How to Fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN Error

When you’re trying to access a website, the last thing you want is to experience technical difficulties. Unfortunately though, you’re likely to encounter a few, like the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error, at some point while managing a site.

The good news is that there are plenty of steps you can take to resolve the issue relatively quickly. The key is understanding what the error message means and following some simple troubleshooting steps to fix it. Regardless of which device or operating system (OS) you’re using, you should be able to get your browsing experience back on track with minimal effort.

In this post, we’ll explain what the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error means and some common things that cause it. Then, we’ll walk you through the steps you can take to fix it on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

What the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error means

There are a wide variety of WordPress error messages you might encounter when trying to access your website. Some have to do with WordPress directly while others, like the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error, arise from other sources.

DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error in WordPress

The above error message is what you’ll see using Google Chrome. But, you may also encounter it on other devices, browsers, and operating systems. If you’re not using Chrome, the exact wording of the error message may vary.

For instance, in Mozilla Firefox, it might look something like this instead:

Address not found message in Firefox

In Microsoft Edge, it usually appears similar to the following:

error shown in Microsoft Edge

Meanwhile, Safari displays a message like this:

error message "Safari can't find the server"

The DNS_PROBE FINISHED NXDOMAIN error is returned if the nameserver cannot find the requested domain. This may happen due to a number of reasons. It’s often seen when trying to connect to a website using a web browser. Typically, it indicates an issue with your network or “DNS.”

Before we get into what might be causing this error message, it’s helpful to understand what each element of the response code means. DNS stands for domain name system. A DNS server is responsible for translating human-friendly domain names (like http://www.Jetpack.com) into internet protocol (IP) addresses (like 192.168.0.1).

Your web browser does this automatically when you type in a URL (Uniform Resource Locator) into the address bar. To put it simply, when you type a URL in your browser, you’re asking the DNS server to translate the name into an IP address.

This process of requesting your computer to find the IP address of a website is referred to as a DNS probe. If the DNS server does not have a record for the requested name, then it returns an NXDOMAIN (Non-Existent Domain) error.

Common causes of the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error

There are many reasons why you may be seeing the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message. Some of the most common causes include:

  • A typo in the URL or an incorrect IP address: Sometimes it can be as simple as mistyping the URL of the website you’re trying to visit. 
  • Antivirus or firewalls blocking access to the name server: It’s not uncommon for antivirus or firewall software to block access to certain websites, resulting in the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error.
  • Misconfigured server settings or DNS configuration: Your computer may be configured to use the wrong DNS server or your internet service provider’s (ISP) DNS server may be unavailable.
  • Mismatched hostname: The hosts file on your computer may be blocking access to the website you’re trying to visit. You can check and edit your hosts file to see if that’s the case.
  • A DNS lookup timeout: The DNS lookup process can time out if it’s taking longer than expected. 
  • Browser cache and cookies: Another common cause of this error is an outdated or corrupt cache and cookies in your browser.

It’s also possible that you’re seeing this error message simply because the server is down. If that’s the case, you’ll want to check back again in a few minutes.

Keep in mind that you might not be able to identify the source of this error message until you begin troubleshooting. You may have to attempt a handful of potential solutions before you uncover the problem and, in turn, take the necessary steps to remedy it.  

How to fix DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN on desktop (Windows & Mac)

Now that we understand a bit more about what the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error is and what might be causing the problem, it’s time to get into how you can go about resolving it. The exact steps you should take will depend on the device that you’re using. To start, we’ll show you how to fix it on desktops, including both Windows and Mac. 

1. Restart your device and router/modem

It’s possible that you’re seeing this error message because of your internet connection. So, after you’ve confirmed that you’ve entered the correct URL, it’s a good idea to check your internet connection, to make sure it’s working properly.

If everything seems to be operating as it should, the next step is to restart your device, as well as your router (or modem). You’ll need to power down your computer, then unplug your router or modem and wait a minute or so.

After that, you can plug it back in. Once you’re connected to the internet again, turn your computer back on and try revisiting the website. This may seem obvious, but it’s a tactic you won’t want to skip. 

