How to Fix “DNS Server Not Responding” Error

We’ve all encountered DNS errors before. Sometimes they appear as minor errors when attempting to search for a specific web page.

Other times, they appear to web developers, designers, and WordPress site owners as more serious problems.

While DNS Server Errors are common, they can cause a drop in net site traffic and impact site performance if left too long.

Our experts at Knownhost have many ways to solve DNS issues. The most common ones will be listed below.

A glowing orange server block.

What Is The “DNS Server Not Responding” Error?

Before understanding how to fix this error, it’s important to understand what a DNS server error is.

A DNS (Domain Name System) is responsible for translating domain names into corresponding IP addresses. Think of it like a phonebook for the internet, converting domain names into machine-readable IP addresses.

When a DNS server error occurs, it means that the DNS server cannot fulfill the requested domain name resolution.

This can result in various issues, like the inability to access websites, email problems, or difficulties connecting to online services.

For a more in-depth look at DNS Server Systems, why not take a look at our expert guide?

Common DNS Error Causes

Common DNS error causes include:

  • DNS Server Issues: Problems with the DNS server itself — like server downtime, misconfiguration, or overload — can result in DNS errors. If the DNS server is not functioning properly, it may be unable to resolve domain names.
  • Network Connectivity Issues: Issues with the network connection, like a weak or intermittent connection, can disrupt the communication between the device and the DNS server, leading to DNS errors. This typically occurs during network outages, hardware failures, or interference.
  • DNS Cache Issues: DNS cache stores previously resolved domain name and IP address mappings to improve efficiency. However, if the cache becomes outdated, corrupted, or contains incorrect entries, it can result in DNS errors.
  • Incorrect DNS Server Settings: If the DNS server addresses are misconfigured on the device or network settings, it can lead to DNS errors. This may occur due to errors when manually entering addresses or when using incorrect DNS server addresses.
  • Firewall/antivirus Software Restrictions: Firewall or antivirus software can sometimes impose restrictions on DNS requests, blocking or interfering with the communication between a device and the DNS server. Adjusting the firewall or antivirus settings may be necessary to resolve DNS errors.
  • Misconfigured Network Adapters: Network adapters on devices may have incorrect configuration settings, like incorrect IP settings or DNS server addresses. These misconfigurations can cause DNS errors when trying to connect to websites or other online services.

For more information on DNS Server Errors, why not check out our guide on DNS records, as well as all the other guides on Knownhost’s knowledge base.

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With KnownHost’s dedicated servers, you can effectively address DNS issues and ensure smooth and efficient domain name resolution for your websites and applications.


How To Fix The ‘DNS Server Not Responding’ Error

Below are several possible solutions to the ‘DNS Server Not Responding’ Error:

