Have you ever tried accessing a website and were met with a message saying “This site can’t be reached”? One of the common reasons for this error is a malfunctioning DNS server. DNS servers are responsible for translating website domain names into IP addresses, allowing users to access the internet. If your DNS server is not working, you won’t be able to access any website, and your internet connection will be down.
So, how can you check if your DNS server is working correctly? In this article, we will provide you with a simple guide to determine if your DNS server is working as it should. We will walk you through the steps to identify common signs of a malfunctioning DNS server, how to troubleshoot and fix DNS server issues, and how to test your DNS server connection.
If you’re experiencing any internet connection issues or are curious about the state of your DNS server, this guide is for you. Keep reading to learn how to check if your DNS server is working and how to fix any problems that may arise.
What is a DNS Server and Why is it Important?
If you’ve ever wondered how you’re able to access the internet, DNS servers play a crucial role in making that happen. DNS stands for “Domain Name System,” and it acts as the internet’s phone book. Instead of typing in the numerical IP address of every website you visit, a DNS server translates the domain name into an IP address that your device can understand.
Without DNS servers, browsing the web would be far more difficult and time-consuming, as you would need to remember the numerical IP addresses of every website you wanted to visit. DNS servers are essentially translators that make the internet more user-friendly.
There are two types of DNS servers: authoritative and recursive. Authoritative DNS servers are responsible for storing and providing information about a domain name, while recursive DNS servers work to translate domain names into IP addresses by communicating with other DNS servers until the correct information is found.
When you type in a web address, your device sends a request to a recursive DNS server to translate the domain name into an IP address. Once the IP address is found, your device can then communicate with the website’s server to load the webpage.
Having a reliable DNS server is crucial for a smooth and secure internet experience. If your DNS server is not functioning properly, you may experience slow internet speeds, difficulty accessing certain websites, or even security vulnerabilities. It’s important to regularly check your DNS server to ensure it’s functioning correctly and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.
Definition of a DNS Server
A DNS server, short for Domain Name System server, is a type of server that translates domain names into IP addresses. When you type a URL into your browser, your computer sends a request to a DNS server to resolve the domain name into an IP address. The IP address is then used to locate and connect to the server that hosts the website or application.
DNS servers are an essential part of the internet infrastructure, acting as a directory service that matches domain names with IP addresses. Without DNS servers, users would need to remember the IP addresses of every website they want to visit, which is not a practical solution.
There are two types of DNS servers: authoritative and recursive. Authoritative DNS servers store the DNS records for a specific domain, while recursive DNS servers help resolve queries from client devices by querying other DNS servers until the IP address is found.
How a DNS Server Works
A DNS server works by translating domain names into IP addresses, allowing computers to locate and communicate with websites and other online resources. When you enter a web address into your browser, your computer sends a request to a DNS server to look up the associated IP address. Once the DNS server has located the IP address, it sends the information back to your computer, which can then connect to the website or resource.
DNS resolution process: The DNS resolution process involves several steps. When you enter a domain name into your browser, your computer first checks its local DNS cache for a previously resolved IP address. If the address is not found, your computer sends a query to the DNS server, which searches its own cache for the IP address. If the address is not found in the DNS server cache, it sends a query to other DNS servers in the network until the IP address is found.
DNS zones: DNS servers maintain records for a specific domain or group of domains known as a zone. A zone is managed by one or more authoritative DNS servers, which are responsible for providing accurate and up-to-date DNS records for that domain. Each zone is divided into one or more domains, which are managed by separate authoritative DNS servers.
DNS records: DNS records contain information about a domain, such as its IP address, mail server, and other resources. The most common DNS records include A records (which map a domain name to an IP address), MX records (which specify the mail server for a domain), and CNAME records (which create an alias for a domain).
DNS hierarchy: The DNS system is structured as a hierarchy, with the root DNS server at the top. The root server maintains a list of authoritative DNS servers for all top-level domains (such as .com, .org, .net, etc.). Each top-level domain is managed by its own set of authoritative DNS servers, which are responsible for resolving queries for that domain and any subdomains beneath it.
The Importance of a DNS Server in Internet Connectivity
DNS servers are essential for internet connectivity as they are responsible for translating website addresses into IP addresses, which allow computers to communicate with each other.
