November 25th, 2020 Read Time: 6 minutes
Justin Sheil is the Content Marketing Manager at Electric. He has 5+ years experience writing about a wide range of technology topics. As part of his role at Electric, he currently functions as the head of the company’s Research & Insights division.
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Today's internet is more resilient than it was even five years ago. There's more redundancy, and resources are more distributed. We've grown accustomed to having access without interruption. That's why messages such as "DNS server not responding", "DNS Server Unavailable" or "Server DNS Address could not be found" can bring on panic attacks. To help calm the nerves, here are some tips for resolving DNS issues.
“Is anyone else’s internet not working?” is the modern office’s equivalent to pulling the fire alarm in a high school—the quickest way to cause hell to break loose. Around half of the time, it’s just the one person who cries wolf that’s having issues—typically solvable with some browser troubleshooting techniques. However, if you run a network diagnostic and are greeted by this message: “Your DNS server might be unavailable,” additional troubleshooting may be in order.
There are a few possible reasons as to why your DNS server might be unavailable. It could be that your browser’s cache needs to be refreshed, or perhaps your router is malfunctioning. The DNS server you are using could be acting up or maybe your firewall is causing problems. All of these issues can lead to that same annoying error message, which means there are also a list of different solutions. But don’t worry, we’re here to talk you down from the ledge and walk you through some DNS troubleshooting.
When you have DNS problems, understanding how DNS servers work can help with troubleshooting. A website has a name and a number. The name is what users key in a browser, such as https://www.electric.ai, to access a site. Tied to that domain name are numbers or IP addresses that tell the internet the website's location. That is the task of a DNS server --to tie the name to the number.
When a website's name is entered, the browser asks the nearest DNS server for its IP address. The DNS server returns the IP address, and the browser connects to the webpage that then appears on your screen. End users are unaware of the background tasks required to make the system work.
If the DNS server is unavailable, the browser has no way of acquiring the website's IP address, so it returns an error. Now everyone knows the server is down because it only takes seconds for the news to spread.
DNS-related problems can be caused by any of the following:
If the issue is browser or router related, you may be able to correct the problem without outside assistance. If the problem resides with your ISP or DNS server, it's going to take a little more time to resolve.
Sometimes the problem isn't the DNS server; it's the browser. If it is, one of the following tips should fix the problem:
If the DNS is still unavailable after trying these tips, it's time to check routers and computer settings.
When a computer or router is first used, DNS settings are entered into the device to ensure they can connect to the appropriate DNS server. Sometimes those settings change, so it's an excellent idea to check the device settings when a DNS problem occurs.
If the DNS settings are correct on devices, but the DNS server is still unavailable, it's time to check the router.
Routers can cause problems connecting to DNS servers. The settings might be incorrect, or the router itself may need to be replaced. Here are tips for troubleshooting routers.
If routers are working, the problem probably resides with an ISP.
ISPs maintain DNS servers. On occasion, something changes at the service that requires a local change. If that happens, the internet connection may fail.
We can't eliminate all DNS issues, but we can reduce the possibilities of problems. At Electric, we work to proactively identify and troubleshoot potential concerns such as:
If a problem does occur, we have a three-step process that we follow once you have contacted us.
Step 1. Our IT experts will investigate the issue using mobile device management (MDM) software so they can see what you see.
Step 2. Our team systematically explores potential problem areas such as browser updates or router settings to minimize the time required to resolve the issue.
Step 3. We will work with the ISP, DNS service, or hardware manufacturers until the DNS server is working.
Your company doesn't have to sit by the phone or monitor activity as third-parties attempt to resolve the problem. You can get back to focusing on what you do best while we focus on what we do best.