DNS Server Unavailable? Here’s How To Fix It
If your internet isn’t working, and you’re getting a “DNS Server Unavailable” error in Windows, here’s what could be causing it.
- Your DNS Server is actually unavailable.
- You’ve configured your network adapter for a different network
- The driver for your network card is incorrect
What is a DNS?
A DNS is a “Domain name system” which essentially translates a website name into an IP address to retrieve information. Think of it as a big directory that makes the internet work! However, it runs in a decentralized system, meaning pieces of it are all over the place, and there’s a ton that can go wrong. Let’s check to see what could be causing the issue!
How to Troubleshooting DNS Server Unavailable Message
The root of such irritating messages can often be traced back to the server outage. In such cases, the DNS server is temporarily unavailable. Most of the time, these problems can be corrected by changing browsers, switching a few of your firewall settings, or restarting your router.
Try a different web browser
In order to rule out that the connection problem isn’t being caused by your web browser, carry out a test by attempting to logon on to the desired web page with alternative applications. Web browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Apple Safari make up some of the most conventional options. If you’re able to solve the problem simply by switching browsers, then check your preferred application’s settings and make sure you’re using the latest version of it. Certain circumstances may require uninstalling the program and reinstalling it again. Chances are, this won’t fix your issue, but it could help us diagnose it further.
Deactivate firewall and antivirus
In case you aren’t able to achieve your desired results simply by changing browsers, then the next step is to rule out Windows Firewall as the possible culprit. Pull up the control panel and temporarily deactivate the firewall. If you’re now able to access the desired website, then it looks like you’ve identified the Firewall as the source of the problem. Next, check its configuration. Should the error persist even after deactivating the firewall, then the DNS server may yet prove to be the cause of the problem.
Restarting the router
Connection problems can often be solved by restarting the server. Most devices include a power button specifically for this purpose. Should this fail to yield any results, then it looks like a hard reboot may be in store; this is done simply by pulling out the power plug. Wait around 30 seconds until all of the electrical components have completely powered down before starting up the device again. Should you receive the error message ‘DNS server not responding’ after having completed the first two steps, then the only choice remaining is to choose an alternative DNS server.
Selecting another DNS server
If you have ruled out common causes of error such as the router software crashes or conflicts with Windows Firewall, then changing your DNS server could be the solution.
Typically, the DNS server address of the internet provider is automatically used, but this server can sometimes be slow or easily overloaded. A few clicks is all it takes to replace your internet provider’s DNS server with your desired server. Using a public DNS server is also an option; just look on specific DNS server lists. Google operates a fast, free, and very reliable public DNS server.
How to Change Your Router’s DNS Server
Step 1: Log in to your Router
To get to your router settings, you’ll need to know
- What router you have
- What the IP address of your router is
- Where the settings are located for your DNS services
To figure out what router you have, you may need to look at the router itself.
To get the IP address of your router, open the command line (Win key + R), write ipconfig in the opening line, and enter it.
You’ll get something like this:
Windows IP Configuration
Ethernet adapter Ethernet 2:
Connection-specific DNS Suffix . : xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
IPv6 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : xxxx:xx:xxx:xxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx
Temporary IPv6 Address. . . . . . : xxxx:xx:xxx:xxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx
Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : xxxx:xx:xxx:xxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx
IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.1.117
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.0
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : xxxx:xx:xxx:xxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx:xxxx
That last line should probably be 192.168.1.1 – that’s the most common router IP. Sometimes it’s something else.
Go to your browser and type in that address and try to login. If you did not set a username and password, you’ll be able to find the defaults in Google for your router name.
Locate the IP Configuration settings (may have a different name) and find the DNS section. Change the DNS Servers to one of the following options.
Google DNS: 188.8.131.52. and 184.108.40.206.
OpenDNS: 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168
Changing DNS server address
If you can’t access the router, you can just change your personal DNS configuration by opening your Internet Settings and reconfiguring it yourself.
Right click your network and select Open Network & Internet Settings
Select “Change Connection Properties”
Change Adapter Settings
Right click your network controller and select Properties
Find the TCP IPv4 and select “Properties”
And change your DNS Servers. You can view examples of which public DNS servers you can use in the section above.
If you need to use TCP IPv6 DNS addresses, you can use your favorite search engine from a mobile device to find examples of reliable servers there.
Troubleshooting Network Driver Issues
If you’re having problems with any of the above steps, update your drivers for your:
- Network Controller
- Wifi Card
- USB Controllers
If you have outdated or damaged drivers, it could be affecting your internet connection. Since you can’t download them on your computer if you have no internet access, you may need to use a separate computer and a flash drive to get the new files. If you had a tool like Driver Support that automatically updates your drivers, it may not have been a problem. Try our tool today: