14 Ways to The DNS Server Isn’t Responding” in Windows 10

One of the common problems many users face when trying to access the Internet is DNS not responding error. In case you don’t know, DNS is responsible for translating human-readable web address like google.com to computer understandable IP address. When the DNS server is not working as it should, you will not be able to access the Internet as the web browser don’t know where to go when you type in the human-readable address.

There is any number of reasons why you are stuck with the DNS not responding error. However, to help solve the error, I’ve listed quite a few fixes you can try. Go through one fix after the other and see what works for you.

Read: 10 Step by Step Fix to WiFi Connected But No Internet Access

Fix DNS Server Isn’t Responding in Windows 10/8/7

1. Check If the Internet is Working on Other Devices

Before doing anything, connect your other devices like mobile phone and laptop to the same network and see if you can access the Internet from those devices. If you can access the Internet from those devices, then the problem is with your computer. If you cannot access the Internet from those other devices too, then the problem might be with the DNS server, router, or your ISP. In those situations, you can skip most of the fixes below and follow the fix number 5, 9, and 14.

2. Restart Your Computer

Any time you see a problem with your computer, the first and foremost thing you should do is restart your system. In general, restarting your system fixes and a lot of issues automatically. So, right-click on the start menu and select the “Shutdown or sign out -> Restart” option. After restarting, try again and see if the DNS not responding error is fixed. If not, moved on to the next step.

fix dns server not responding 01 - restart windows

3. Use Another Browser

Sometimes, no matter what browser you are using, it might act funny and prevent you from accessing the Internet. So, just to be sure, use another browser and see if you can access the Internet without DNS not responding error. Don’t forget to do this step after restarting your system. Alternatively, you can ping google.com from the cmd. If the other browser is working fine, then it’s just the browser that has DNS issue. Reinstall it and that should fix the issue.

4. Verify Hosts File If Only a Few Websites are not Working

Sometimes, it is possible that only some websites are not working on your system. One of the reasons might be that the website is blocked in the hosts file. Just to make sure, it is good to check if the website you are trying to access isn’t blocked in the hosts file.

Search for Notepad in the start menu, right-click on it and select “Run as Administrator”. Next, click on the “File -> Open” option. Go to ” C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc”, select “All files” from the drop-down menu, select “hosts” file and click on the “Open” button.

fix dns server not responding 02 - select hosts files

Your hosts file should look like the one in the image below. If not, delete any extra entries, save the file and try to access the blocked websites.

fix dns server not responding 03 - hosts file

5. Restart Your Router

Routers, for any number of reasons, act funny from time to time and prevent you from accessing the internet even though there is no problem with your ISP. I’ve seen it happen several times. The good thing is, restarting the router will fix the issue. So, log in to your router admin page and reboot it. If you have a hardware button to reboot, you can use that too.

fix dns server not responding 04 - restart router

6. Run Windows Internet Diagnostics Tool

Windows has all sorts of easy to use diagnostic tools that find and fixes all sorts of issues. One such tool is the Internet Connections Diagnostic Tool. This tool scans your system and tries to fix the issues it finds.

To run the diagnostics tools, open the Settings app and go to “Update and Security -> Troubleshoot”. On the right-panel, click on the “Internet Connections” button. Next, click on the “Run the troubleshooter” button.

fix dns server not responding 05 - click run troubleshooter button

Follow the wizard and Windows should find and fix any problems for you.

fix dns server not responding 06 - troubleshooter running

7. Disable and Enable Network Adapter

If you’ve recently installed any software or driver, it might be in conflict with your network adapter. In those situations, you can fix it by simply disabling and enabling the network adapter.

Open control panel and go to “Networking and Sharing Center”. On the left panel, click on the “Change adapter settings” link.

fix dns server not responding 07 - change adapter settings link

Right-click on your current network adapter and select the option “Disable”.

fix dns server not responding 08 - disable adapter

This action will disable the network adapter.

fix dns server not responding 09 - adapter disabled

Right-click on the disabled network adapter again and select the “Enable” option.

fix dns server not responding 10 - enable adapter

Once enabled, see if you can access the internet.

8. Clear DNS Cache

Windows caches all the DNS requests so that you can connect to the websites faster. However, if the DNS cache is corrupted and not flushed out, you might face the DNS not responding error. You can easily solve this by clearing the DNS cache.

To do that, search for “command prompt” in the start menu and open it. Now, execute the below command and Windows will clear the DNS cache.

