How to Fix a DNS Error

by Jeff Grundy Google
    Imagine having to type a hard-to-remember IP address to reach any websites.

    Imagine having to type a hard-to-remember IP address to reach any websites.

    Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

    The Domain Name System allows you to use easy-to-remember domain names when surfing the Internet. Without DNS, you would have to remember and enter obscure number values before you could view a website. For example, one of the many IP addresses Google uses for its search engine is 66.102.7.104. If DNS on your system does not function, you would need to enter the numeric IP address instead of "google.com" to reach the search engine. If you are experiencing problems connected to websites in your browser, and your connection is active, chances are there is a problem with your Windows DNS settings. Resolving DNS problems sometimes takes a bit of patience, but is something you can usually do yourself without calling tech support.

    Verify Windows TCP/IP Properties

    Step 1

    Click the Start button, and then click "Control Panel." Click "Network and Sharing Center" in the Control Panel window.

    Step 2

    Click the "Change adapter settings" link in the Network and Sharing Center window. After the list of installed network adapters appears, right-click the device name of the network adapter you use to connect to the Internet. For most desktop computers, there should be only one adapter in the list. If you have a laptop, there might be two: one for the wired network adapter and one for the wireless one. Click "Properties" on the popup list after you right-click the adapter device name.

    Step 3

    Select "Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)" in the Local Area Connection Properties window, then click the "Properties" button. Verify that the "Obtain DNS Server Address Automatically" option has a check mark next to and click the "OK" button. If the option is not active, enable it and click the "OK" button.

    Step 4

    Restart the computer. Open your preferred Web browser and attempt to surf the Internet again. Sometimes, simply restarting the computer and reinitializing the Windows DNS server settings fixes many DNS-related browsing problems.

    Flush the Windows DNS Cache

    Step 1

    Click Start, then type "cmd" -- without quotes here and throughout -- in the Search box. Press the "Enter" key or click the Magnifying Glass icon, then wait for the Command Prompt window to appear.

    Step 2

    Type the command "ipconfig /flushdns" at the Command Prompt. Do not forget to leave a space between the "g" in "ipconfig" and the "/" symbol. Wait a few seconds for Windows to confirm that it flushed the DNS Resolver Cache successfully.

    Step 3

    Close the Command Prompt window and restart your computer. You should now be able to access the Internet normally.

    Tips

    • Turn your router off and wait several seconds, then turn it back on again, if you're having problems accessing the Internet.
    • If flushing the DNS cache and power-cycling your router does not resolve your browser domain-name issues, the problem may be with the DNS server used by your Internet service provider (ISP). Contact your ISP and verify that their DNS servers are running and working normally. In many cases, simply waiting for the ISP's servers to come back online resolves most common DNS issues.
    • If there are no discernible problems with the Windows DNS cache or your ISP's DNS servers, you should check the Windows "HOSTS" file to ensure that a website was not added and blocked inadvertently. To check the file, open Windows Explorer and browse to the "C:\Windows\Windows\System32\Drivers\ETC" folder, and then open the "HOSTS" file with Notepad. Remove any entries for domain names or IP addresses for websites you want to view on the computer. Windows blocks access to any domain name or IP address listed in the HOSTS file.

    About the Author

    Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images