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[Resolved] ‘Your DNS Server Might Be Unavailable’ error

By Emmanuel Seriki | July 24, 2020 |

greater than 13 minutes

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On computers, DNS (Domain Name System) is the setup that enables the storage and retrieval of domain names for the sites that users visit.

What does the ‘DNS server might be unavailable’ message mean?

When you want to visit a certain website, your web browser searches for its domain name and your router forwards the search task to your DNS server. If the domain name has been saved, then the system sends the corresponding IP address. Hence, given the way things work, the loading process goes smoothly.

The process is powered by the DNS setup and works fine for the most part. However, sometimes, the system gets broken, falls to corruption, or stops working for a wide range of potential reasons. In such scenarios, the DNS server fails to establish the necessary connection, and hence, you see an error in this form:

Your DNS server might be unavailable

You may also see the error after running a Windows troubleshooter (or Windows Network Diagnostics) to resolve issues that prevent your computer from connecting to the internet. In any case, you need not worry – you are hardly the only user who is facing the problem in question.

Other DNS problems – especially those similar to the one defined by the DNS unavailability notification – may manifest themselves in other ways and force Windows to display the following messages:

  • DNS server is not responding
  • DNS server is down
  • DNS server is not available
  • DNS server timed out
  • DNS server disconnected
  • DNS server not found
  • DNS server could not be found

So, if you see any of the notifications above, then you can rest easy knowing that you are in good company. We will now proceed to the primary part of this guide, where we get to show you how to remove the Your DNS server might be unavailable notifications and resolve the issues associated with them. We intend to address all the DNS problems in the stated forms.

How to fix ‘Your DNS server might be unavailable’ in Windows 10

For efficiency purposes, we advise that you begin your troubleshooting with the first procedure on the list. And – if the need arises – you should work your way through the rest of the solutions in the order they appear.

Restart/reset your router:

The quickest fix to a wide range of DNS problems requires users to refresh their internet setup. And the fastest way of doing that is by resetting or restarting the router powering the connection between your computer and your ISP.

Many users managed to resolve the ‘DNS server might be unavailable’ error by doing so, so it makes sense for you to do the same thing now. Ideally, to restart your router, you should do this:

  • Grab the router (physically).
  • Locate and press its power button. Now, you have to wait for as long as necessary until the device goes off.

Or you can simply unplug your router from the power source and wait for a minute. This way, you get to be sure of things (if you do not know where your router power’s button is or if you do not know how long you have to wait for your router to lose power).

  • Here, you must press the power button on your router again to turn on the device.
  • Wait for your router to initialize.

It will start transmitting wireless signals soon.

  • Now, on your PC, connect to your Wi-Fi.
  • Test out your internet connection to see if things have gotten better: Fire up your web browser and try visiting some websites.

If the DNS problem persists, then you will do well to restart your computer and then run the same tests again.

Try a different web browser:

Here, we want you to use a different web browser application to find out if the DNS problems are restricted to the browser you have been using. Well, sometimes, inconsistencies or discrepancies creep into browsers’ settings or code to cause issues for users, so we want you to find out the truth in your case.

There are many good browser applications for the Windows platform. Depending on the browser you use currently, you can try any of these: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Internet Explorer.

In any case, if web pages load normally on a different browser or if the same DNS errors do not manifest themselves, then you more or less have your confirmation that the DNS problem is down to issues in your browser. In such a scenario, you will do well to resolve problems for that browser by either resetting the entirety of the browser’s settings or reinstalling the browser application.

Run the Windows Network Troubleshooter and other troubleshooters:

If you are yet to run a troubleshooter to deal with the DNS problems, then it is time you used one and got some assistance from it. By design, in Windows, troubleshooters are incredibly useful programs that diagnose problems and proffer solutions to them or fix them (where possible). Microsoft added several troubleshooting programs to Windows for different events, problems, setups, utilities, and so on.

Since you are dealing with a DNS server issue that affects your use of the internet, the Windows Network Troubleshooter is the troubleshooter most likely to help you in some way, so we want you to run this particular troubleshooter first. If this troubleshooter fails to do enough to make things right, then we will suggest other troubleshooters you can use.

These instructions cover the entirety of the process involving the use of troubleshooters:

  • Press and hold down the Windows button on your device’s keyboard and then tap the letter S key.
  • Now, assuming the search function on the Windows Start screen is visible, you must type the following text into the text box there: Network troubleshooter.
  • Once Find and fix network problems (Control Panel) emerges as the primary entry on the results list, you must click on it.

The main Internet Connections window or dialog will be brought up now.

  • Click on Advanced. And now, you must click on the box for Apply repairs automatically (to select this parameter).
  • Here, with everything set, you must click on Run as administrator.
  • Follow the on-screen directions to allow the troubleshooter to carry out the necessary tasks.

The troubleshooter will run a scan to determine what’s wrong with your internet setup and make the necessary changes. In any case, no matter what happens, once the troubleshooter finishes its job, you must close all dialogs and applications and then restart your computer.

