What does it mean when my dns server is unavailable

You can’t visit a website without first accessing a domain name server (dns). In the process, you might get a message like “dns server is not responding”. this means that the decentralized naming systems responsible for converting hostnames to ip addresses did not respond.

There are a variety of reasons why these types of dns errors can occur. Fortunately, most of them have simple resolutions. in fact, fixing the problem could be as easy as restarting your computer or changing web browsers.

In this post, we’ll explain what the “dns server is not responding” message means and some common causes. then we will guide you through various solutions on how to fix it, both on windows and macos devices.

Let’s get started!

what does “the dns server is not responding” mean?

a dns is a naming system that takes alphanumeric domain names (or “host names”) and converts them to numeric ip addresses. essentially, the dns servers act as translators.

When you enter a web address into your browser, it is forwarded to a dns server from your router, where it is then dissolved and returned as an ip address. however, if the dns server is unable to successfully complete this name resolution process, the end result is usually a dns server not responding message.

“dns server not responding” means your browser was unable to establish an internet connection. Typically, DNS errors are caused by problems on the user’s end, either with a network or internet connection, misconfigured DNS settings, or an outdated browser. They can also be attributed to a temporary server outage that makes dns unavailable.

so you may be able to resolve the issue simply by switching browsers. In other cases, you may need to disable connections, change DNS servers, or flush the DNS cache.

how to fix “dns server not responding” error on windows and macos (10 methods)

Now that you understand what this message means and are familiar with some possible causes, it’s time to get to work on resolving it. Let’s take a look at ten potential ways you can fix “dns server not responding” on windows and mac devices.

1. switch to a different browser

The first step is to fix the problem by testing your dns connections. Fixing this problem can be as simple as changing or updating your web browser.

how do I switch to a different browser?

To do this, try accessing the web from a different browser. For example, if your default browser is Safari or Google Chrome, visit the desired website from Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge instead.

If switching browsers works, you may need to update your default browser to the latest version or uninstall and reinstall it. however, if you still see the “dns server is not responding” message, you can rule out your browser as the source of the problem.

2. start your computer in safe mode

If your operating system is not working properly, it may generate a “dns server is not responding” error message. Therefore, you may want to try starting your windows device in safe mode to see if this resolves this issue.

Doing so will limit the files and resources used to run windows, and can be an effective way to troubleshoot.

how do i start my computer in safe mode?

To start your windows 10 computer in safe mode, first select the windows button and then hover over the power icon:

then, while holding down the shift key, select restart:

In the window that appears, click troubleshoot > advanced. under advanced options, select startup settings, followed by restart. more options will appear. you can press 4 or 5 to enable safe mode or enable safe mode with networking respectively. your computer will restart in safe mode.

If you’re using windows 7 or earlier, you can restart it in safe mode by going to turn on > reboot. then, while it boots, hold down the f8 key.

the process is similar on macos devices.

While the machine reboots and boots, hold down the shift key. once the apple logo appears, you can release it. your device will start in safe mode.

once your computer is in safe mode, try to access the website again. If there doesn’t seem to be a network connection problem, the source of the problem may be a third-party software or installation, such as an antivirus application.

3. temporarily disable your antivirus and firewall software

If changing browsers doesn’t resolve the “dns server not responding” issue, the next step is to temporarily disable your firewall. Antivirus software and firewalls are critical to protecting your devices, but can sometimes cause issues that interfere with network connections.

How do I temporarily disable my antivirus software and firewalls?

for windows users, you can do this by going to your control panel and navigating to update & security > windows security > viruses & threat protection > manage settings.

mac users can find this option by navigating to system preferences > security & privacy > firewalls.

Once your firewall is disabled, try visiting the website again from your browser. If this resolved the issue, you might consider changing antivirus programs or reconfiguring your existing application settings. Either way, remember to re-enable your firewall once you’re done.

4. disable secondary connections

If disabling your antivirus or firewall software didn’t work, another possible solution is to disable any available secondary connections on your device. you want to make sure that only the connection you are currently using is active.

how do I disable secondary connections?

To do this on windows, type “network connections” into the search box on your desktop taskbar. then click view network connections:

this will take you to the network connections page. any connection you are not currently using will have a red (x) next to it. right click on one and then select disable:

repeat this for any other connections that are not currently active. When you’re done, please restart your browser and try visiting the website again.

if you’re using a macos, you can do this by clicking the apple icon and then navigating to system preferences > network. your connections will be listed on the left side of the window.

To disconnect or disable one, select it and then click the () sign at the bottom of the window.

5. disable windows peer-to-peer feature

If you’re using windows and disabling your firewall or secondary connections didn’t resolve the “dns server not responding” error message, there’s one more option you can try: the peer-to-peer (p2p) feature. note: this is something you will only find in windows 10.

This feature helps preserve your device’s download bandwidth. Basically, it allows you to download a windows update once, and then use your device to broadcast or share the updated version to other computers on your local network.

Unfortunately, it can also sometimes break dns processes. therefore it is worth disabling to see if this resolves the error message you are currently facing.

how do i disable windows peer to peer feature?

