What Does It Mean if the DNS Server Is Not Responding?


Larry Thompson

What Does It Mean if the DNS Server Is Not Responding?

When you encounter issues with your internet connection, one common error message you may come across is “DNS server not responding.” This error can be frustrating as it prevents you from accessing websites and services on the internet. In this article, we will explore what this error means and how to resolve it.

Understanding DNS

DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is like a phonebook for the internet.

When you enter a website address (URL) in your web browser, the DNS server translates that URL into an IP address, which is then used to connect to the corresponding website’s server. In simple terms, DNS helps your computer find the correct website on the vast web of interconnected servers.

Possible Causes of a Non-Responsive DNS Server

There can be several reasons why your DNS server is not responding. Let’s take a look at some common causes:

  • Network Connectivity Issues: If there are problems with your network connection, such as a faulty Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi router, it can prevent your device from communicating with the DNS server.
  • DNS Server Issues: The DNS server itself may be experiencing technical difficulties or undergoing maintenance.
  • Firewall or Antivirus Interference: Sometimes, overzealous firewall or antivirus settings can mistakenly block communication with the DNS server.
  • Incorrect DNS Settings: Incorrectly configured DNS settings on your device can lead to a non-responsive DNS server.

Troubleshooting Steps

If you encounter a “DNS server not responding” error, try these troubleshooting steps to resolve the issue:

Step 1: Check Network Connectivity

Ensure that your device is properly connected to the network. Check your Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi connection and make sure there are no issues.

Step 2: Restart Your Router and Modem

Power off your router and modem, wait for a few seconds, and then power them back on. This simple step can often resolve temporary network glitches.

Step 3: Temporarily Disable Firewall and Antivirus

If you have a firewall or antivirus software enabled, temporarily disable them and check if the “DNS server not responding” error persists. If the error goes away, you may need to adjust their settings to allow communication with the DNS server.

Step 4: Flush DNS Cache

Your computer stores DNS information in a cache to speed up future requests. However, sometimes this cache can become corrupted, leading to DNS issues. To flush the DNS cache:

  1. Open the Command Prompt by pressing Win + R, typing cmd, and pressing Enter.
  2. In the Command Prompt window, type ipconfig /flushdns and press Enter.
  3. Wait for the command to complete, then restart your computer.

Step 5: Change DNS Server Settings

If none of the above steps work, you can try changing your DNS server settings manually:

  1. Open the Control Panel on your computer.
  2. Select “Network and Internet” followed by “Network and Sharing Center. “
  3. Click on “Change adapter settings” in the left-hand menu.
  4. Right-click on your active network connection and select “Properties.

  5. In the Properties window, scroll down and select “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4). “
  6. Click on the “Properties” button.
  7. Select “Use the following DNS server addresses. “
  8. Enter a preferred DNS server address (such as Google’s public DNS: 8.8.8) and an alternate DNS server address (such as 8.4.4).
  9. Click “OK” to save the changes.

By manually setting your DNS server addresses, you bypass any issues with your ISP’s default DNS server.


A non-responsive DNS server can disrupt your internet experience, but by following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article, you can often resolve the issue quickly. Remember to check your network connectivity, restart your devices, disable firewalls temporarily if needed, flush your DNS cache, and consider changing your DNS server settings. These steps should help you get back online and browsing smoothly.

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