Without DNS servers, users would need to memorize a series of numbers (IP addresses) to access websites, which would be extremely difficult and impractical.
Moreover, a reliable DNS server can improve internet connectivity by decreasing website loading times and preventing website errors.
Additionally, DNS servers can provide users with customizable security features that can block malicious websites, phishing scams, and spam.
Overall, DNS servers play a critical role in internet connectivity and can significantly impact the speed, reliability, and security of a user’s online experience.
Common Signs that Your DNS Server is not Working
If you’re having trouble accessing the internet or specific websites, your DNS server might be at fault. Here are some common signs that your DNS server is not working:
Slow Internet Speeds: If your internet is slow and websites are taking forever to load, it could be a sign that your DNS server is not working properly.
“Server Not Found” Error: If you are unable to access a specific website and instead see a “Server Not Found” error message, it could be due to a DNS server problem.
Incorrect IP Address: If you’re seeing an incorrect IP address for a website or server, it could be because of a DNS server issue.
Intermittent Connectivity: If your internet connection is frequently dropping out or experiencing intermittent connectivity, your DNS server may be the culprit.
Browser Errors: If your web browser is displaying errors, such as “DNS Probe Finished No Internet” or “DNS Server Not Responding”, it could be a sign of a DNS server problem.
Slow Internet Connection
If you’re experiencing slower internet speeds than usual, your DNS server may be the culprit. When your computer requests a website, it needs to go through the DNS server to find the IP address associated with the domain name. If the DNS server is not responding or takes too long to respond, it can cause delays in loading web pages.
DNS cache issues can also lead to slow internet speeds. When you visit a website, your computer stores the website’s IP address in its cache memory for future reference. If the DNS cache becomes corrupted or outdated, it can slow down your internet connection.
Another possible cause of a slow internet connection is network congestion. This can occur when too many devices are connected to your network or when your internet service provider (ISP) is experiencing high traffic volume.
Malware or viruses can also slow down your internet connection by using your computer’s resources to perform tasks without your knowledge. Some malware can even redirect your internet traffic to fake websites or ads.
If you’re experiencing slow internet speeds, it’s worth checking if your DNS server is working properly.
“Server Not Found” Error Message
One of the most common signs that your DNS server is not working is receiving a “Server Not Found” error message when trying to access a website. This error message indicates that the browser is unable to establish a connection with the web server hosting the site.
Several reasons why this error message might occur:
- The website’s server is down or unavailable
- The website’s domain name has expired
- The website’s DNS records are incorrect or outdated
- The DNS server you are using is not responding or is experiencing connectivity issues
- Your computer’s firewall or antivirus software is blocking access to the website
- Your internet connection is down or not working properly
If you are experiencing a “Server Not Found” error message, it is recommended to try accessing other websites to determine whether the issue is isolated to one particular site or if it is affecting all web browsing activities. If the issue persists, you should try troubleshooting your DNS server settings or contact your internet service provider for assistance.
Frequent Disconnections from the Internet
If you are experiencing frequent disconnections from the internet, it could be a sign of a DNS server problem. When your device loses connection to the internet, it could be because it is unable to connect to the DNS server to resolve the domain name of the website you are trying to visit. This problem can occur if your DNS server is not working properly or if it is overloaded with traffic.
One way to fix this issue is to try changing your DNS server to a different one. You can do this by going into your device’s network settings and manually specifying a different DNS server, such as Google’s Public DNS or Cloudflare’s DNS.
Another possible solution is to clear your DNS cache. This is a temporary storage of recently accessed DNS information. If it becomes corrupted, it can cause issues with your internet connectivity. To clear your DNS cache, open a command prompt and enter the command “ipconfig /flushdns” on Windows, or “sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder” on a Mac.
Additionally, you can try resetting your modem or router. Sometimes, these devices can become overloaded with traffic or experience other issues that can cause connectivity problems. Resetting them can often resolve these issues and restore your connection to the internet.
Finally, it is important to ensure that your internet service provider is not experiencing any outages or other issues. If you have ruled out all other possibilities, contact your provider to see if there are any known issues in your area.
How to Troubleshoot Your DNS Server Using Command Prompt
If you’re experiencing issues with your DNS server, you can use the Command Prompt to troubleshoot the problem. Here are five steps you can follow to troubleshoot:
Step 1: Open Command Prompt
Click on the Windows Start menu, type “cmd” in the search bar, and select “Command Prompt.”
