dns

How To Fix DNS Problems


When you can’t open a website it usually means there’s a DNS (Domain Name System) problem. DNS is the service which converts the website URL (for instance, www.apple.com) into the IP address needed for actual communication and we’ll show you in this article how to fix dns problems.

A simple way to test this is by trying to access the website you are having trouble with via its IP address instead of its name. The way you find this is by opening a Windows MS-DOS or Command prompt and typing ping, followed by the website domain you are trying to reach (without the www. part). For example:

C :\Windows>ping www.apple.com
Pinging e3191.dscc.akamaiedge.net [2.17.45.15] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 2.17.45.15: bytes=32 time=67ms TTL=58
Reply from 2.17.45.15: bytes=32 time=70ms TTL=58
Reply from 2.17.45.15: bytes=32 time=67ms TTL=58
Reply from 2.17.45.15: bytes=32 time=67ms TTL=58

Ping statistics for 2.17.45.15:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 67ms, Maximum = 70ms, Average = 67ms

Notice that 2.17.45.15 is apple.com’s IP address, so you should enter

http://2.17.45.15/ into your web browser’s address or location box. If the website comes up, you’ve got a DNS problem.

Fixing DNS Problems

When this kind of problem usually occurs is because there’s something wrong with your DNS settings in your computer’s TCP/IP properties. This can happen after installing a hardware router or internet sharing software like Windows’ Internet Connection Sharing feature. If your computer had the TCP/IP properties set manually (statically), it likely means you have a DNS-related problem.

This happens because sharing devices and programs usually like to handle DNS duties as one of their sharing functions, and have to have computers which are connected to them set up to receive their DNS services from the router or sharing program, and not from your ISP. Most people follow the router setup instructions and change their network adapter TCP/IP settings to “Obtain an IP address automatically,” however they sometimes forget to clear out the DNS settings, which in Windows are located in the DNS configuration tab of the Network

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Properties window.
Windows makes it easier to remember to do this by putting IP address, default gateway, and DNS settings in the same window.

Fixing the problem is relatively easy.

fix dns problems

1| Right-click on the Network Neighborhood icon on your desktop and choose Properties. A window will appear (Windows98SE TCP/IP properties)

2| In the Configuration tab, scroll down until you spot the copy of TCP/IP that is bound (indicated by ->) to the network adapter that you are using to connect to your network. You should be able to find and recognize the correct adapter, as it usually has the manufacture’s name on it. Next you click in the adapter to select it, then click the Properties button. A window will appear (Win98 SE DNS properties).

3| The IP Address tab will most likely have the Obtain an IP address automatically radio button selected. Now click on the DNS Configuration tab.

4| The old DNS settings are still in charge. You can fix this by deleting all entries in the DNS Server Search Order box. Now click the Disable DNS button, and then click on the Gateway tab, making sure there are no entries there. Then click the OK button to close the TCP/IP properties window, click the OK to close the Network properties window, and restart your computer when prompted.

5| After the computer restarts, it might still have the old IP address information, which could lead to the same problem as before. To force the system to get new IP address information you will have to Start > Run and type winipcfg. Now click the More Info button, select your network adapter, and click the Release button. Finally, wait until the information in the window is cleared, and then click the Renew button. After a few seconds you should see new information in the window. (This, by the way, is called a DHCP Release / Renew.)

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6| Now you can open your web browser and try to access your problem sites. By now, the issue should be resolved. If not, check out the What Else can be wrong? section below.

Here’s the fix for WinXP:

1| Open the Network Connections Control Panel, then double click on the Local Area Connection icon in the LAN or High-Speed Internet section of the Network Connections window that will subsequently open. Now click on the Properties button of the Local Area Connection Status Window.

You should see WinXP Local Area Connection Properties

2| Click on the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) item in order to select it and then hit the Properties button. Another window which should look like WinXP Local Area Connection Properties

3| This time you will have to click Obtain DNS server address automatically button (this will automatically clear the static DNS server information). Click OK in each of the TCP/IP and Local Area Connection properties windows to close them.

4| To make sure that you have the correct IP address information, go to the Local Area Connection Status window (which should still be open), click the Support tab, and then click the Repair button. After a few seconds, you should receive a repair completed message and IP address information should reappear in the window. Now you have to click the Details button to see the DNS server information.

5| Finally, open your web browser and try accessing the sites you were having problems with. The problem should be fixed. If not, see the What Else can be wrong? section below.

What Else can be wrong?

Computer problems aren’t always that straightforward though. Faulty DNS settings aren’t always the issue, so here are some other possible causes for the problem and their solutions:

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ISP DNS problems

If things used to work correctly with the exact same network setup and you have suddenly started to experience these kinds of issues, then it’s possible the ISP’s DNS servers are to blame. Contact your ISP tech’s support and ask them to fix it!

Proxy problems

Another problem which can be sourced to your ISP. Some ISPs make all their subscribers run through a proxy server. Proxies are placed between you and the actual internet and are used to both locally store (or cache) content that doesn’t get updated very often, but also, in some cases, prevent access to certain websites and web services.

Most of the time proxies operate quietly, without your knowledge, but sometimes they can get a bit confused, which causes problems on your end.

You can check whether you’re using a proxy by accessing the Internet Options Control Panel, selecting the Connections tab, and clicking the LAN Settings button. If any of the checkboxes are checked on the window which has just opened, you’re most likely using a proxy.

One thing you can do is to clear the checkboxes (make sure to write down the setting first or take a screenshot so you can come back if necessary), then restart your browser. However this won’t work if your ISP requires the use of a proxy and doesn’t allow you to get around this. Once again, the only option is to contact you ISP’s tech support.

Content filtering

While this option is more popular in workplaces, content or website filtering is also available for consumer router and Internet sharing applications.

It allows certain domains or website pages to be blocked to some (or all) users. You usually don’t get any indication that the website you’re trying to access is being blocked.

If you don’t control the web access, there’s not much you can do short of contacting the network admin.