Are you connected to the internet but can’t open websites? It’s likely then that you have DNS issues. The purpose of this article is to share how to fix DNS issues. DNS issues can occur for several reasons and there are some telltale signs that clue you in if you are experiencing them. The most obvious reason for having DNS issues is when you are connected to the internet but can’t open a webpage.
What is DNS?
DNS stands for Domain Name Service and it translates the IP address of a destination into a name. Humans have a hard time remembering long numbers like IP addresses but they can easily remember names. That is why we type in names and a domain suffix like “.com” or “.org” instead of using 192.168.0.1 into our browsers. You can read more about DNS on Cloudflare.
Why Does DNS Fail?
DNS can fail for a multitude of reasons. Most often, DNS will fail as a result of your modem/router, or Internet Service Provider (ISP). It can also fail from the web host provider side. In that case, the web host provider may have made a mistake during a maintenance window. If you are experiencing this issue with only one website, it is likely due to the webhost’s DNS not working correctly.
How to Test if DNS is Not Working
The first indicator that DNS is not working is that it seems you still have internet but cannot reach a website. You might see the error message “DNS Server Not Responding” or “Cannot Connect to Host”. If all the websites you visit show this same error message, but it still looks like you have internet, then it is likely a DNS issue. You can try to use the ping utility from command prompt to make sure you do have internet.
- Open command prompt by pressing the Windows Key on your keyboard or opening your start menu and type “cmd”.
- Type ipconfig and make sure you have an entry for “Connection-specific DNS Suffix”. It should be an address from your ISP like isp1.state.isp-name.net
- Using the entry for the type nslookupp isp1.state.isp-name.net
- This should return the IP address that your ISP uses for a DNS provider.
- Ping the IP address to make sure that the destination is reachable over the internet. In this case the IP address was 18.104.22.168 (Google), so you would type “ping 22.214.171.124”. If you received the message “Destination host unreachable” then you know that there is an issue connecting to the DNS server.
- Try pinging the IP address of popular known websites like google.com, yahoo.com or bing.com. Simply use nslookup to find their IP addresses, then use ping to see if you have network connectivity. If you receive a reply, then you know for sure it is your DNS server that is the problem.
How Can I Fix DNS Issues?
The fastest way you can fix a DNS issue is by changing your DNS server. You can do this in command prompt but it’s just easier to do in Windows. This example will use Windows 11.
- Right click on the internet icon in your task tray. Select Network and internet settings.
- Select Advanced network Settings
- Select the network adapter you are using to connect to the internet. It is either wireless or Ethernet (directly plugged in using an ethernet cable).
- Select Edit under DNS Server Assignment
- Change it from Automatic (DHCP) to Manual
- Type in 126.96.36.199 for Preferred DNS – this is Google’s DNS servers and are widely used
- Type in 188.8.131.52. for alternate DNS – this is Cloudflare’s DNS servers and are also widely used
- Set Preferred DNS Encryption to Encryption preferred if Unencrypted was selected to increase your internet security.
Your DNS issues should now be fixed, and your issue of being “Connected to the Internet but Can’t Open Websites” should go away. You should be able to reach websites and other services by name. If you are experiencing issues with certain applications, websites, or other services like video games, then your best bet is to open a support ticket with them. It is on their side at that point.