Step 2: Flush the DNS Cache
Enter the command “ipconfig /flushdns” in the Command Prompt window to clear the DNS cache. This will force your computer to query DNS servers for fresh information.
Step 3: Release and Renew Your IP Address
Type the command “ipconfig /release” to release your IP address, and then enter the command “ipconfig /renew” to obtain a new IP address from your DHCP server.
Step 4: Test Your Connection
Use the “ping” command followed by a website’s domain name (e.g., “ping www.google.com”) to test your connection to a specific site. This will tell you if your DNS server is working correctly.
Step 5: Change Your DNS Server
If none of the above steps work, you can try changing your DNS server. Enter the command “netsh interface ip set dns name=connection_name static DNS_server_IP_address” to change your DNS server.
By following these steps, you can troubleshoot and fix issues with your DNS server using the Command Prompt.
How to Open Command Prompt
If you’re using a Windows computer, opening Command Prompt is relatively easy. Here are four different ways to open Command Prompt:
- Using the search bar: Click the search icon in the taskbar and type “cmd.” The Command Prompt app should appear in the search results.
- Using the Run command: Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box. Type “cmd” in the box and click “OK.”
- Using the Start menu: Click the Start button, scroll down to the “Windows System” folder, and click on “Command Prompt.”
- Using File Explorer: Open File Explorer, navigate to the folder where you want to open Command Prompt, click the address bar to highlight the folder path, type “cmd” in the address bar, and press Enter.
Once you have Command Prompt open, you can begin troubleshooting your DNS server.
How to Flush the DNS Cache
DNS cache stores information about the IP addresses of websites that you have recently visited. If the information in the cache becomes outdated or corrupted, it can lead to DNS issues. Flushing the DNS cache can help to resolve these problems. Here’s how to do it:
- Open the Command Prompt on your Windows computer.
- Type the command ipconfig /flushdns and press Enter.
- You should receive a message saying “Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache”.
- Close the Command Prompt and restart your browser.
- Your DNS cache should now be cleared, and your browser should be able to resolve website addresses properly.
It’s important to note that flushing the DNS cache will remove all stored IP addresses from your computer, so it may take longer to load websites that you have previously visited as your browser will need to look up the IP address again. However, this is a temporary issue, and your browser will start caching IP addresses again as you visit more websites.
If flushing the DNS cache does not resolve your DNS issues, there may be a deeper problem with your DNS server or network configuration. In this case, you may need to seek further assistance from a network administrator or IT professional.
How to Release and Renew Your IP Address
- Step 1: Open Command Prompt as an administrator
- Step 2: Type “ipconfig /release” and press Enter
- Step 3: Wait for the command to complete, then type “ipconfig /renew” and press Enter
- Step 4: Wait for the command to complete and check if your internet connection is back to normal
- Tip: If you receive an error message stating that the operation failed, try disabling and re-enabling your network adapter and then try the command again
Releasing and renewing your IP address can sometimes help resolve issues related to your DNS server. This process essentially disconnects and then reconnects your device to the network, which can help to refresh your IP address and resolve any conflicts. It’s a quick and easy troubleshooting step that can often resolve issues related to connectivity and DNS server problems.
How to Check Your DNS Server Settings on Windows
Step 1: Open Network and Sharing CenterTo check your DNS server settings on Windows, the first step is to open the “Network and Sharing Center.” You can do this by right-clicking on the network icon in the system tray and selecting “Open Network and Sharing Center” from the menu.
Step 2: Click on Change Adapter SettingsNext, click on the “Change adapter settings” link in the left-hand menu. This will display a list of all the network adapters that are installed on your computer.
Step 3: View DNS Server SettingsRight-click on the network adapter for which you want to view the DNS server settings and select “Properties” from the context menu. Then, select “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” from the list and click on the “Properties” button. Here you can view and change your DNS server settings by selecting the “Use the following DNS server addresses” option and entering the appropriate addresses.
How to Open the Network Connections Window
The Network Connections window allows you to view and manage your network connections. Here are the steps to open it:
|Step 1||Press the Windows key + R||The Run dialog box will appear|
|Step 2||Type ncpa.cpl and press Enter||The Network Connections window will open|
You can also access the Network Connections window by right-clicking the network icon in the system tray and selecting “Open Network & Internet settings.” From there, click “Change adapter options” to access the Network Connections window.
