What Happens if DNS Server Goes Down?


Scott Campbell

What Happens if DNS Server Goes Down?

In today’s digital age, the Domain Name System (DNS) plays a crucial role in connecting users to websites by translating domain names into IP addresses. However, like any other technology, DNS servers can experience downtime or failure. In this article, we will explore what happens when a DNS server goes down and its impact on internet connectivity.

1. Unreachable Websites

When a DNS server goes down, it becomes inaccessible to users trying to access websites. This means that any website relying on that specific DNS server will become unreachable for users who don’t have the website’s IP address cached or stored locally.


  • User A wants to visit www.example.com.
  • The DNS server responsible for resolving www.com is down.
  • User A’s device doesn’t have the IP address of www.com cached.
  • User A cannot access www.com until the DNS server is back online.

2. Slow Internet Browsing

In some cases, when a DNS server goes down, it can cause slow internet browsing speeds. This occurs because the user’s device has to wait for the timeout period before attempting to resolve the domain name through an alternative DNS server or another method like using a local hosts file.


  • User B wants to visit www.example2.com is experiencing intermittent issues.
  • User B’s device tries to resolve the domain name but experiences delays due to timeouts and retries with different servers or methods.
  • User B experiences slow loading times on www.com until the DNS server stabilizes.

3. Email Delivery Delays

When a DNS server goes down, it can also cause delays in email delivery. This is because email servers heavily rely on DNS to resolve the domain names of recipient mail servers.


  • User C sends an email to user@example3.
  • The DNS server responsible for resolving example3.com is offline.
  • User C’s email server cannot determine the IP address of example3.com’s mail server.
  • The email delivery is delayed until the DNS server is restored or alternative resolution methods are employed.

4. Reduced Service Availability

When a DNS server goes down, it can affect various online services that rely on it for their operation. This includes services such as online gaming, streaming platforms, cloud services, and more. These services often use domain names to connect users to their servers and content.


  • User D tries to access an online game hosted at game.example4.
  • The DNS server responsible for resolving game.
  • User D cannot connect to the game server because their device cannot resolve the domain name to an IP address.
  • The availability of the online game is compromised until the DNS server becomes accessible again.

In conclusion,

A DNS server going down can have significant implications on internet connectivity and service availability. Users may experience difficulties accessing websites, slow browsing speeds, delays in email delivery, and reduced access to online services. It is important for organizations to monitor and maintain the stability of their DNS infrastructure to minimize the impact of such issues.

By understanding the effects of a DNS server going down, users and organizations can better prepare for potential disruptions and take appropriate measures to mitigate the impact on their online activities.

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