DNS Servers: What Are They and How to Troubleshoot When They Aren't Responding

When you enter a website URL into your browser, the computer needs to know the IP address of the website's server to access its content. This is where DNS servers come in - they are responsible for translating domain names into IP addresses so that your browser can connect to the correct server. But what happens when the DNS server isn't responding?

What is the purpose of a DNS server?

A DNS (Domain Name System) server is a network protocol that translates domain names into IP addresses. This allows us to use user-friendly domain names instead of hard-to-remember IP addresses when accessing websites. DNS servers are critical to the internet's functionality, as they allow for efficient web browsing and access to online resources.

What is a primary DNS server?

A primary DNS server is the first server in charge of resolving domain names. It is the server that your computer initially queries to resolve a domain name into an IP address. If the primary DNS server is unable to find the corresponding IP address, it will then query secondary DNS servers for the information.

DNS Server Isn't Responding

If you encounter issues with your DNS server, there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot the problem:

1. Try another web browser.

If your DNS server seems to be unresponsive, try another web browser to see if the issue persists. Sometimes a simple change of browser can resolve the issue.

2. Deactivate your firewall temporarily.

If your firewall is enabled, it's possible that it is blocking your DNS server from functioning properly. Try temporarily disabling your firewall and accessing the website again.

3. Restart your router.

Restarting your router can help resolve issues with your DNS server. Simply unplug the power cord, wait a few seconds, and plug it back in. This will clear any stored data and refresh your connection.

4. Flush your DNS cache and Reset Your IP

Flushing your DNS cache can help resolve issues with your DNS server. To do this, open the command prompt and type 'ipconfig /flushdns'. Additionally, resetting your IP address can also help - type 'ipconfig /release' and 'ipconfig /renew' to release and renew your IP address.

Best DNS Servers

Not all DNS servers are created equal. Some servers are faster and more reliable than others. Here are a few of the best DNS servers available:

  • Google DNS
  • Cloudflare DNS
  • OpenDNS
  • Comodo Secure DNS

My DNS Server

For optimal browsing speed, it's recommended to find the DNS server that works best for you. You can do this by using a benchmarking tool like DNSBench, which will test various DNS servers and determine which one is fastest for your internet connection.

Getting the Best of Your DNS Server

To optimize your DNS server for faster browsing speed, you can shorten your DNS cache time to reduce the time it takes for your DNS server to look up an IP address. Additionally, you can configure your router to use a different DNS server than the one provided by your ISP. Finally, consider using a DNS-based content filtering service to block malicious sites and content.