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How To Fix the “DNS Server Unavailable” Error Message

Are you getting an error message saying your DNS server is unavailable? Don't worry, this problem can be solved. 9 different methods to get your internet connection working again!

dns server unavailable
Nobody wants to see the dreaded “DNS Server Unavailable” error message. What is it? Why does it happen? How do I fix it? In this blog post, we will answer these questions and more so you can get back to your work! 

The first thing you need to know about DNS servers is that they are a crucial part of how the internet works. They translate web addresses into IP addresses, which allow your computer to reach a website's server.

If a DNS server isn't working properly, then there's no way for your computer to reach any websites at all! This is what happens when you receive the infamous "DNS Server Unavailable" error message. But don’t panic. You can use some of these methods to fix this issue and get back on the Internet as soon as possible.

9 Ways to solve the “DNS Server Unavailable” error

There are many possible causes for this issue on your computer. The DNS server might be down or your DNS settings could be incorrect, but there is hope! This article will give you 9 different ways to resolve this problem so that you can get back online in no time at all.

Method 1. Restart your computer and router

Here's a quick fix to the most common computer and internet issues: simply restarting your system. You can also reboot your router, which will allow it to start with a clean slate too! Here are simple steps for how to do this on Windows 10 and any internet router.

  1. Click on the Windows icon in the bottom-left of your screen to bring up the Start menu.
  2. Click on the Power option, and then choose Restart. This is going to close all of your open applications and completely restart your computer.
    restart your PC/ROUTER
  3. After your computer has restarted, try and see if your network connection is working. If not, move on to the next steps below.

There are many ways to resolve online issues and one of them is restarting your router. There's no reason not to try it out since all you need for this step is 3 easy steps, described below:

  1. Locate the power button on your router and turn the device off.
  2. Wait for a few minutes. We recommend waiting 5 minutes to allow your router and network to properly shut down.
  3. Turn your router back on.

If you're still unable to access the internet after restarting your computer and router, continue reading. We'll help you try some other fixes below!

Method 2. Temporarily disable your antivirus

Antivirus applications are known to cause issues on computers by interfering with your internet connection or blocking apps and services from running properly. You can test if the antivirus you’re using at the moment is causing the “DNS Server Unavailable” error by temporarily disabling it.

Note: This method isn’t recommended as it’s unsafe to use your computer without protection. Only proceed if you’re aware of the possible risks and have a backup of your system to revert any damage that may happen.

  1. Right-click on an empty space in your taskbar and choose Task Manager. If the Task Manager launched in compact mode, make sure to expand details by clicking on the “Mode details” button.
    temporarily disable antivirus
  2. Switch to the Start-up tab using the header menu located at the top of the window. Here, find your antivirus application from the list and select it by clicking on it once.
  3. Click on the Disable button now visible in the bottom-right of the window. This will disable the application from launching when you start your device.
    disable antivirus
  4. Restart your computer.

Method 3. Flush DNS with the Command Prompt

If your DNS is outdated, you can manually clear its cache (also known as temporary files) to potentially fix the issues this causes. The method takes no more than a few minutes and involves using Command Prompt.

  1. Open the search bar in your taskbar by clicking on the magnifying glass icon. You can also bring it up with the Windows + S keyboard shortcut.
  2. Type Command Prompt in the search box. When you see it in the results, right-click on it and choose Run as Administrator.
    flash DNS in command prompt
  3. When prompted by the User Account Control (UAC), click Yes to allow the app to launch with administrative permissions.
  4. Input the commands below in the following order, pressing the Enter key on your keyboard after each line: 
    ipconfig /flushdns
    ipconfig /registerdns
    ipconfig /renew
    ipconfig /release
    flash DNS in command prompt
  5. Close the Command Prompt and open any web browser. Check if you’re able to access a website, such as Google.com or another common search engine.

Method 4. Reset TCP/IP using the Command prompt

If the message “Your DNS server might be unavailable” is popping up frequently, you can likely solve it by using the netsh command. What it does is reset your TCP/IP in case something is misconfigured or broken. This method isn’t very difficult, and we show how to do it below!

  1. Open the search bar in your taskbar by clicking on the magnifying glass icon. You can also bring it up with the Windows + S keyboard shortcut.
  2. Type Command Prompt in the search box. When you see it in the results, right-click on it and choose Run as Administrator. When prompted by the User Account Control (UAC), click Yes to allow the app to launch with administrative permissions.
  3. Input the commands below in the following order, pressing the Enter key on your keyboard after each line:
    netsh int ip set dns
    netsh winsock reset
    retart IP using command promt
  4. Close the Command Prompt and open any web browser. Check if you’re able to access a website, such as Google.com or another common search engine.

Method 5. Automatically obtain DNS details

Automatically obtaining DNS server details may help you resolve critical errors in your configuration.

