DNS outages can cause headaches for everyone involved. Sites that experience problems can lead to a poor user experience and possible loss of money for the company.
DNS means: domain name system† It is an Internet directory that associates IP addresses with domain names. Each website has its own web IP address. Users can type in a website’s IP address to visit a site. However, they are difficult to remember. So most people use the domain name instead.
DNS servers point users to the correct location so that websites load correctly. DNS errors occur when you cannot connect to an IP address. This type of failure usually occurs because you have lost the Internet connection or network connection.
Occasional DNS outages are inevitable. However, not all of them are significant attacks and can be solved relatively easily.
Check the basics first
Not all connection problems are DNS problems. For example, if no router is connected, you will not be able to connect to the Internet. But it’s not a DNS problem.
Some DNS outages can be easily fixed by checking the following:
- Check your domain name servers. If you’ve changed hosting companies or domain registrars, they may be incorrect and easy to fix.
- If you’ve recently made changes to your name servers, they will take time to spread across the web. This can take 24 to 48 hours.
- Restart your router by turning it off, waiting a minute and then turning it back on.
- Check that all your connections and cables are connected correctly.
- Run a malware scan to see if a virus is blocking your Internet access.
- If you’re having trouble reaching a specific site, it could be a problem with the website and not your connection. One way to check this is by going to . to go Down for everyone or just for me†
Is it your router?
Routers have their own CPU, memory, motherboard and even an operating system. All these components manage the data traffic. These router components can become overloaded. This is the same concept as opening too many browsers at once on a laptop causing it to crash.
When you send a lot of data through your router to many devices, it may slow down or stop working at all. In addition, most home computer internet connections use dynamic IP addresses. ISPs assign an IP address to each modem for a specified period of time.
When this time has passed, your ISP will send your modem a new IP address. However, if your router is very busy, it may not get the message with the new IP address and will keep trying to use the old expired IP address.
If the vents of the router are blocked by dust or cables, it can overheat. So make sure they are not blocked.
Follow the steps below to reboot your router:
- Turn off the router and disconnect it.
- Disconnect all other access points, such as a modem, that make up your network.
- Wait between 20 and 30 seconds.
- Plug everything back in.
- Turn the router’s power button back on.
- Wait 30 to 60 seconds.
Waiting gives your router the time it needs to establish a stable connection. Try restarting your router if you can’t connect, can’t connect to the Internet, or your device doesn’t list your network as available.
More in-depth troubleshooting
If the above steps did not resolve your issue, it could be one of the following common DNS issues.
Computers store network information about attempts and recent visits to websites.
This cache can sometimes get corrupted. To clear your cache, enter the following in the command prompt:
This will clear the cache so that the DNS information will be refreshed the next time you visit the same website.
Your domain name
If your website address works but doesn’t point to your site, you may have forgotten to renew your domain name. Contact your domain registrar quickly and see if you can get it back.
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) are the settings that determine how computers communicate with other devices.
In front of IPv6 and IPv4 properties, the settings should be set to Obtain an IP address automatically and Obtain DNS Server Address Automatically†
To learn more about checking these settings, read:
Still not resolved?
If none of the above fixes your DNS failure, it could be a misconfiguration or error that is causing the problem.
Windows has a built-in tool called nslookup† It can be used to resolve DNS commands to determine the specific internal or external issues.
The most common DNS records that can cause problems are:
- The CNAME (Canonical name) refers one domain name to another.
- The A records are the basic DNS data that matches domains with IP addresses.
- MX (Mail Exchange) registers direct emails from your domain to a host server.
For a full tutorial, watch Troubleshoot DNS issues with Nslookup†
If you’re still having DNS issues, try one of the following tools to diagnose and fix your problem. IntoDNS is a free tool that checks the configuration and health of DNS records.
It provides a report with suggestions for troubleshooting that refer to the official documentation of protocols.
OpenDNS cache check is a tool that provides unique insights into how OpenDNS solves your domain. It directly queries your domain using all OpenDNS servers and reports the results.
Network Tools offers free network tools, including NS Lookup, DNS Lookup, and domain and host information.
Take precautions and be prepared
All websites will experience some downtime at some point. No service can promise 100% uptime.
We’ve all seen the headlines when high-profile cloud outages occur. However, there are some precautions you can take to protect your business from DNS outages.
- Use more than one DNS service provider in different locations and on different servers.
- Separate external DNS servers from internal servers.
- Use different domains for public and internal use.
- The DNS service provider must be separate from the domain name registrar.
- Avoid providers that require web-based control panels to update configurations. Instead, set up a DNS server that updates your information from a DNS zone transfer that is not publicly available.
- Use two-factor authentication on your registrar account.
Monitor your DNS server
Cyber criminals are finding new ways to spread malware and infect computer systems.
Monitoring your DNS server activity can alert you to signs of poor performance or failure. Be proactive and monitor your DNS uptime and performance. Detect issues as they happen to ensure your website visitors have a positive user experience.
DNS Tools provides a suite of monitoring tools to get real-time insights into how your DNS configurations are performing across the web.
If you run into a problem, try the suggestions above to resolve your DNS outage.