If you want to access the internet, you normally choose a browser, which has access to The Domain Name System (DNS). If you have a problem such as the DNS Server not responding error, this is going to be a brick wall between you and the World Wide Web (WWW).
The good news is that you can fix most browser errors – but especially DNS-based ones – with a few tweaks to some options. Regardless of the browser you are using or the operating system (OS), you should be able to fix the problem within a few minutes.
For this post, we are going to show you how to fix the DNS Server not responding error. We’ll cover the steps for both Windows and macOS machines and tell you everything you need to know to get things right again.
What the DNS Server is not responding to error (and why it happens)
The cause of this error starts with the DNS. This is similar to a large lookup table, full of domain names and associated Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. When you type an address in the browser-for example, example.com -the DNS runs through the list of domains, locates the corresponding IP address (such as 203.0.113.0) and connects the points.
This gives you the option to type the domain URL instead of a string of server IP numbers and achieve the same results. However, this system is not infallible. You can often see numerous DNS errors that pop up, and DNS Server not responding is a common one.
In a nutshell, this error means that the browser does not have access to the internet. As such, the problem is a client-side one. There are many ways to diagnose and fix the error, and we’ll look at them next.
How the DNS Server does not respond error on Windows and Mac
We have seven different methods to help you fix the DNS Server is not responding error. Most are cross-platform, but one is Windows only. Either way, we’ll cover both Windows and macOS in depth throughout the article.
Here are the methods:
- Be sure to perform some basic computer checks.
- Boot your machine in Safe Mode.
- Clear your DNS cache and refresh your IP address.
- Disable the secondary connections to your computer.
- Windows users can disable Peer-to-Peer connections, which can help.
- Disable IPv6 connections.
- Change the DNS server for your computer.
- Of course, you will waste your time if the problem turns out to be simple. First, let’s take a look at some of the basic checks you need to do.
1. Do Some Basic Checks Before You Start
Before we get into most of the solutions, it’s a good idea to rule out simple problems that can prevent your browser from connecting to the internet. For example, there are some ‘ duh ‘ tasks that are good to check off first:
- Switch browsers and test the website in question, as you may have a problem with that one browser.
- Restart the computer because some dependencies and components that you install or update need to validate again. This will also give you a clean slate to start from.
- Turn off your antivirus and firewall if you use them. You only want to do this on a temporary basis, and you’ll probably want to do this on a Windows machine, as many macOS settings don’t use either. This type of software is concerned with blocking connections, so you want a clear path between the server and the browser.
- It’s likely that you’ve already done some of these steps, but it’s good to check each step again to rule them out. Once you do this and still get the error that the DNS Server is not responding, You can go to the appropriate solutions.
2. Start Your Computer In Safe Mode
Because the DNS Server is unresponsive and is client-side, you’ll want to search your own computer for the cause. There is no greater cause than your operating system, and although in the previous section we mention restarting the machine, there is an advanced version that you can also try.
Each operating system has a “safe mode”, which loads the absolute minimum it needs to work. This is great for diagnosing problems, as you can feedback everything on the system and check if problems are still popping up.
To do this on a Windows machine, go to the Windows menu, click on / off, hold down Shift and press restart:
From here, Windows will restart in Safe Mode. Its use is almost the same as the “full-fat” version, but you can see some basic images and other deviations.
On macOS, there are two different methods to access safe mode, depending on your processor. With Intel processors, hold down the Shift key when you start the machine. For Apple Silicon processors, there is a more complicated workflow.
First, turn off the machine. Then press and hold the power button to turn on the Mac. You will see the Startup Options window. Here, select your boot disk and hold down the Shift key while clicking Continue in Safe Mode.
Once you log in, you will be in Safe Mode.
3. Flush your DNS Cache (and release your IP address)
Like other solutions that use a cache, your computer’S DNS settings may need to be refreshed. To do this on macOS, you can open a terminal window using Spotlight:
Then enter dscacheutil-flushcache and press the Enter key. You don’t see a success message, but it clears the DNS cache. To release your IP address, open the System Preferences > Network screen and then click the Advanced button:
For Windows, the process is similar. First, Open a command prompt through the desired method – here we are going to search for the app from the Windows Search bar:
4. Disable any “secondary connections” to your Computer
While in the respective network screens for your operating system, you can also look at disabling secondary connections that can interfere with your primary connection.
5. Disable Peer-to-Peer connections (only for Windows 10 users)
This next method does not apply to macOS users, but Windows has a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) connection that you may want to review to resolve the DNS Server unresponsive error. It’s a way to spread and balance the load of Windows updates across a network, and it can affect your normal connection in some matters.
6. Disable IPv6 Connections
Your IP version determines how you connect to the web and also how traffic routes between the different networks. IPv4 is the standard and has been for a while. However, there is a newer version – IPv6-which is a worthwhile upgrade in most matters, although it can cause problems such as the DNS Server not responding error.
Once you do this, check your browser for the error message that the DNS Server is not responding (and may restart your computer to see the changes).
7. Change the default DNS Server for your Computer
Given the nature of the DNS Server not responding error, you can change the actual DNS server you are using, which will solve a lot of problems if you have them. As with running IPv6, both Windows and Mac have different approaches.
You want to navigate to the network connections screen again. Right-Click your primary internet adapter (for example, your Wi-Fi) and choose Properties.
For macOS, go to the network window again and click the Advanced button. This time, choose the DNS tab. On the left is a list of system DNS servers. To add a new one, choose the plus icon, then add your DNS server address:
Your browser’s connection to the internet is usually stable and solid. However, in some matters, you can find an error that may seem confusing at first glance. The DNS Server does not respond error is one of them, but it is easy to correct.
There are a few methods you can run, and the process differs depending on your operating system. Still, any approach often involves disabling elements such as IPv6 or your secondary internet connections. In rare matters, you need to flush the DNS cache for your system through the command line.