2. Clear your browser cache and cookies

If you’re experiencing issues with a particular website, one thing you can try is clearing your browser cookies and cache. Browser cookies and cache are two web technologies that are used to store data in order to improve the web browsing experience.

In a nutshell, browser cookies are small files that are stored on a user’s computer by the websites they visit. They’re used to store data such as login information, preferences, and other details that can help improve the user experience (UX) on a site.

Cache is a type of storage that is used by web browsers and servers in order to save frequently accessed data so that it can be quickly retrieved when needed. Both browser cookies and caching can help improve the speed and performance of web browsing. However, if not managed properly, they can also lead to privacy and security issues.

Clearing your browser cookies and cache will remove any temporary data that could be causing the problem.

2.1 Windows

To do this in Windows, go to the Start menu and type “Internet Options” into the search bar. Then, click on the Internet Options icon when it appears in the results.

internet options in Windows

In the Internet Options (or Internet Properties) window, go to the General tab and click on Delete in the Browsing history section. Make sure to check both the cookies and website data and the Temporary Internet files and website files options. Then, click on Delete.

clearing browser history in Windows

Alternatively, you can clear your browser cookies and cache within the browser you’re using. 

For instance, if you’re navigating with Google Chrome, you can click on the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner followed by More toolsClear browsing data. In the window that appears, make sure the three items are selected, then click on the Clear Data button.

2.2 Mac

On a Mac, you’ll have to clear your cache in Safari. To do this, open Safari and click on Safari Preferences in the top menu bar.

opening Preferences in Safari

In the Preferences window, go to the Privacy tab and click on Remove All Website Data.

removing website data from Safari

This will remove all cookies and cached data for all websites. Select Remove Now to confirm. Then, restart your browser and try loading the website again.

3. Refresh your DNS cache

Similar to a browser cache, a DNS cache is a type of storage that is used by DNS servers in order to save frequently accessed data. DNS servers use this in order to save time when resolving IP addresses.

If the DNS server has recently resolved an IP address for a certain website, it will be able to quickly retrieve the IP address from its DNS cache rather than having to look up the address again. This can help improve the speed of web browsing. But if it becomes outdated or corrupt, it can also lead to a wide range of issues, including the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error.

3.1 Windows

To flush your DNS cache in Windows, go to the Start menu and type “cmd” into the search bar. Click on the Command Prompt icon.

command prompt option in Windows

In the Command Prompt window, type “ipconfig /flushdns” and press Enter.

3.2 Mac

To flush your DNS cache on Mac, open the Terminal application. You can do this by going to the ApplicationsUtilities folder or by searching for it in Spotlight.

Utilities folder on a Mac

In the Terminal window, type “dscacheutil -flushcache” and press Return. This will clear your DNS cache.

4. Release and renew your IP address

If you’re still seeing the error message, the next step is to release and renew your IP address. This allows your computer to communicate with the network more effectively, which can improve your internet speeds and reduce any connectivity issues you may be experiencing. 

4.1 Windows

To do this in Windows, you’ll want to return to the Command Prompt window. This time, type the following commands, pressing your Enter key after each:

ipconfig /release

ipconfig /renew

4.2 Mac

If you’re using macOS, you can navigate to your Terminal application. Then enter the following:

sudo killall –HUP mDNSResponder

After that, hit your Return key. Note that it may ask you to enter your device admin password to proceed. 

5. Change your DNS servers

If you’re still having trouble accessing a website, you can try selecting a different DNS server. While there are a handful of alternatives you can use, a popular choice is the standard Google Public DNS. Google Public DNS is a free, global DNS resolution service.

It can make your internet browsing both faster and more secure. The service uses modern Anycast technology to spread traffic across multiple servers around the world. It also leverages DNSSEC to validate responses.

5.1 Windows

To change your DNS servers in Windows, go to Control Panel → Network and Internet. Then, select the Network and Sharing Center option.

network and sharing center option

Once there, click on the Change adapter settings in the left sidebar.

change adapter settings option

This will open the Network Connections window. Right-click on your active network connection and select Properties from the drop-down menu.

