For those of you working with WordPress on a regular basis, errors specific to the CMS such as the white screen of death or database connection errors are somewhat common occurrences. But another subset of errors you will probably stumble upon are those tied to your internet connection and DNS. A very common error that Google Chrome users get when trying to browse to a web page is DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN. This can be downright frustrating as suddenly you can’t browse to your website or perhaps even anywhere at all. 😫

If you’re seeing this error while trying to get to your WordPress site, don’t worry, this is fairly easy to fix. Check out the recommendations below on how to get connected again. This can also work for other browsers, such as Firefox, Edge, etc.

What is DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN?

The reason for DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN is typically due to a misconfiguration or problem with your DNS. DNS is short for Domain Name System, which helps direct traffic on the internet by connecting domain names with actual web servers. Essentially, it takes a human-friendly request – a domain name like kinsta.com – and translates it into a computer-friendly server IP address – like 216.3.128.12.

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When a user enters a URL in their web browser, DNS gets to work to connect that URL to the IP address of the actual server. This is called DNS name resolution and involves a DNS recursor querying various nameservers to figure out the actual IP address of a server. If DNS fails to resolve the domain name or address then you might receive the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error. The NXDOMAIN part stand stands for Non-Existent Domain. Read more about DNS and how it works.

There are a couple different variations of this error depending upon the browser you’re running.

Google Chrome

In Google Chrome this error will show as DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN (as seen below) and will say that the DNS address could not be found.

This site can’t be reached or This webpage is not available.

DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error in Chrome

DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error in Chrome

Mozilla Firefox

In Mozilla Firefox it will simply show as Hmm. We’re having trouble finding that site (as seen below).

We can’t connect to the server at domain.com.

DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error in Firefox

DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error in Firefox

Microsoft Edge

In Microsoft Edge, it will simply show as Hmmm… can’t reach this page (as seen below). Which isn’t very helpful.

Make sure you’ve got the right web address: domain.com.

DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error in Edge

DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error in Edge

How to Fix DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN

Here are some recommendations and things to check to fix the error (sorted in order by most common reasons we see):

  1. Release and Renew IP Address
  2. Restart DNS Client Service
  3. Change DNS Servers
  4. Reset Chrome Flags
  5. Disable VPN and Antivirus Temporarily
  6. Check Your Local Hosts File
  7. Check DNS of Your Domain
  8. Restart Your Computer

1. Release and Renew IP Address

Due to the fact that this is usually a client-side DNS issue, the very first thing you should do is try releasing and renewing the IP address on your computer. This also includes flushing your local DNS cache, which is similar to browser cache.

Windows

In Windows simply open up Command Prompt by pressing the Windows logo key and R. Then type “cmd” and hit Enter.

CMD

CMD

Type in ipconfig /release and hit Enter. This will release your current IP address.

ipconfig /release

ipconfig /release

Then type in ipconfig /flushdns and hit Enter. This will flush your local DNS cache. You should see a “Successfully flushed the DNS resolver Cache” if it worked.

ipconfig /flushdns

ipconfig /flushdns

Then type in ipconfig /renew and hit Enter. This will renew your IP address.

ipconfig /renew

ipconfig /renew

You might also try resetting your IP settings and Winsock catalog with the following commands: netsh int ip set dns and netsh winsock reset.

An alternative way to flush and renew your DNS is simply by disabling your network adapter and re-enabling it.

Mac

To release and renew your IP address on a Mac, go to System Preferences…

Mac system preferences

Mac system preferences

Click on the network icon and then click “Advanced.”

Mac network advanced

Mac network advanced

Click the TCP/IP tab heading if you aren’t already in there. Then click on the “Renew DHCP” lease button.

Just like we did above in Windows, Mac users can also clear their local DNS cache. Although this is done in a different place. Go to Utilities and then click on “Terminal.”

Mac terminal

Mac terminal

Enter in the following command:

dscacheutil -flushcache
Flush DNS cache on Mac

Flush DNS cache on Mac

Note: There is no success message on Macs.

2. Restart DNS Client Service

If you’re running Windows you can try restarting the DNS client services which resolves and caches DNS domain names.

Simply open up Command Prompt by pressing the Windows logo key and R. Then type “services.msc” and hit Enter.

services.msc

services.msc

Scroll down to “DNS Client,” right click on it, and select “Restart.”

Restart DNS client service in Windows

Restart DNS client service in Windows

If the restart option is greyed out for you (as it was for us), an alternative way to do it is via the command prompt.

Open up Command Prompt by pressing the Windows logo key and R. Then type “cmd” and hit Enter.

CMD

CMD

Then enter the following commands:

net stop dnscache
net start dnscache

Depending on the version of Windows you’re running you might get an error saying:

The requested pause, continue, or stop is not valid for this service.

This is most likely because you need to run CMD as a network service to issue the command. If you’re running into this error, we suggest trying the other alternatives below first.