After the reboot, you must open your web browser and then try going to some sites to see what happens.

If the connection operations fail and the ‘DNS server not available’ message comes up again, then you have to continue with the procedure involving troubleshooters. This time, we want you to try several troubleshooters from the Settings app. Go through these steps now:

  • First, you must open the Settings app: use the Windows button + letter I key combination.
  • Once the Settings window appears, you must click on Update and Security.
  • Now, go to the left section of the window and click on Troubleshoot.
  • Here, in the right pane, under Troubleshoot, you must carefully go through all the listed troubleshooters.

You will see Internet Connections, but you need not run this troubleshooter again since we already walked you through the procedure involving it recently. You should only use it now if you did not use it then.

  • This time, we recommend you click on Incoming Connections (to get this troubleshooter highlighted).
  • Click on the Run the troubleshooter button.

Windows will bring up the selected troubleshooter window now. The same guidelines we gave earlier come into play here.

  • Follow the on-screen directions to allow the troubleshooter to carry out the necessary tasks.

Here too, no matter what happens, once the troubleshooter finishes its job, you must close all dialogs and programs and then restart the PC. And after the reboot, you have to do some tests to know if the DNS problem has been resolved.

If things remain the same, then you have to follow the same steps above to run other troubleshooters from the Troubleshoot menu in Settings. For example, you can run the Network Adapter troubleshooter (since it’s related to your problem). The same guidelines and recommendations apply again.

Disable your antivirus and firewall temporarily; uninstall your antivirus:

Here, we are considering the possibility that the DNS server problem you are struggling with is entirely down to your antivirus or firewall. Antiviruses and firewalls are very much capable of screening incoming and outcoming connections, intercepting them, and stopping them in their tracks.

Perhaps, your antivirus or firewall is using a poor or unreasonable configuration; your antivirus or firewall might be overreaching and acting against your interests (even though it has good intentions). What happened or what’s happening right now does not matter. We want you to put down your antivirus and do away with your firewall to see if things get better.

To disable your antivirus, you have to do this:

  • Open the program and then enter its settings menu or main configuration screen.
  • Find the Turn off or Disable button and use it.

You will probably have to specify how long your antivirus must stay down. We recommend you choose the permanent option (if it exists) or the option that keeps it off till the next reboot.

  • Save the changes and then leave the settings or configuration screen.
  • Restart your browser and then visit several websites to see if things have gotten better.

To disable your firewall, you have to do this:

  • Open the Windows firewall utility or the setup through which you configured the firewall in the first place.
  • Go to the screen for firewall rules.

If the application allows you to disable all the firewall rules, then you should take the chance. Otherwise – if you can only relax the rules for specific apps – you have to locate your browser application and disable the rules for the program.

  • Save the changes and then close the firewall utility or setup.
  • Close your browser and then reopen it. Test things to see if your internet connection now works.

In any case, if the DNS issue continues to bother you even after you performed the necessary tasks to put down your antivirus or firewall, then you will do well to make more moves against the defense program or protection setup. Here, we want you to uninstall your antivirus or firewall utility – because uninstallation is the process that will prove your antivirus or firewall utility’s involvement or noninvolvement in the problems you are facing.

To uninstall an application, you must go to the Apps screen in Settings or get to the Programs and Features menu in Control Panel. You will then have to locate the unwanted program and then initiate the uninstallation task for it. Follow the on-screen directions and play your part to ensure the app gets uninstalled properly. After removing the application, you must restart your computer.

After the reboot, you must test your internet connection to confirm that the DNS issue is no longer in play.

If you find out that your antivirus or firewall played a role in causing the DNS trouble you worked hard to resolve, then you justifiably have to do away with the program or setup. Uninstall your antivirus or delete your firewall configuration – if you are yet to do so. You do not need protection utilities or settings that cause more problems than they solve.

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Reset your TCP/IP; flush your DNS:

Here, we want you to run certain netsh and winsock commands on an elevated Command Prompt window to force serious shake-ups in your network settings, internet configuration, and system setup. By resetting your TCP/IP and flushing your DNS, you get to clear corrupted, bad entries and give your cache a fresh start.

These instructions cover everything:

  • Use the Windows button + letter X key combination to access the useful programs and options that constitute the Power User menu.
  • From the list on your screen, click on Command Prompt (Admin).

Your computer will fire up a Command Prompt window with administrative rights or privileges now.

  • Now, on the Command Prompt window, you must run these lines of commands (in the order they appear):
  1. ipconfig /flushdns
  2. ipconfig /release
  3. ipconfig /renew
  4. nbtstat –r
  5. netsh int ip reset
  6. netsh winsock reset
  • Close the admin Command Prompt window.
  • Restart your PC to round up things.
  • Open your browser and test things there to see if the ‘DNS server might be unavailable’ error bothers you again.