In the Properties window, go to the Networking tab and select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) from the list of options, followed by the Properties button. 

internet protocol version options

In the IPv4 Properties window, select the Use the following DNS server addresses radio button.

options for using DNS server

Next, you can enter “8.8.8.8” for the Preferred DNS server and “8.8.4.4” for the Alternate DNS server. Click on OK to save your changes and close the window.

5.2 Mac

You can use these same addresses for Mac. But, to get there, you’ll need to open the System Preferences application by clicking on the Apple icon in the top menu bar. Then select System Preferences from the drop-down menu.

In the System Preferences window, go to Network and choose the network interface you want to configure in the left sidebar. Next, click on the Advanced button.

wifi settings on a Mac

In the window that opens, go to the DNS tab and select the + icon.

DNS Servers on a Mac

This will allow you to enter a custom DNS server. When you’re done, you can click on the OK button.

6. Temporarily disable your antivirus or firewall

6.1 Windows

To disable your antivirus and firewall in Windows, navigate to your Control Panel then go to the System and Security section and click on the Windows Firewall option.

security settings in Windows

In the Windows Firewall screen, click on the Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off option in the left sidebar.

option to turn Windows firewall off

After that, click on the Off (not recommended) radio button for both the Private network settings and Public network settings options. Select OK to save your changes and close the screen. 

6.2 Mac

To disable your antivirus and firewall on Mac, open the System Preferences application, then go to the Security & Privacy application.

security settings on a Mac

Select the Firewall tab. Next, click on the Turn Off Firewall button.

option to turn off Mac firewall

You will be prompted to confirm your decision. Simply click on the Turn Off Firewall button again to confirm.

7. Check your hosts file

A hosts file is a text file that maps hostnames to IP addresses without using a DNS server.

When a computer visits a website, it first checks the hosts file to see if it can resolve the hostname to an IP address. If it can, then it will connect to the website using the IP address. Otherwise, it will use DNS to resolve the hostname.

7.1 Windows

To check your hosts file in Windows, go to the Start menu and type “Notepad” into the search bar and select the Notepad application.

finding Notepad in Windows

Click on the File menu and select Open from the drop-down menu. In the Open window, navigate to C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc and select the hosts file.

finding the hosts file

Make sure that All Files is selected in the drop-down menu next to the File name field. Click on the Open button to open the hosts file in Notepad.

Within this file, check whether the website that you’re trying to access that’s throwing the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error is listed. If it is, delete it, save the file, then try refreshing your browser.

Also, you don’t necessarily need to use the Notepad application to do this. You can use any text editor in Windows that lets you access and modify your files. 

7.2 Mac

To check the hosts file in Mac, open the Terminal application. In the command prompt, type “sudo nano /etc/hosts” and press Enter. This will open the hosts file in a text editor. 

Again, look for the site that you’re trying to access and delete it if you find it listed. When you’re done, press on your Ctrl+X keys to exit the Nano text editor and save your changes.

That’s it! After completing the above steps, you should no longer see the NDS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message on the WordPress website you’re trying to access from your computer. 

How to fix DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN on Mobile (iOS & Android)

As we mentioned, you can also come across this error message when you’re browsing on your mobile device, not just a desktop computer. The process for resolving this issue is slightly different than if you were using a PC. Below is how you can fix the DNS_PROBE_FINSIHED_NXDOMAIN error on mobile for both Android and iOS.

1. Check for any app or system updates

To get started, first try restarting your mobile device. This may help resolve any minor connection issues you’re experiencing that may be leading to the error.

If this doesn’t work, the next step is to check to see whether your system or browser app requires any updates.

1.1 Android

On Android devices, you can do this by browsing to SettingsSystem.

settings on an Android phone

Navigate to System update. If there is a new version available, it will tell you. In that case, simply update it, then try visiting the site once more. 

To check for any updates on your Chrome app, you can open the Play Store, then search for “Chrome.” If one is available, you can click on the Update button next to it.

1.2 Apple iOS

If you’re using Apple iOS, you can check for system updates by selecting the Settings application (the gear icon), followed by General.

settings on an iPhone

Next, click on Software Update.

updating software on iPhone

If one is available, it will inform you on the screen. You can select Update Now to proceed. 