  1. Press Ctrl + X on your keyboard, and then click on Network Connections from the context menu.
    automatically obtain DNS details
  2. Select your current connection type (for example “Wi-Fi” or “Ethernet”) in the left pane, and then click on Change adapter options on the right pane.
    change adapter options
  3. Right-click on the connection you’re currently using and select Properties.
    adapter properties
  4. Scroll down until you see the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option. If there’s no checkmark next to it, click on the box once to enable it. Afterwards, click on the Properties button to open a popup window.
    IPV4 properties
  5. Make sure that you have both Obtain an IP address automatically, and Obtain DNS server address automatically selected. This will make it so your computer will automatically find the correct, possibly working DNS server that’s needed for your configuration.
    obtain IP adress automatically
  6. Click OK and restart your computer. Check if your internet connection has been fixed when the system fully boots up.

Method 6. Manually input a DNS server

This method is essentially the opposite of the previous. If you already tried automatically obtaining DNS details, try to manually input a DNS. There are many public servers you can choose from, which we’ll tell you about below!

  1. Follow the previous steps to get to your adapter properties:
    1. Press Ctrl + X on your keyboard, and then click on Network Connections from the context menu.
    2. Select your current connection type (for example “Wi-Fi” or “Ethernet”) in the left pane, and then click on Change adapter options on the right pane.
    3. Right-click on the connection you’re currently using and select Properties.
    4. Scroll down until you see the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option. If there’s no checkmark next to it, click on the box once to enable it. Afterwards, click on the Properties button to open a popup window.
  2. Select Use the following DNS Server addresses. Now, you have some choices for what DNS server you want to use:
    1. Type 1.1.1.1 into the first row, then 1.0.0.1 into the second row. This will change your DNS to the popular 1.1.1.1 server, which you can read more about by clicking here.
    2. Alternatively, use Google’s DNS server by typing in 8.8.8.8 as Preferred DNS server and 8.8.4.4 as Alternate DNS server.
    3. You can also use OpenDNS if you type in 208.67.222.123 and 208.67.220.123 instead.
      DNS settings
  3. Select Validate settings upon exit, and then click OK. See if the changes have helped you restore your connection to the internet.

Method 7. Change your DNS through your router

If the default method of changing DNS server on Windows 10 doesn't work for you, try setting it through your router instead.

  1. Open any web browser and paste in your router’s access address, which should be your Default Gateway. The Default Gateway address will be the IP displayed when you launch Command Prompt and type in ipconfig.
    change DNS through the router
  2. Log into your router using your credentials. You can usually find this somewhere on your router on a sticker, or on the box it came with. 
  3. Once you’ve logged in, locate your Internet Connection information. This can usually be found in a similarly named tab.
  4. Keep in mind that every router is different — we can’t give you exact instructions here. If you get stuck, search your router’s name and version online, or call your ISP for assistance.
  5. Navigate to the DNS server section, and then select either IPv4 or IPv6 depending on which protocol you use for your connection. Here, enter the address of the DNS server you want to use. Here are some popular choices:
    1. Type 1.1.1.1 into the first row, then 1.0.0.1 into the second row. This will change your DNS to the popular 1.1.1.1 server.
    2. Alternatively, use Google’s DNS server by typing in 8.8.8.8 as Preferred DNS server and 8.8.4.4 as Alternate DNS server.
    3. You can also use OpenDNS if you type in 208.67.222.123 and 208.67.220.123 instead.
  6. Make sure to save the information, and then exit the router interface. Check if you’re able to connect to the internet now.

Method 8. Restart the DNS service

Something you can try is restarting your DNS service directly in Windows 10. Keep in mind that you might need administrative permissions to be able to complete the steps below!

  1. Press the Windows + R keys on your keyboard. This is going to bring up the Run utility.
  2. Type in services.msc and click on the OK button. This is going to launch the Services window, which might take a few seconds to fully load.
    restart DNS service
  3. Right-click on the DNS Client service and choose Refresh from the context menu. This will automatically turn the service off, and back on again safely.
    restart DNS servce
  4. After refreshing the DNS Client service, check if you’re able to connect to the internet properly.

Method 9. Reset or reinstall Windows 10

If nothing above worked, your issue may only be fixed if you reset or reinstall Windows 10. Depending on your preferences, you may reinstall the system without losing any personal files. Unfortunately, most of your applications and system configuration will be deleted in order to give your device a fresh start.

Check our How to Install Windows 10, 8.1 or 7 Using a Bootable USB guide for detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to install Windows 10. For refresh and reset instructions, head to the official Microsoft support page.

Final thoughts

Your DNS server might be down or your DNS settings could be incorrect, but there is always hope here at SoftwareKeep! This article showed you different ways to resolve this problem so that you can get back online in no time at all.

If none of these methods seem like a good match for what's going on with your computer, please feel free to reach out via email or through our live chat system and we'll do everything we can to help get things back up and running again as soon as possible!

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