You may run into a wide variety of issues when browsing the internet or trying to access a website. One of the most common is the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error message.

While inconvenient, this Domain Name Server (DNS) problem isn’t anything to panic about. You can use a handful of relatively easy, quick, and straightforward solutions to resolve the issue and get back to a smooth browsing experience.

In this post, we’ll explain what the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error means and its common causes. Then we’ll walk you through six methods you can use to resolve it. Let’s dive in!

What the DNS_PROBE_STARTED Error Means

The DNS_PROBE_STARTED error message typically indicates an issue with your DNS or network. Most often, it means that your computer was unable to connect to a DNS server:

A screenshot of the The DNS_PROBE_STARTED Error Message
The DNS_PROBE_STARTED Error Message

DNS, sometimes referred to as the phonebook of the Internet, is the system that lets people connect to websites using easy-to-remember domain names instead of hard-to-remember IP addresses. For example, it will convert an IP address such as 104.18.42.131 into a site name such as www.kinsta.com.

While inconvenient, this DNS problem isn’t anything to panic about. 😅 And with help from this guide you'll be equipped to handle it 🛠 You can use a handful of relativelyClick to Tweet

A DNS probe is a network diagnostic tool used to test the reachability of a given hostname or IP address. A DNS probe can also test the performance of a DNS server by measuring the time it takes for the server to resolve a given hostname.

There are various types of DNS-related errors that can occur. Other examples include:

DNS_PROBE_STARTED is an error message that indicates that the DNS probe failed to start. This can happen due to several factors. While DNS_PROBE_STARTED in Chrome is the most common occurrence, it can also happen in other browsers, including Microsoft Edge and Android browsers.

Common Causes of the DNS_PROBE_STARTED Message

There are a few common causes of the DNS_PROBE_STARTED message. Firstly, your DNS server may be down. This issue commonly occurs because of a misconfiguration of your DNS or network settings.

It could also be attributed to a problem with your network adapter or router. If you have antivirus or firewall software installed, it may be blocking DNS requests, leading to this error message.

How To Fix the DNS_PROBE_STARTED Error (6 Methods)

Now that we understand more about this error, let’s get into how you can resolve it. Below are six methods to use to fix the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error.

Note that for the following tutorial, we’ll be using Windows/Chrome since this is where you will most likely encounter this error. However, if you’re using a Mac device or another browser, you can follow the same steps by substituting the commands with the OS/browser equivalents.

1. Change Your IPv4/IPv6 DNS Address

The first solution you can try is changing your IPv4/IPv6 DNS address. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, these internet protocols have slight technical differences. While IPv6 is the newest version, IPv4 is still the most popular.

To get started, navigate to your control panel and click on Network & Internet > Network and Sharing Center. From the menu on the left, select Change adapter settings:

Changing adapter settings in windows
The option to change adapter settings in Windows

This will open the Network Connections window. Right-click on your network and then select Properties:

The Properties of a network connection in Windows.
The Properties of a network connection in Windows

In the window that opens, click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) from the list, then select Properties again:

The Wi-Fi properties window
The Wi-Fi properties window

Click on Use the following DNS server addresses. You can enter “8.8.8.8” for the Preferred DNS server and “8.8.4.4” for the Alternate DNS server:

A screenshot showing the Internet Protocol Version 4 Properties
The Internet Protocol Version 4 Properties

When you’re done, click on the OK button to save your changes. Close all the windows, then try reaccessing the website to see if the error is still present. If the problem isn’t fixed, you can move on to the next potential solution.

2. Refresh Your DNS

DNS caching involves your OS/browser saving your recently visited IP addresses in a database. However, an outdated database can lead to network connectivity issues, such as the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error.

Therefore, the next method you should try to resolve this issue is to flush your DNS cache to refresh it. Open the Command Prompt. To do this, press the Windows key + R, type “cmd” into the Run box, and press Enter:

The Windows Run box
Type “cmd” into the Windows Run box

If you’re using macOS, you can navigate to Utilities > Terminal. In the command prompt window, type the following:

ipconfig /flushdns

Press your Enter key. This will clear any incorrect DNS entries from your computer’s cache. Next, enter the following command:

ipconfig /renew

This will renew your computer’s IP address. Finally, you can input:

ipconfig /registerdns

Press Enter to run the command. This will register your computer’s DNS settings with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). You can type in “exit,” and press Enter to close the command prompt.

3. Clear Your Browser Cache and Cookies

If you’re still seeing the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error message, clearing your cache and cookies is the next method you can try. The exact steps for this process will vary depending on your browser.

For example, in Google Chrome, you can select the three vertical dots in the upper right corner, then navigate to More tools > Clear browsing data:

Going through the process of clearing your browsing data in chrome
Clearing browser data in Chrome

In the window that opens, you can select all three options under Basic. Then click on Clear data:

Open the clear browsing data window in Chrome
Clear browsing data window

You can follow similar steps if you’re using a Mac device or another web browser. For detailed guidance, you can refer to our guide on How to Clear Cache for All Major Browsers.

4. Uninstall and Reinstall Your Network Driver(s)

Many issues can arise from outdated network drivers. One of them is the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error message.

Therefore, if you’re still seeing the error, you can try uninstalling and then reinstalling your network drivers through your Device Manager. In Windows, press the Windows key + R, then type “devmgmt.msc” into the Run box and hit Enter.

In the Device Manager window, click to expand Network adapters. Then right-click on your network adapter, and select Uninstall device:

Uninstalling a network adapter device in Windows
Uninstalling a network adapter device.

Close the Device Manager window and restart your computer. Once your computer has restarted, open the Device Manager again and select your network adapter. Click on Action > Scan for hardware changes from the menu bar:

A screenshot of the the Windows Device Manager
The Windows Device Manager.

This will reinstall your network driver(s). Now try loading the website again.

5. Disable Antivirus and Firewall Software

Antivirus and firewall tools are important because they can safeguard you against various issues, including multiple types of malware.

However, if you’re still having trouble with the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error, your antivirus software may be blocking DNS requests. Therefore, you can try disabling it temporarily to see if that fixes the problem.

You can also temporarily disable your firewall. Alternatively, you may want to try adjusting its settings.

To check your firewall settings, open your control panel and type “control” into the search field, followed by your Enter key. Select System and Security, then under Windows Defender Firewall, pick Allow an app or feature through Windows Firewall:

Windows System and Security settings
Windows System and Security settings

In the next window, click on Change settings:

Windows Defender Firewall settings
Firewall settings in Windows Defender

If your DNS client is not listed, you can add it by clicking on the plus (+) icon. When you’re done, select the OK button to save your changes.

6. Restart Your Router/Modem

Finally, the last method you can try is to restart your router or modem. This will reset the connection between your computer and DNS servers.

You can skip this step if you only see the DNS_PROBE_STARTED message in one browser, such as Chrome, but not in others, like Edge. In this scenario, the issue is likely with your browser settings rather than your network or internet connection.

After you power off your computer, router/modem, unplug them from the outlet(s) and wait a few minutes. Then turn on your router/modem and, after another minute or two, your computer.

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Summary

Dealing with DNS problems can be a real pain, especially if you don’t know what’s causing the issue. However, if you come across the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error, you can take a handful of troubleshooting steps to resolve it.

As we discussed in this post, there are six methods you can use to fix the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error. If one does not work, then try the next one. You should be able to successfully resolve the issue using one of the methods above.

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