In the Network Connections window, you can view your current network connections, disable or enable them, and configure their properties. This is where you can check your DNS server settings and make changes if necessary.
How to View Your DNS Server Settings
If you want to check your DNS server settings, follow these steps:
Step 1: Open the Control Panel on your Windows computer.
Step 2: Click on “Network and Sharing Center.”
Step 3: Click on “Change adapter settings” on the left-hand side of the window.
Step 4: Right-click on the network connection you want to check and select “Properties.”
Step 5: Scroll down and select “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and then click “Properties.”
Step 6: Your DNS server settings will be listed under the “General” tab. If you want to use custom DNS server settings, select the “Use the following DNS server addresses” option and enter the preferred DNS server address and alternate DNS server address.
By following these steps, you can easily view your DNS server settings and make changes if necessary.
How to Change Your DNS Server Settings
If you’re experiencing issues with your internet connection, changing your DNS server settings can help improve your connection speed and overall performance. Here are the steps to change your DNS server settings:
Step 1: Open the Control Panel on your computer and click on “Network and Sharing Center.”
Step 2: Click on “Change adapter settings.”
Step 3: Right-click on the network connection you want to change and select “Properties.”
Step 4: Select “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and click on “Properties.”
Step 5: Select “Use the following DNS server addresses” and enter the new DNS server address you want to use.
Step 6: Click on “OK” to save the changes and close the windows.
Changing your DNS server settings can help improve your internet connection speed and overall performance. Keep in mind that if you encounter any issues or problems, you can always revert to your previous DNS server settings by following the same steps and selecting “Obtain DNS server address automatically.”
How to Check Your DNS Server Settings on Mac
If you’re experiencing internet connection issues, it could be due to your DNS server settings. Here’s how to check your DNS server settings on your Mac:
Step 1: Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences”.
Step 2: Click “Network” in the System Preferences window.
Step 3: Select your active internet connection on the left-hand side of the Network window.
Step 4: Click the “Advanced” button in the lower right corner of the window.
Step 5: Click the “DNS” tab at the top of the Advanced window to view your current DNS server settings.
If you need to change your DNS server settings, you can do so by clicking the “+” or “-” buttons at the bottom of the DNS server list, or by clicking the “Configure IPv4” or “Configure IPv6” buttons to manually enter DNS server addresses.
By checking and potentially changing your DNS server settings on your Mac, you may be able to resolve internet connection issues and improve your overall browsing experience.
How to Open the Network Preferences Window
If you want to view or change your DNS server settings on a Mac, the first step is to open the Network Preferences window. Here’s how to do it:
- Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of the screen.
- Select “System Preferences” from the drop-down menu.
- Click the “Network” icon.
- Select the network connection you want to configure from the list on the left.
Once you have the Network Preferences window open, you can proceed to view or change your DNS server settings.
Note: You may need to enter your administrator username and password to make changes in the Network Preferences window.
How to View Your DNS Server Settings
Open the Network Preferences window by clicking on the Apple menu and selecting “System Preferences”, then clicking on “Network”.
Select your network connection from the list on the left, then click the “Advanced” button in the bottom right corner.
Click on the “DNS” tab to view your current DNS server settings. Here you can see the IP addresses of the DNS servers that your computer is currently using to resolve domain names.
You can also add or remove DNS servers by clicking the “+” or “-” button, respectively. You can add both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses.
How to Test Your DNS Server Connection
If you’re experiencing slow internet or difficulty accessing websites, it’s possible that there is an issue with your DNS server connection. Testing your DNS server connection can help you identify and troubleshoot the issue.
One way to test your DNS server connection is to use the nslookup command. This command will allow you to query your DNS server and get information about the IP address associated with a domain name.
Another way to test your DNS server connection is to use the ping command. This command will send packets to a specific IP address and measure the time it takes for the packets to travel back and forth, providing information about the connection speed and reliability.
There are also online tools available that can test your DNS server connection, such as DNSstuff and What’s My DNS. These tools will provide you with information about your DNS server settings and help identify any issues with your connection.
How to Use the “nslookup” Command
Nslookup is a command-line tool used to query DNS servers to retrieve information about domain names and IP addresses. It is available on both Windows and Mac operating systems.