Ipconfig /flushdns

fix dns server not responding 11 - clear dns cache

After clearing the DNS cache, see if the problem is fixed.

9. Change DNS Server

More often than not, when you sign up with your ISP, they will configure your Internet settings to use their own DNS servers. Compared to other public DNS services like Google or Cloudflare, most probably, your ISP DNS server is pretty lackluster and error-prone. So, when facing DNS problems, you can try switching to other public DNS services.

Generally, you can change the DNS server manually from the network adapter options. However, there is an easier way to change the DNS server. That is by using free software called DNS Jumper. This software allows you to hop between several DNS services and check which works the best.

So, download DNS Jumper, open the application, select “Google Public DNS” from the “Choose a DNS Server” dropdown menu and hit the “Apply DNS” button.

fix dns server not responding 12 - change dns address

After changing the DNS server, try to visit the website of your choice. If you want to, you can follow the previous step and clear the DNS cache again.

10. Disable All Other Network Adapters

I’ve seen this often enough that I have to list it as a possible solution. When you have multiple network adapters, they might be in conflict with your main network adapter and cause problems. This especially happens when you’ve just installed a network driver or a network adapter. So, disabling all the other network adapters other than the one you are using might sometimes fix the issue.

To disable network adapters, open the control panel and go to “Networking and Sharing Center” -> “Change adapter settings”. Now, except your main network adapter, right-click on each adapter and select “Disable”.

fix dns server not responding 13 - disable other adapters

Once you’ve disabled all the network adapter except your main one, see if the DNS not responding problem still persists.

11. Apply Mac Address Manually

Generally, Windows is pretty good at the detecting and applying the MAC address to the network adapter. However, there are certain situations where this process goes haywire and cause problems. In those cases, you can try adding the mac address manually to the network adapter.

First, we need to find the MAC address of the adapter. To do that, open the command prompt and execute the below command.

Ipconfig /all

You will see the mac address of your network adapter right next to “Physical Address”. Note it down in a text file.

fix dns server not responding 14 - copy mac address

Now, open the control panel and go to “Network and Sharing Center” -> “Change adapter settings”. Right-click on your network adapter and select “Properties”.

fix dns server not responding 15 - select network properties

In the properties window, click on the “Configure” button.

fix dns server not responding 16 - click configure button

Next, go to the “Advanced” tab and select “Network Address” option. Now, select radio option next to the blank field, and type in the MAC address that you copied earlier without any dashes. Click on the “Ok” button to save changes.

fix dns server not responding 17 - paste mac address

Reboot your computer and see if it fixes the issues.

12. Check Your Antivirus

Antivirus software is an essential part to keep you safe from a myriad of online and offline threats. Though Windows has built-in antivirus called Windows Defender, many use third-party antivirus software for greater protection. As part of that protection, they can sometimes be a bit too aggressive and block your internet causing the DNS not responding error. To fix that, you can simply uninstall your antivirus software.

To uninstall antivirus software, open the control panel and go to “Programs and Features”. From the list of installed software, find the antivirus software, right-click on it and select the “Uninstall” option. Follow the uninstallation wizard to uninstall the antivirus software.

After uninstalling the antivirus, reboot Windows and see if you can access the internet.

fix dns server not responding 18 - uninstall antivirus

13. Reinstall Network Drivers

Corrupted network drivers can cause all sorts of problems. By simply updating or reinstalling the drive, you might be able to fix DNS not responding error. You can download the latest network drivers from your motherboard manufacturer website. So, find a device that has access to the internet, like your mobile phone, and download the latest network driver from your motherboard manufacturer website.

Once you have the driver, copy it to your computer. Next, search for “Device Manager” in the start menu and open it. Here, expand Network Adapter section, right-click on your network adapter and select “Uninstall device”.

fix dns server not responding 19 - uninstall network driver

Reboot Windows.

After restarting, install the downloaded driver like any other Windows software and reboot Windows to apply the driver.

See if this fixes this issue.

14. Contact Your ISP

If all the above steps failed to solve the DNS not responding error, then the problem might be with your ISP. They might’ve misconfigured something. If that’s the case, then there is nothing you can do from your side. So, contact your ISP and explain the situation and they should be able to fix the issue for you.

Hope that helps. If you think I missed any other fix to list here, then comment below and share it with me.

About Vamsi Krishna

Vamsi is a tech geek who enjoys writing how-to guides and tinkering with computers and software in general. He especially loves using Windows and writing about it. You can check out his Windows guides at WindowsLoop.