DNS Server Not Responding: The Complete Guide

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Jun 26, 2022

Internet connection problems are annoying, especially when working on an online project. The most common error you see on the screen is “DNS server is not responding.” But what exactly is this error, and what can you do about it?

DNS issues are common, but they can still make your work harder and your day more challenging. The good thing is there are many options you can choose to fix these DNS server issues. Let’s begin with some basics first.

What is a DNS?

DNS, or Domain Name System, is a directory used to convert domain names or hostnames into an IP (Internet Protocol) address. The DNS allows users to access any website almost immediately and browse the internet.

However, systems that face issues with their DNS server cannot run web pages or access the internet.

“DNS Server Not Responding” is still the most common error. It means that the system cannot connect to the web pages because it fails to correctly map the hostname and domain names.

Users may see this error for various reasons, including simple ones like misconfigured internet adapters and wrong DNS addresses. Therefore, there is not one kind of issue you will encounter while trying to solve the problem.

However, it is not difficult to identify and resolve these issues if you know the proper methods.

What Does “DNS Server Not Responding” Mean?

The error means that the system could not access the internet because it could not connect to the domain DNS, making it unavailable for access. People use different approaches while trying to resolve this issue.

For instance, most people try restarting their internet router as it can be a simple misconfiguration issue, which they can resolve right away. In other cases, people also try to restart their computers to ensure that the system connects to the internet properly.

What Can Cause DNS Server Not Responding Error?

Here is a list of some possible reasons for a DNS Server connectivity issue:

Unavailable DNS Provider
Heavy traffic and server outage are common backend network issues that can stop your device’s internet.

Router or Modem Issues
Issues with the router or modem can also cause DNS server issues. There are many fixes, like checking the Ethernet cables and ports to determine the leading cause of the malfunction.

Hardware and Network Issues
Hardware issues can also cause DNS Network connectivity issues. For example, if the server fails to correctly transmit the information to the next server.

Antivirus Problems
Problems with Antivirus programs can also stop the network connection from operating correctly.

While these simple fixes may work for some users, not everyone can benefit from them. Let’s go over some of the best ways to fix the DNS Server Not Responding Error that might pop up on your computer systems.

9 Troubleshooting Steps for a DNS Server Not Responding Issue

1. Resolve Network Issues on Windows

As you understand, the DNS server issues are mainly because of network connectivity issues. However, resolving these network issues works differently for Mac and Windows Users. Copy the following steps to ensure you resolve all possible DNS server issues for better internet connectivity.

Resolve Network Issues on PC

Access the Control panel on your Windows, find Network and Internet, and click on Network and Sharing Center.

  • Select the Troubleshoot option and access your network settings by clicking on it.
  • Click on additional troubleshooters, then on Internet connections to run the troubleshooter.
  • Users can also click on the internet icon on the bottom right of the screen and access the troubleshoot problems by right-clicking it.
  • Wait for the system to run the troubleshooting and check if your DNS server error resolves. If not, the system displays steps to repair connectivity to help resolve the issue.

Resolve Network Issues on Mac

  • Running wireless diagnostics on Mac works a bit differently than on Windows.
  • Start by closing all the applications and connecting to the internet network you face the DNS server issue with.
  • Click on the Options button and access the Wi-Fi Status listed on the screen. Access and choose the Open Diagnostics option listed.
  • Next, check your network connection for possible issues and try to resolve them by going through the guide on the screen.
  • The system will run a quick scan, and you can view the status and details of each entry on the list by clicking the Info icon on the screen and selecting Summary from it.

These steps will likely resolve your DNS server issues; if not, continue to the following method we have listed below.

2. Try Connecting on a Different Device

Often, DNS server issues can be because of a faulty device, so you need to try connecting to another. If the other device can access the internet, your primary device is faulty.

However, users that cannot access the internet still likely have a problem with their internet router.

It all depends on the kind of situation a user faces, and running this quick diagnostic method can help determine the right reason. There is a simpler alternative; users can use their mobile data to check if their internet devices are faulty.

Users who can connect to the internet on either of the options will know the actual problem they are facing with the internet connection.

3. Try another Web Browser

The issues with the DNS server can often be because of an incompatible web browser. There are chances that you may experience your browsers facing connectivity issue, which is not visible right away.