  1. Try Using a Different Browser: Sometimes, the issue may be specific to the browser you are using. Try accessing websites using a different browser to see if the DNS error persists.
  2. Try Using a Different Device: If possible, try accessing the websites on a different device, like a smartphone or tablet, to check if the DNS error is device specific.
  3. Try Restarting Your Computer: A simple restart can help resolve temporary network issues and refresh the DNS settings on your computer.
  4. Try Troubleshooting Network Problems: Use the built-in network troubleshooter on your operating system to detect and fix any network-related problems automatically.
  1. Mac: Go to System Preferences > Network > Assist me.
  2. Windows: Open Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Troubleshoot problems.
  3. Linux: Use command-line tools like ifconfig, ping, or network manager GUI (varying based on the Linux distribution).
  4. Try Using Your Computer in Safe Mode: Boot your computer into safe mode to check if any third-party applications or services are causing conflicts with the DNS resolution. If the error does not occur in safe mode, it indicates that a third-party program may be responsible.
  1. Mac: Restart your Mac and hold down the Shift key until you see the Apple logo and progress bar.
  2. Windows: Press the Windows key + R, type “msconfig,” go to the “Boot” tab, check “Safe boot,” and click “Apply” and “OK.” Restart your computer.
  3. Linux: Restart your computer and, at the boot menu, select “Advanced options” or “Recovery mode”. Then choose the option for “Safe Mode” or “Safe Graphics Mode.”
  4. Try Disabling Your Antivirus Software and Firewall: Temporarily disable your antivirus software and firewall to check if they are blocking DNS requests. If the error disappears after disabling them, adjust the settings or whitelist the necessary programs to allow DNS communication.
  1. Mac: On Mac, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Firewall or Privacy tab to disable the firewall. To disable antivirus, you may need to access the antivirus software’s settings and disable real-time protection, or temporarily quit the antivirus application.
  2. Linux: The process for disabling the firewall and antivirus can vary depending on the Linux distribution and the specific firewall/antivirus software being used. Generally, you can disable the firewall using the terminal with commands such as “sudo ufw disable” or “sudo systemctl stop firewalld”. To disable antivirus, you’ll need to refer to the documentation or settings of the specific antivirus software installed on your Linux system.
  3. Windows: On Windows, you can disable the built-in Windows Firewall by going to Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Defender Firewall > Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off. To disable third-party antivirus software, locate the antivirus program’s icon in the system tray or open the antivirus software’s interface and look for options to disable real-time protection or temporarily turn off the antivirus program. The exact steps may vary depending on the antivirus software you are using.
  1. Try Disabling Your VPN If Using One: If you are using a VPN (Virtual Private Network), temporarily disable it to see if it is causing the DNS error. Some VPN configurations can interfere with DNS resolution.
  2. Try Disabling Secondary Connections: Disable any secondary network connections, such as Ethernet adapters or virtual network adapters that are not in use to avoid potential conflicts.
  1. Mac: On Mac, go to System Preferences > Network. Select the secondary connection (such as Ethernet or Wi-Fi) from the list and click the “-” button to remove it.
  2. Linux: Use the terminal and the appropriate commands based on your Linux distribution. For example, you can use the “ifconfig” or “ip” command to disable secondary connections. For instance, “sudo ifconfig eth1 down” will disable the “eth1” Ethernet interface.
  3. Windows: Open the Control Panel and go to Network and Sharing Center. Click on “Change adapter settings” to view the network connections. Right-click on the secondary connection, such as Ethernet or Wi-Fi, and select “Disable” from the context menu.
  1. Try Restarting Your Router: Power cycle your router by unplugging it from the power source, waiting for a few seconds, and then plugging it back in. This can help resolve temporary router issues.
  2. Try Updating Your Network Adapter Drivers: Outdated or incompatible network adapter drivers can cause DNS errors. Visit the manufacturer’s website for your network adapter and download the latest drivers.
  1. Linux: The process for updating network adapter drivers on Linux can vary depending on the distribution and the specific network adapter. It is often recommended to use the package manager of your Linux distribution to update drivers. For example, on Ubuntu, you can use the “apt” command or “Software Updater” to update drivers and packages.
  2. Mac: On a Mac, network adapter drivers are usually updated as part of the macOS system updates. Keep your macOS up to date by going to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update and installing any available updates. This will include updates for network adapter drivers.
  3. Windows: To update network adapter drivers on Windows, you can use the Device Manager. Right-click on the Start button, select Device Manager and expand the Network adapters category. Right-click on the network adapter you want to update and select “Update driver.” Choose to search automatically for updated driver software or manually download the latest driver from the manufacturer’s website and select “Browse my computer for drivers” to install it.
  1. Try Flushing Your DNS Cache: Open the command prompt (Windows) or terminal (Mac/Linux) and enter the appropriate command to flush the DNS cache. For Windows, use the command “ipconfig /flushdns,” and for Mac/Linux, use “sudo dscacheutil -flushcache” or “sudo systemd-resolve –flush-caches.”
    1. For more information about clearing your DNS cache, browse our knowledgebase on How To Clear Your DNS Cache.
  2. Try Resetting Your IP Address: Open the command prompt (Windows) or terminal (Mac/Linux) and enter the appropriate command to release and renew your IP address. For Windows, use the commands “ipconfig /release” followed by “ipconfig /renew.” For Mac/Linux, use “sudo ipconfig set en0 BOOTP” and then “sudo ipconfig set en0 DHCP.”
  3. Try Disabling IPv6: If you are using IPv6, temporarily disable it and rely on IPv4 for DNS resolution. This can be done through the network adapter settings on your computer.
  1. Mac: On Mac, go to System Preferences > Network. Select your network connection (e.g., Wi-Fi or Ethernet) and click on the “Advanced” button. Go to the “TCP/IP” tab and set the “Configure IPv6” option to “Off.”
  2. Windows: Open the Control Panel and go to Network and Sharing Center. Click on the network connection you want to modify, then click on “Properties.” Scroll down and uncheck the “Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6)” option, and click “OK” to disable IPv6.
  3. Linux: The process for disabling IPv6 on Linux can vary depending on the distribution. One common method is to modify the network configuration file. Open the terminal and edit the network configuration file, such as “/etc/sysctl.conf” or “/etc/default/grub,” and add or modify a line to disable IPv6. For example, you can add the line “net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6 = 1” and then restart the network service or reboot the system for the changes to take effect.
  4. Try Changing Your Default DNS Server: Manually configure your network adapter settings to use a different DNS server. Public DNS servers like Google DNS ( and or Cloudflare DNS ( and are popular options.
  1. Mac: System Preferences > Network > Advanced > DNS > Add desired DNS server.
  2. Windows: Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Properties > TCP/IPv4 or TCP/IPv6 > Use the following DNS server addresses > Enter desired DNS server.
  3. Linux: Edit network configuration file (e.g., /etc/resolv.conf) > Add or modify “nameserver” directive with the desired DNS server’s IP address.
  4. Try Disabling the Peer-to-Peer Feature (Windows only): In Windows settings, navigate to “Update & Security” > “Delivery Optimization” and disable the “Allow downloads from other PCs” option.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is It Safe to Reset DNS?

A: Resetting DNS is safe and often helps resolve common network issues. It clears the DNS cache and resets any misconfigurations. However, make sure you have a backup of any custom DNS settings, and be aware that resetting DNS may temporarily interrupt internet connectivity until the DNS cache rebuilds.

Q: How Do I Check If My DNS Is Working Properly?

A: To check if your DNS is working properly, you can perform a DNS lookup. Use the “nslookup” command in the command prompt or terminal on Windows and enter a domain name. If you receive a valid IP address in the response, your DNS is functioning correctly.

Equally, you can use any DNS testing website if you’re struggling with any command prompts.Q: How Do I Unblock a DNS Server?

A: If you are experiencing issues with a blocked DNS server, there are a few steps you can take to resolve the problem. First, check your firewall settings to make sure that port 53 — which is used for DNS — is not blocked. Additionally, verify that your network configuration does not have any restrictions or filters that could be blocking the DNS server.

If necessary, consult your network administrator or internet service provider for assistance in unblocking the DNS server. Finally, try restarting your router and devices to refresh the network connections, as this can often help resolve connectivity issues.