To do so, click the windows icon, followed by settings (gear icon) >update & security:

in the window that opens on the left, select delivery optimization:

next to the ‘allow downloads from other pc’ option, toggle the switch to disable it:

When you are done, restart your computer and try to access the website again. if this doesn’t work, don’t worry. we still have more solutions to try.

6. reboot your router

The next step to fix the problem is to reboot the router. doing so will flush your router’s cache and might be the solution to resolve the “dns server not responding” message.

how do i reset my router?

Most modems come with a power button that allows you to quickly turn them off. after a minute or so, turn your modem back on and wait for it to reestablish the connection. once it does, check if you can access the internet from your browser.

Please note that sometimes simply rebooting the router is not enough. you may want to reset it by unplugging it completely and then wait at least 30 seconds before plugging it back in and turning it on again.

7. install updated network adapter drivers on your computer

Another reason you may see the “dns server is not responding” message is if your current windows network adapter driver is old or out of date. if this is the case, getting a new adapter driver or updating your adapter driver may be the solution you need.

how do I install updated network adapter drivers?

There are a couple of ways to update your network adapter driver. one is to do it manually, which you should only do if you are at least somewhat familiar with working with controllers. alternatively you can do it using an automated tool like driver easy or snappy driver installer (sdi):

Either of these solutions will automatically recognize your system and locate the appropriate drivers for you to use with it. We recommend this method because it eliminates the risk of human error, such as downloading or installing the wrong driver for your device.

once you download sdi and finish installing the updated drivers, restart your computer. then try reconnecting to the internet to determine if this resolved the issue.

8. flush your dns cache and reset your ip

If you’ve eliminated your browser, antivirus software, and router as the source of the problem, it’s time to turn your attention to your dns settings. As with the router cache, your dns may need to be cleared before you can successfully connect to the internet, or your ip may need a reset.

how do i flush the dns cache and reset my ip?

if you’re using windows, start by typing “cmd” in the search field along the taskbar and then select the command prompt application:

in the window that opens, enter “ipconfig/flushdns” (without quotes) and press enter:

When the process is complete, it will display a message informing you that the dns cache was successfully flushed. repeat this process for the following commands:

if you’re using a mac device, you can flush your dns cache by opening the terminal app (press command + space keys and then type “terminal ” in the center attention.) In the terminal application window, enter the following:

press the enter key. there won’t be a success message like there is on windows devices. however, simply running this command will flush the dns cache. For more guidance, you can refer to our full guide on how to flush your DNS cache on Windows, Mac, and Chrome.

9. disable ipv6

ipv6 is the latest version of the internet protocol that helps route traffic between networks and the internet. Unfortunately, it may also be behind the “dns server not responding” message you’re currently seeing.

so another possible solution you can try is to disable ipv6 on your computer.

how do i disable ipv6?

To do this in windows, open your network connections control panel, then right-click on your current connection. from the dropdown menu, select properties:

In the networks tab of the panel that opens, scroll down until you see internet protocol version 6 (tcp/ipv6):

if selected, deselect the checkbox, then click ok. Please refresh your browser and try to connect to the internet again.

To disable ipv6 on macos, you must first determine which network interface you are using. To do this, open the terminal application, then issue the following command:

if you want to disable ipv6 for a wireless connection, use the following command:

for an ethernet connection, you would use:

then press the enter key and refresh your browser to see if the problem is resolved.

10. change the default dns server on your windows computer

another solution you can try to fix “dns server not responding” in windows is to change your default dns server. To do this on Windows 7, 8, or 10, the first step is to access the properties of your network connection.

how do I change the default dns server?

start by clicking the windows button in the lower left corner of the task bar. in the search field, type “network connections” and then select view network connections from the menu that appears:

then choose the internet adapter you are currently using (wlan for wireless network connections or lan for wired ethernet connections). right click on the internet adapter, followed by properties:

in the window that opens, choose internet protocol version 4 (tcp/ipv4) and then click the properties button:

To manually assign a different dns server address, select use the following dns server addresses and enter an alternate server address:

for example, you can enter google’s dns server, which is “”, in preferred dns server. then you can add “” in alternate dns server and press ok.

if you’re running macos, you can locate this setting by clicking the apple icon followed by system preferences:

then select the network icon. choose your current network and then click the advanced button:

on the dns tab, click the (+) button next to “ipv4 or ipv6 addresses” and press enter:

after entering the new dns information, click on ok followed by apply. restart your web browser, and then visit the website you were trying to access. you should find that the “dns server is not responding” problem is now resolved.


Trying to access a website and receiving a “dns server is not responding” message can be both frustrating and worrying. While there are a variety of reasons this error can occur, the good news is that most have simple solutions.

As we discuss in this article, there are ten possible solutions you can use to fix a “dns server is not responding” message on both windows and macos:

  1. Switch to a different browser and, if necessary, update your default browser to the latest version.
  2. start your computer in safe mode.
  3. Temporarily disable your antivirus software and firewalls.
  4. disable secondary connections.
  5. disable windows peer-to-peer feature.
  6. restart your router.
  7. Install updated network adapter drivers on your computer.
  8. flush your dns cache and reset your ip.
  9. disable ipv6.
  10. change the default dns server on your computer.
  11. suggested reading: how to fix error code dns_probe_finished_bad_config. how to fix error code dns_probe_finished_nxdomain

Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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