The easiest way to check if your web browser is the culprit is to try another one. You can choose between popular browsers like Google, Opera, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, etc.

Users that continue to face connectivity issues are likely having trouble with something else. If you are using Google Chrome, try switching to Mozilla Firefox and check the same web pages that you wished to access. 

The easiest way to resolve the browser issue is to make the working browser your default search engine and reinstall the faulty internet browser. It will help the software restore all the required files, which may solve the DNS Server Not Responding error.

Users can make the newly installed browser their default software and continue to use it instead.

4. Run your PC in Safe Mode

The operating system (whether Windows or Mac) plays an essential role in network connectivity, and it runs all the files required in the backend for internet browsing.

Any trouble could lead to a severe problem because the PC will have insufficient files for internet connectivity, leading to DNS server issues. 

You need to check if the DNS server problems arise because of connectivity problems from the operating system by running the PC in safe mode. For this, users need to restart the system in the safe mode, which is a simpler version of the operating system.

It will limit your system’s processes, files, and functions.

Starting in Safe Mode (for PC)

Following are some steps that users can follow to restart their systems in Safe Mode.

  • Access the start menu by pressing the button on the screen or the keyboard, pressing the shift key, and restarting.
  • A new Choose an Option window will popup where you need to select Advanced Options and click on the Restart to reboot the PC.
  • Next, users need to access the Startup settings under the Advanced Options menu and click on Restart.
  • Lastly, press F5 on the keyboard to select the Safe Mode Networking Options to view all the PC processes underway.

Once you reach the settings, check if the DNS is fully connected.

Starting in Safe Mode (for Mac)

Starting the PC in safe mode for Mac devices is different than windows. Here are some steps you need to keep in mind.

  • Access the Apple menu and click on shut down. It should take up to 10 seconds to complete, after which you can proceed to the settings.
  • Press and hold the shift key as your Mac device turns on and wait until the login screen pops up again.
  • Check if your internet connection works once you are in safe mode on your respective system. If it is working okay, the chances are that you face the DNS server error because of a third-party application. It can be any third-party application, and you need to skim through your installed files to see which one it is.
  • Delete the application once you find it; reboot the system, and your DNS server connection error should resolve. Ensure that you deleted the third-party software properly, or the issue may happen again.

5. Restart Your Modem or Router

A modem or router not working is one of the most common reasons for the DNS server not responding to the error you might face and can cause connection errors and fail to link the device properly.

Reconnecting your modem or router to the system can help resolve this issue in most cases. Once you restart the router, you may also need to clear the data cache to give the modem a fresh start.

Unplug the connection cable from the router after turning it off by pressing the power button. Wait for around 30 seconds until the modem clears out all the data. Press the power button again, turn on the modem and reconnect the internet cable.

Your DNS server connectivity error should resolve right after this. However, users may need to reset the router’s settings if this doesn’t help. The exact instructions for resetting the routers will vary for each modem.

You’ll need to check the device instructions listed in the user manual.

6. Deactivate the AntiVirus and Firewall

Antivirus is protective software designed to save your computer from harmful/unidentifiable files. However, firewalls and antivirus can also cause DNS server connectivity issues.

It is easy to check if this is the problem by temporarily turning off the firewall software.

For Windows users, you will need to access the Control Panel and find the relevant settings on the list. Access the start menu and click on Settings, following to Update Security and finally to the Virus and Threat Protection Option Listed.

You can click on the Firewall and Antivirus button and deactivate it temporarily. The system will ask for confirmation before the deactivation, so, simply confirm the choice.

Mac users need to check the System Preferences, Find Security and Privacy, and Access the Firewall Option on the list.

Users should recheck the internet diagnostic and troubleshooting options listed above once they have deactivated the Firewall and Antivirus. Access the website you have trouble with from your PC, and it should be available.

If the problem resolves, the issue is with the antivirus and firewall settings. You’ll need to update and recheck them. The operating systems usually have an auto-update option that allows choosing the firewall settings.

Users can turn on the firewall and antivirus settings once the updates are complete. You have to turn on the settings, or it could leave your system prone to cyberattacks and malicious files.

7. Disconnect Other Connections

A computer system can connect with multiple networks over a period of time. For instance, what if you take your laptop to various locations and use the WiFi?

