What Causes a DNS Server to Go Down?


Heather Bennett

Have you ever experienced the frustration of not being able to access a website or an online service? One of the possible reasons for this issue could be a DNS server going down. In this article, we will explore what causes a DNS server to go down and how it affects your internet experience.

What is a DNS Server?

Before we delve into the causes of a DNS server going down, let’s first understand what a DNS server is. DNS stands for Domain Name System, and it is responsible for translating human-readable domain names (such as www.example.com) into machine-readable IP addresses (such as

A DNS server acts as a directory that helps your device connect to the correct web server when you enter a URL in your browser. Without DNS, we would need to remember complex IP addresses for every website we want to visit.

Causes of DNS Server Downtime

There can be several reasons why a DNS server may go down. Let’s explore some common causes:

  • Network Connectivity Issues: The most common cause of DNS server downtime is network connectivity issues. If the physical connection between your device and the DNS server is disrupted due to factors like cable damage or power outage, the server becomes unreachable.
  • DNS Misconfigurations: Sometimes, misconfigurations in the DNS settings can cause the server to go down.

    These misconfigurations can occur at various levels, including the domain registrar, hosting provider, or even within the internal network infrastructure.

  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks: DDoS attacks are malicious attempts to overwhelm a network or server with excessive traffic, rendering it inaccessible. DNS servers are often Targeted by DDoS attacks, causing them to go down temporarily.
  • Hardware or Software Failures: Like any other server, a DNS server can experience hardware or software failures. Faulty hardware components, outdated software, or bugs in the DNS server software can lead to downtime.

Impact of DNS Server Downtime

When a DNS server goes down, it can have significant implications for your internet experience. Here are some of the impacts:

  • Inability to Access Websites: The primary impact of a DNS server going down is the inability to access websites through their domain names. Without the translation provided by the DNS server, your browser will not be able to find the correct IP address associated with a domain name.
  • Email Delivery Issues: A malfunctioning DNS server can also affect email delivery.

    Email servers rely on DNS records to route emails correctly. When a DNS server is down, email delivery may be delayed or fail altogether.

  • Slow Internet Connection: In some cases, when a DNS server is experiencing issues but not completely down, it can result in slow internet connection speeds. This happens because your device has to wait longer for the DNS queries to be resolved.

Preventing and Resolving DNS Server Downtime

To prevent and resolve DNS server downtime issues, here are some steps you can take:

  • Maintain Redundant DNS Servers: By having multiple DNS servers spread across different locations, you can ensure that if one server goes down, others will continue serving requests.
  • Regularly Monitor DNS Infrastructure: Implementing monitoring tools to keep an eye on your DNS infrastructure allows you to identify and address issues proactively before they cause significant disruptions.
  • Implement DDoS Protection: To protect your DNS servers from DDoS attacks, consider implementing DDoS protection services that can detect and mitigate such attacks in real-time.
  • Perform Routine Maintenance: Regularly update the DNS server software, patch security vulnerabilities, and perform hardware maintenance to minimize the chances of failure.


In conclusion, a DNS server may go down due to network connectivity issues, misconfigurations, DDoS attacks, or hardware/software failures. When a DNS server is down, it can result in the inability to access websites, email delivery issues, and slow internet connection speeds. By maintaining redundant servers and implementing proactive measures like monitoring and DDoS protection, you can minimize the impact of DNS server downtime on your internet experience.

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