3. Change DNS Servers

The next thing you can try is changing your DNS servers. By default, DNS servers are automatically assigned by your ISP. But you could try temporarily changing these to a public DNS server, such as Google or Cloudflare.

  • Some prefer to use Google’s public DNS (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) long-term due to them sometimes being more reliable.
  • Cloudflare also just launched their new secure and blazing fast free DNS (1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1) which we will be using in this example. If you want to use Google’s the steps are the same, you simply replace the DNS server addresses with Googles.

Tip: If you’re already using a free DNS server and having issues, removing it and defaulting back to your ISP’s DNS servers also sometimes fix things. Google and Cloudflare aren’t perfect 100% of the time and there have been a few instances where we’ve noticed switching back has resolved the issue.

Windows

In Windows simply open up Command Prompt by pressing the Windows logo key and R. Then type “control panel” and hit Enter.

Run Control Panel Windows

Run Control Panel Windows

Click on “Network and Internet” and then “Network and Sharing Center.” On the left-hand side, click on “Change Adapter Settings.”

Change adapter settings

Change adapter settings

Right click on your current connection, this will either be Local Area Connection or Wireless Network Connection based on how you’re connecting. Then click on “Properties.”

Wireless connection properties

Wireless connection properties

Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (or Version 6 if desired) and click on “Properties.”

IPV 4 properties

IPV 4 properties

Make a note of any existing settings in case you need to revert back. Click “Use the following DNS server addresses.” Enter the following, or replace the existing with these:

For IPv4: 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1
For IPv6: 2606:4700:4700::1111 and 2606:4700:4700::1001

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DNS server addresses

DNS server addresses

Click OK, then Close. Restart your browser.

Mac

To change DNS servers on a Mac, go to System Preferences…

Mac system preferences

Mac system preferences

Click on the network icon and then click “Advanced.”

Mac network advanced

Mac network advanced

Click on the “DNS” tab.

Mac DNS

Mac DNS

Then add Cloudflare’s DNS server addresses.

For IPv4: 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1
For IPv6: 2606:4700:4700::1111 and 2606:4700:4700::1001

4. Reset Chrome Flags

Sometimes Chrome settings or experimental features can get accidentally changed or messed up. You reset these back to default by entering chrome://flags into your browser and clicking on “Reset all to default.”

Reset Chrome flags

Reset Chrome flags

The restart your browser.

5. Disable VPN and Antivirus Temporarily

Sometimes VPNs and Antivirus software can conflict or override your network settings, including your DNS servers, etc. If you have any running, try temporarily disabling them (closing them) to see if it resolves the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error in Chrome.

6. Check Your Local Hosts File

Every computer has what they call a local hosts file. This is a file that contains manual DNS entries which are mapped to specific IP addresses. Typically this is only edited when you want to preview your DNS before switching over domains to a new host. However, there is a multitude of different ways this file could have been changed or edited. Therefore, if none of the above options worked for you, it’s worth double checking your local hosts file to ensure the website you’re trying to access isn’t in there.

Windows

The hosts file typically requires additional access. So the first step is to open up your text editor as an administrator. Simply click on your start menu, search for your text editor, right-click on it and select “Run as administrator.” This can be done in any text editor such as Notepad, Notepad++, Atom, etc. We are using Sublime in our example below.

Run text editor as administrator

Run text editor as administrator

Within your text editor click File → Open and browse to the following location:

C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\

Click on the hosts file and “Open.”

open hosts file

Open hosts file

Double check and make sure the website you’re trying to visit isn’t listed in there. If it is, remove it.

Mac

To check your hosts file on a Mac, we recommend getting Gas Mask. It’s a free application which can be used as hosts file manager, hosts files editor, and switch between them. It makes everything quick and easy! Otherwise, you can follow the steps below to edit your hosts file on Mac manually.

Go to Utilities and then click on “Terminal.”

Mac terminal

Mac terminal

Enter in the following command and press Enter (you will most likely be prompted for your administrator password as well).

sudo nano /private/etc/hosts
Hosts file Mac

Hosts file Mac

Double check and make sure the website you’re trying to visit isn’t listed in your hosts file. If it is, remove it.

7. Check DNS of Your Domain

If you’re only getting the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error on a single domain, even after checking your hosts file, you might need to check the DNS settings on the domain name itself. If you’re a Kinsta client we have an in-depth post on how to point your domain and or DNS to Kinsta. If you recently migrated your website to a new hosting provider, it could be the DNS was cached incorrectly on your computer. In which case, Step 2 above should have resolved that.

8. Restart Your Computer

We know it’s annoying, but it has to be mentioned. 😬 If none of the above options work, trying restarting your computer and even your router. We realize many of you probably have hundreds of tabs or applications open and that’s why we made this the last option. But rebooting devices actually clears out a lot of temporary cache.

Summary

Even though it’s frustrating, the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error is usually pretty easy to get resolved. Between flushing your DNS cache, renewing your IP, and trying different DNS servers, you should hopefully be back up and surfing the web in no time.  If we missed anything, feel free to let us know below in the feedback section.

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