This can also cause the DNS Server not responding problem. Users can use the following steps to disable other connections listed on the device:

Deactivate Other Connections on a PC

  • Start by accessing the Control Panel and access the Network and Internet Option Listed.
  • Find the Network and Sharing Center option and click on Change Adapter Settings listed on the left column on the screen.
  • The settings will access the Network Connections page, where users can view the system’s different connections.
  • Click on Local Area Connection and other details that you do not use. Click on Disable, and the extra connections will turn off.

Deactivate Other Connections on a Mac

  • Access the Apple Menu and look for System Preferences.
  • Click on Network, and a new window will pop up.
  • Choose the number of unused connections on the screen on the left and click the minus (-) sign listed next to them. Pressing the minus sign will disconnect the network from the system.
  • Once you have disconnected the unused connections, restart the browser and try to reaccess the website.

8. Alter Your DNS Server Address

The DNS server address can often stop the system from accessing the domain name or hostname. You can resolve this issue by changing the DNS server address listed on the menu.

The internet connections are pre-designed to grab a DNS server address from the Internet Service Provider (IPS).

However, there are times when the system will not collect this information directly. Therefore, you will need to change the DNS server address manually. In other cases, the internet service provider’s DNS server may not respond, which will cause connectivity issues again.

Users can temporarily change their current DNS server address to resolve this problem and connect to a different one. It will allow your system to load any website you want until you can resolve the ISP problem.

You will find many online tools like Google Public DNS, which you can use for the time being. However, using them for a long time can be dangerous, so it is best to resolve the ISP connectivity issues.

Change DNS Settings on a PC

You can follow these steps to set up a different DNS server on your device.

  • Find the Network Connections listed by clicking on the ncpa.cpl in the search box of your operating system.
  • Find the network you are using on the list and click on Properties for more information.
  • Users need to look for the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option listed on the window and access the Properties.
  • Check the Obtain IP Address Automatically and fill in the preferred and alternate DNS server address settings.
  • Users can specify their desired DNS server address and Alternative DNS Server Address and confirm the settings.
  • You need to confirm your changes by clicking on Validate the Settings upon Exit and choosing OK.
  • Reboot your system, and the new DNS server address settings should apply.

Change DNS Settings on a Mac

Following are the additional steps you may need to follow for your Mac devices.

  • Users need to begin by accessing the Apple Menu and looking for the System Preferences options.
  • Access the Network button and click on your primary network connection. Select the Advanced Button and choose DNS.
  • Click on the Plus (+) button to add the DNS server address to the list. Click on OK and then Apply the settings.
  • Finally, restart your internet connection to see if the DNS Server Not Responding issue resolves.

9. Update the Network Connection Adapter

Outdated adapters on the device are another reason why the DNS server may fail to connect to your system. Users need to update their network adapted either automatically or manually.

Note that the automatic updates are ideal for new users who may not know much about DNS servers and network adapters.

However, manually updating the adapters will take more time if you are new to problem-solving network issues. You can select from various online tools or detectors to help identify the missing network adapters, install/update them as required, and manage other details.

Nonetheless, we suggest creating a system restore point that can help you bring your system back to its original setting if the network adapter updates take time.

Most auto-update programs involve checking the system for possible adapter issues and resolving them by installing/updating the required files.

Take Away

DNS Server Not Responding is a standard network connectivity issue that might appear often while using your device. It simply means that your system cannot connect to the internet, which usually happens due to server connectivity problems.

You can resolve these issues in several ways depending on the reason, but the following are the most effective and simplest ones.

· Troubleshooting Network Problems

Users should let the operating system’s in-built troubleshooting software handle the DNS server connectivity issues by running a diagnostic.

· Restarting the Router

Users can reset the modem or router by turning it off, unplugging the Ethernet, and reconnecting it after 30 seconds. Or, you can reset the modem setting by following the device manually.

· Flush DNS Cache

Clearing the cache will refresh the DNS configuration allowing the users to connect to the system again.

· Change the DNS Server Address

The ISP DNS server may not work in many cases, which can cause many problems. You need to replace the ISP DNS address with an alternative one for some time.

We are sure that the fixes we have mentioned on this blog will help you fix the “DNS Server Not Responding” error and reconnect your PC to the internet. We suggest you let an expert look at your system if you continue to have DNS server connectivity issues.

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