How To Fix DNS Server When It's Not Responding

2018-01-26 by Caroline Bird

One thing that no IT administrator ever wants is an "exciting" server. In fact, boring and predictable is always a better option, especially when dealing with a DNS server. Domain name servers are the glue that holds the internet together. When one of them shows signs of instability, bad things may happen!

If your DNS server quits responding, there are a few things to look for when you're seeking a fix. If you got a "Server DNS Address Could Not Be Found" or another error while surfing the web, the DNS server failing is a likely culprit. Microsoft has made it relatively easy for you to confirm your suspicion. Begin the steps necessary on how to fix DNS server not responding and you'll have your solution quick enough.

Begin with a Quick Check of Your Network Status

Any time you have an internet error on Windows 10 it's worth typing in Network and opening the Status screen. Microsoft offers up insights on this page to help you pinpoint the trouble quickly. The first point to start with is to click on "Network troubleshooting" to let them scan your system for configuration or hardware failure issues. If they find one, they'll prompt you to repair.

If this fixes your problem, great! If not, there are a few other steps to take before you become too nervous. If you find that you are still having issues connecting to websites and getting a message about DNS, check with a different device on your network and see if that is suffering from the same symptoms.

The Problem May Lie with Your ISP

If you find that your network is having the issue and not just a single device, it may be a DNS server problem on your ISP's end. If that's the case, changing the DNS server on your local machine will do the trick and get you back to surfing fast. To lookup the address of online sites, your device checks their name against a domain server located somewhere on the internet. If for some reason, your device can't find that machine, it will fail consistently for all requests.

Most configurations rely on the DNS server of the ISP for all requests. For the most part, that arrangement works out fine. However, when something goes wrong, it eliminates all usage. The internet experience just isn't the same when you can't resolve domain names! For this reason, public DNS servers exist. Google, for one, manages public DNS servers that are fast and reliable. When you're considering how to fix DNS server not responding errors, it's worth switching to a public DNS backup for a quick test.

Query Public DNS Servers to See If They Respond

For the most part, there's little chance that a public DNS server will be down at the same time as your ISP's. That's why a quick check will at least settle the issue of precisely what's causing your lookup problems. To find out, use Google's public DNS by setting it in Windows 10. Click on Network and right-click on Properties to bring up the window where you'll change the DNS settings.

Select the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and once again click Properties to bring up the box to change server settings. For the Primary DNS use an IP address of For the Secondary DNS, the IP address you'll use is Once you put both of those in, make sure to apply your settings. Now it's time to see if this step works. Go ahead and re-open your browser to see if surfing the web is normal. If it is, you can feel free to use these servers. They are public, after all.

If you're still having trouble using these DNS servers, you'll need to move on to the next phase of troubleshooting. Luckily, there are more steps to take to learn how to fix DNS server. With Windows, there's always a chance that either your antivirus software or your firewall settings are blocking connections. If that's the case, something is throttling the DNS server on your end, which is easy enough to repair. In this case, the DNS server problem fix is as simple as disabling the software long enough to check and then changing the settings.

Disable Both Your Antivirus Software and Firewall Temporarily for Debugging

Disabling the program should be simple enough. You'll find a button to exit or pause the software long enough to run your checks. Once you disable antivirus and firewall software, you can see if the problem persists. If it does at this point, once again turn those back on and continue to press forward to resolve the core problem.

It's worth a restart of your modem and your device at this stage of the game. It's possible that a program crashed and a simple reboot will get your running again. Turn off all connected devices and your modem and the boot back up the machine you're testing. You should be able to gain access once again to sites by name. If you can't, you'll need to continue looking for answers.

Now It's Time to Flush Your DNS

Troubleshooting network problems can be tricky. There's always a chance that a misconfiguration or software crash is causing the issue. That's the reason freshly booting up the devices is still a reasonable choice. Crashed programs can start cleanly that way, and you'll also get a chance to see any error messages, which will help you pinpoint the exact trouble. Whenever a fresh boot fails to cure an issue, evidence points to a broader issue. It's worth asking yourself if you recently made any changes that could be causing the problem?

Jog your memory and then retrace your steps. If you're confident you did no work that would cause this DNS problem, you may as well flush your DNS. The way to to do this is type "ipconfig /flushdns" in your search box. This command has the effect of removing cached DNS entries. It's entirely possible that you already fixed the core issue, but your device now has bad entries cached. This evidence would serve to make you think you still had the underlying problem, especially if you're attempting to connect to the same sites.

These necessary steps are how to fix DNS server in the vast majority of cases. That does not mean they will resolve every issue. Network connectivity problems are tricky, so you may as well contact your ISP at this point. You can tell them with confidence that you already went through all the necessary troubleshooting steps. It's always possible they have a temporary server outage, and your timing was just unfortunate.

If your ISP cannot find the problem, you may need to search for a DNS server problem fix through alternative means. If you have another device like your smartphone working, search engine searches may turn up information that's specific to your machine configuration. If not, you can always contact tech support or a repair center for further assistance. It's crucial that you maintain at least one backup way to go online, especially for cases like this.

Author Bio: Caroline is a writer with years of experience in business administration who currently writes for VPS hispeed . She enjoys meeting new people and reading more books to get inspired for her own book. Her twitter, @BCarolinebird12.


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Caroline Bird

Caroline Bird

HiSpeed VPS I am a tech blogger who works for a VPS service in Thailand. View Caroline Bird`s profile for more

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