To update any browser apps you use, you can navigate to the Apps Store from your home screen. Select the icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Here, you can find all the applications on your device that currently have an updated version available.

Scroll through the list and update any browser apps that you use. When you’re done, restart your device and try accessing the website again. 

2. Clear your browser cookies and cache 

As with desktop devices, you might be able to resolve this error message by clearing your browser cookies and cache.

2.1 Android

If you’re using Android, you can open your Chrome app and then select the three vertical dots.

Next, navigate to Settings → Storage → Apps → Chrome.

apps storage settings on Android

After you select Free up storage space, you’ll be prompted to do so. This will clear any unnecessary files or data. 

2.2 Apple iOS

In Apple iOS, you can open your Settings application then scroll down to Safari.

Safari settings on an iPhone

On the next screen, scroll to the bottom to locate the Privacy & Security section.

Next, select Clear History and Website Data.

clear history and website data option

In the popup that appears, click on Clear History and Data. This will remove your history, cookies, and other browsing data. 

3. Change your DNS settings

As with a desktop, the DNS settings of your mobile device may be to blame when you’re seeing this pesky error message. So, the next step is to try changing your network settings.

3.1 Android

If you’re an Android user, you can do this by opening your Settings app, then navigating to Network & Internet.

network and internet settings option

Next, tap and hold the Wi-Fi network connection, then click on Modify network.

modify network option

In the Advanced options section, select Static then scroll to the bottom to locate the DNS server addresses fields.

DNS settings on Android

For the preferred DNS value, you can enter “8.8.8.8” for DNS 1 and “8.8.4.4” for DNS 2. Save your changes then refresh your browser.

3.2 Apple iOS

For iOS, open your Settings application then select your Wi-Fi connection and select it again on the next screen. Scroll down to the DNS section and click on Configure DNS.

configure DNS option

On the next screen, select Manual followed by Add Server.

adding a server in DNS settings

You can then enter the same values as above into the fields. When you’re done, click on the Save button in the top right-hand corner of the screen. 

Why backups are a WordPress site’s best friend 

At this point, hopefully, you’ve learned how you can resolve the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error in WordPress.

To help minimize the potential damage that may occur as a result of website or browser errors, it’s essential to consistently create backups of your website. When it comes to WordPress site maintenance and management, the importance of backups can’t be stressed enough.

One of the reasons they should be a priority is that they help ensure your website’s content will always be available, even if something happens to your original files. Backups also make it easy to restore your website if it is ever hacked or damaged.

Plus, having a backup can save you a lot of time and money if you ever need to rebuild your site from scratch. The more frequently you back up your website, the more likely you are to have an updated version of it to restore in an emergency.

How often should you back up your WordPress website? It depends on how often you make changes to it. If you only update your site occasionally, then backing it up once a month or so should be sufficient. However, if you are constantly tweaking your site, then you may want to consider a solution that saves every change.

Real-time backups mean that your website’s content is constantly being saved as you make modifications. They also make it easy to restore your website to a previous state in a matter of minutes.

For WordPress users, Jetpack Backup is a trusted option for those looking to protect their work.

It offers a complete solution for handling website backups. It’s intuitive, easy to use, and lets you restore your site from anywhere, even if it’s offline.

Take control of your WordPress maintenance

If you see the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error when you’re trying to connect to a website, it likely means that the DNS can’t find the address of the page you’re trying to reach. This can happen for a number of reasons. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to resolve it.

As we discussed in this post, you can often fix this error by simply checking and refreshing your DNS and network settings. In addition to configuring proper DNS and browser settings, it’s also important to make sure you’re creating regular backups of your website so you can quickly resolve other site or browser-related errors in the future.

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Rob Pugh profile
Rob Pugh

Rob is the Marketing Lead for Jetpack. He has worked in marketing and product development for more than 15 years, primarily at Jetpack, Mailchimp, and UPS. Since receiving a Master of Science in Marketing Degree from Johns Hopkins University, he’s focused on delivering products that delight people and solve real problems.

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