To use nslookup, open the command prompt or terminal on your computer and type “nslookup” followed by the domain name or IP address you want to query. The command will return the IP address or domain name associated with the query.
You can also use nslookup to query specific DNS servers by typing the command followed by the domain name or IP address and the IP address of the DNS server you want to query. This is useful for troubleshooting DNS issues and verifying that your DNS server is working correctly.
In addition to querying DNS servers, nslookup can also perform reverse lookups, which retrieve the domain name associated with a given IP address. To perform a reverse lookup, type “nslookup” followed by the IP address you want to query.
How to Use the “ping” Command
Ping is a command-line utility used to test connectivity between two devices on a network. It sends an Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) echo request to the target device and waits for a response. If successful, it measures the time it takes for the echo request to go to the target and return to the source.
To use the ping command on Windows, open the command prompt and type “ping” followed by the IP address or hostname of the target device. On Mac, open the Terminal app and type “ping” followed by the IP address or hostname of the target device.
The ping command can be useful for troubleshooting network connectivity issues, determining network latency, and identifying packet loss. It can also be used to determine whether a particular website or server is up and running.
How to Use the “traceroute” Command
The “traceroute” command is a network diagnostic tool that allows you to trace the path taken by an IP packet from your device to a remote host. The tool is available on most operating systems including Windows, Mac, and Linux.
To use the “traceroute” command on a Windows computer, open the Command Prompt and type “tracert” followed by the IP address or domain name of the remote host. Press Enter to run the command and wait for the results to display.
To use the “traceroute” command on a Mac, open the Terminal and type “traceroute” followed by the IP address or domain name of the remote host. Press Enter to run the command and wait for the results to display.
How to Fix DNS Server Problems
Restart your router: Sometimes, the simplest solution is the most effective. Restarting your router can help resolve DNS server problems.
Check your network connection: Make sure your device is properly connected to your network. Check your Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection to ensure there are no connectivity issues.
Clear your DNS cache: Your computer’s DNS cache stores information about websites you’ve recently visited. Clearing your cache can help fix DNS server problems.
Try using a different DNS server: If your DNS server is experiencing problems, switching to a different server can help. Consider using a public DNS service like Google Public DNS or OpenDNS.
Contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP): If you’ve tried the above solutions and are still experiencing DNS server problems, contact your ISP. They may be able to identify and fix the issue.
Restart Your Router and Modem
If you’re experiencing DNS server problems, one of the first things you can try is to restart your router and modem. These devices are responsible for providing internet access to your devices, so if there’s an issue with them, it could affect your DNS settings as well.
To restart your router and modem, unplug them from the power source and wait for about 30 seconds. Then, plug them back in and wait for them to boot up. Once they’re back online, check to see if your DNS server issues have been resolved.
If restarting your router and modem doesn’t fix the problem, you may want to try resetting them to their default settings. This will erase any customized settings you may have made, but it can also help resolve issues that can’t be fixed through a simple restart.
To reset your router and modem, look for a small reset button on the back or bottom of the device. Press and hold this button for about 10 seconds, or until the lights on the device start flashing. Once the device has reset, you’ll need to reconfigure your network settings.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is DNS server?
Before knowing if a DNS server is working, it’s important to understand what a DNS server is. In simple terms, DNS servers are responsible for translating domain names into IP addresses that computers can understand. They help you access websites without having to remember the IP address.
Why is it important to know if a DNS server is working?
Knowing if your DNS server is working is important because it can impact your internet browsing experience. If your DNS server is not working, you may not be able to access certain websites or your internet may be slow.
How can I test if my DNS server is working?
You can test if your DNS server is working by using various commands such as nslookup, ping, or traceroute. These commands can help you identify any issues with your DNS server.
What are some signs that my DNS server is not working?
If you’re experiencing slow internet speeds, cannot access certain websites, or if you’re getting error messages when trying to access the internet, these could be signs that your DNS server is not working properly.
What can cause a DNS server to stop working?
There can be various reasons why a DNS server stops working. It could be due to network connectivity issues, misconfigured settings, or issues with the DNS server itself.
What should I do if my DNS server is not working?
If your DNS server is not working, you can try resetting your router or modem, flushing your DNS cache, or changing your DNS server settings. If none of these solutions work, you may need to contact your internet service provider for further assistance.