the DNS cache in your Windows system, you need to open the command prompt and run it as administrator. After that, type in the command “ipconfig/flushdns” and press enter to execute it. All the DNS cache will be wiped out from memory, leaving plenty of space for new information to be inserted.

On the other hand, for macOS users, you need to go to the terminal and type in the common “sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder” and press the return key on your keyboard. The terminal will ask you to provide the administrator password for the account. Enter the password and then once again press Return. There is one thing that macOS lacks, and that is a notification after the DNS cache has been flushed out. So, in case you want to hear the audio to notify you about the process completion, you can type “sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder; say dns cleared successfully.”

7. Update Your Drivers

The problem of DNS not working could be due to outdated drivers. Most of the computers automatically update the drivers while the laptop is in sleep mode or in the background, so the user doesn’t have to worry about manually updating them. However, sometimes, the network drivers need to be updated manually.

To update the drivers manually, go to the device manager of your computer and locate the network adapter option. Right-click on the network adapter and uninstall it. The confirmation window will pop up asking you if you are sure about uninstalling the driver. You need to press uninstall and click on the box which says “delete the driver software for this device.

Once the driver gets deleted, you need to restart your computer, and upon the restart, the default network driver will be installed on your computer. If the problem is still there, install the latest drivers from the device manager to solve the issue.

8. Faulty Router Or Modem

Now that you have done everything which could be done from the software side, it’s time to look at your network hardware. A DNS might not be working due to your internet connection having some issues. Restarting your router and modem could fix the problem. You simply need to power off your modem and wait for 30 seconds before restarting it.

Once you switch on the router back again, wait for 2 minutes as to how long some router might take to assign each device a new private IP address which is set by the DHCP in the first place. After the router starts working, connect your system with it and check if your browser is able to connect with the internet.

9. Deactivating Firewall Settings

Apart from disabling your installed Antivirus, you can also try disabling your firewall for some time. It is undoubtedly essential to have a Windows Defender firewall to be up and running as it protects your system from unwanted access. But sometimes it’s the firewall settings that could be responsible for the DNS server issue.

To turn off the Windows Firewall settings, you need to access the Windows Settings> Update & Security> Windows & Security and then click on the Firewall & Network Protection.

Select the network profile under your Microsoft Defender Firewall, switch OFF the firewall protection. In case you are connected to a network, the setting might not get updated.

10. Disable IPv6 And Other Networks

The last resort is to disable the IPv6 network. An IP is a communication protocol that provides both the geological location and is also used for identifying a device connected to the internet. The introduction of IPv6 was done after IPv4 addresses were exhausted. In some cases, the use of IPv6 can be the reason for network problems. To disable only the IPv6 protocols, you need to open the control panel and open the network and internet settings.

Now in your network and sharing center, you will find “view network status and tasks“, you need to click on it. Next, you need to click on the “local area connection” option. A pop-up window will appear that includes all the details, now wait for the other pop-up to appear and click on the Properties button. Uncheck the box alongside “Internet Protocol Version (TCP/IPV6)” and click on the OK button to save all the settings. Now check if you can now access the internet on your browser.


So these were the top 10 methods that you can perform to fix the issue of the DNS server not responding. If the problem is still there, you should immediately contact your internet service provider and ask them to assist you in clearing out this issue. DNS server not responding isn’t a big issue and can be resolved easily. However, you may need professional help if you are unable to find the root cause for the issue to occur on your system.

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