Enter the IP address manually:

In some scenarios, the ‘Your DNS server might be unavailable’ error appears when Windows struggles to set the IP address. Well, Windows is supposed to determine the relevant IP address and configure stuff for that address automatically, but we know too well that things do not always go as planned.

Well, we want you to give Windows a helping hand by telling it what IP it should use. Follow these instructions:

  • Open the Run app: Press the Windows logo button and then tap the letter R key.
  • Once the Run dialog appears, type in this code:

ncpa.cpl

  • Hit the Enter button on your device’s keyboard.

Windows will run the inputted code and direct you to the Network Connections screen in the Control Panel application.

  • Now, you must locate the internet connection your computer is using (or the internet setup you intend to use).
  • Right-click on the internet connection to see the available options. Select Properties.

Your computer will bring up the Properties window or dialog for the chosen connection now.

  • Under the This connection uses the following items text, you must locate Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on it (to get it highlighted).
  • Click on the Properties button (just below the box containing the list).

Your computer will bring up the Properties window or dialog for the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) parameter now.

  • Click on the radio button for Use the following IP address (to select this option).
  • Now, you have to fill the boxes for the IP address, Subnet mask, and Default gateway with the correct values.
  • Click on the radio button for Use the following DNS server addresses (to select this option).
  • Click on the OK button.
  • Click on the Apply button and then click on the OK button to finish things.
  • Close the Control Panel app.
  • Run your web browser. Try visiting some websites to see how your internet performs.

Instruct your computer to configure the DNS automatically:

If the manual DNS setup – based on the previous procedure– fails to deliver the needed results, then you may as well force Windows to set up things for your DNS on its own. In the projected scenario, you can retain the manual setup for IP.

Follow these instructions to do the job here:

  • Open the Run app through the known keyboard shortcut (Windows button + letter R).
  • Here too, you must fill the text box on the Run window with ncpa.cpl and then tap Enter to run it.
  • Assuming you are now on the Network Connections screen in Control Panel, you must perform the same tasks we outlined in the previous procedure.

We want you to get to the Properties window or dialog for Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).

  • Leave the setting for IP address the way it is currently.
  • Click on the radio button for Obtain DNS server address automatically (to select this option).
  • Click on the OK button.
  • On the remaining dialogs or windows, you must click on the Apply button and then click on the OK button (where applicable).
  • Close the Control Panel app.
  • Fire up your preferred web browser. Try using the internet to see what happens now.

Use Google’s public DNS or OpenDNS:

Here, we are finally considering the possibility that the DNS server your computer has been trying to use is broken or down. DNS servers are stable for the most part; they rarely experience downtimes. However, at this point, if you are yet to find a way past the ‘Your DNS server might be unavailable’ error – even with all the fixes you tried – then perhaps, Windows is right about your DNS server being unusable.

Google’s public DNS is free and fast. It is probably the best DNS server accessible to everybody. There are almost no risks or downsides associated with using Google’s DNS server. However, if you do not want to use something from Google, then you can use OpenDNS. Or you can even try the DNS from Cloudflare, which is supposed to work better than both Google’s public DNS and OpenDNS.

Follow these instructions to use Google’s public DNS:

  • Open the Run app: You can press the Windows logo button and then tap the letter R key.
  • Once the Run dialog appears, you must type this text into the box there:

ncpa.cpl

  • Tap the Enter button on your device’s keyboard.

Windows will execute the code and take you to the Network Connections screen in the Control Panel application.

  • Now, you must locate the internet connection your computer is using (or the internet setup you intend to use).
  • Right-click on the internet connection to see the available options. Choose Properties.

Windows will bring up the Properties window or dialog for the chosen connection now.

  • Under This connection uses the following items, you must find Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on it (to get it highlighted).
  • Click on the Properties button.

Windows will bring up the Properties window or dialog for the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) parameter now.

  • Click on the radio button for Obtain an IP address automatically (to select this option).
  • Now, you must click on the radio button for Use the following DNS server addresses (to select this option).
  • Here, you must fill the boxes for Preferred DNS server and Alternate DNS server with 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 respectively.

Well, those are the figures for Google’s public DNS server. If you want to use OpenDNS or CloudFlare’s DNS, then you will do well to do some research online to figure out their digits for Preferred DNS server and Alternate DNS server. You can then fill the relevant boxes with the right values.

  • Click on the OK button.
  • Click on the Apply button and then click on the OK button (on the remaining windows or dialogs).
  • Close the Control Panel app.
  • Restart your browser. Try going to some websites to see if things have changed.

If the Your DNS server might be unavailable error comes up again when you try to use the internet on your computer, then you will do well to restart your PC and then check things again.

Other things you can try to fix the ‘Your DNS Server might be unavailable’ error on a Windows 10 PC

If your internet connection problem persists, then you will do well to try these solutions and workarounds.

  • Try a different internet connection (use a different Wi-Fi network, for example).
  • Try a different internet setup (use Ethernet in place of Wi-Fi, for example).
  • Download and install all Windows updates.
  • Disable all proxies. Turn off all VPNs.
  • Try a different router.
Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.

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