You’ll sometimes come across sites that can’t load even though you have a stable connection and wrote the URL correctly. The web browser will usually display the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN message.
Not to worry, in this article, I’ll explain what it means and why it happens in the first place. I’ll also provide nine methods to solve the error.
Let’s get started.
What does DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN mean?
To understand what the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error means, we should first break down the error message. DNS stands for Domain Name System and is responsible for handling the process of turning your domain name into an IP address.
NXDOMAIN stands for Non-Existent Domain, virtually mentions that the domain’s IP address doesn’t exist.
When someone wants to access a website by typing in a domain name, the DNS will send a request to an online database and will look for the IP address that corresponds to the URL.
If the DNS can’t find any matching results, it will show the error message. Thankfully, this is a pretty common problem faced by users that has plenty of fixes available.
Now here are the ways to fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error.
1. Check the DNS zone of your domain
When you get the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error, the most common problem is the incorrectly cached DNS settings of the domain name on your computer. If you opened the webpage under a different provider, the cache could be poorly mapped to your computer.
Luckily, resolving this problem is pretty straightforward. Restarting your DNS client-server will usually solve the problem. Once restarted, the new cache files will replace the old cache files.
Though if the error message still shows, try the other methods below.
2. Flush the DNS zone
Your computer and browser often keep the IP address of sites you previously visited. Outdated IP addresses can cause the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error. So deleting them can help solve it.
There are three main ways to flush your DNS zone on your computer based on the operating system.
If your using Windows, follow these steps:
- Click on the Start menu button, then look for the Command Prompt. Once you found it, right-click and select the Run as administrator option.
- A new window will appear, then type in the following: ipconfig/flushdns
- Once typed, click Enter. You’ve successfully deleted your DNS zone.
If you’re using macOS, follow these instructions:
- Press the F4 key and go to the terminal in the Launchpad’s search bar.
- If you use Mac OS Sierra, X El Capitan, X Mavericks, X Mountain Lion, or X Lion, type in the following command to flush the DNS cache: sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
- If you’re using Mac OS X Yosemite, use the command: sudo discoveryutil udnsflushcaches
- If you’re using Mac OS X Snow Leopard, type in the statement: sudo dscacheutil -flushcache
- For Mac OS X Leopard and below, key in the command: sudo lookupd -flushcache
- That’s it. You’ve successfully deleted your DNS cache.
Ubuntu (Linux) doesn’t cache DNS files by default, but if you install a DNS service such as name service caching daemon (ncsd), follow these steps to flush your DNS cache:
- Hit the Ctrl+Alt+T buttons at the same time to open the terminal window.
- Enter the command below to flush the DNS cache files in the init.d subdirectory: sudo /etc/init.d/nscd restart
- You’ve successfully deleted your DNS cache.
3. Release and Renew Your IP Address
If deleting the DNS cache didn’t work and the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message still appears, try this method. It is a more in-depth way of deleting the DNS cache.
The main difference is that this takes it a step further by resetting and renewing your IP address. To do that, Windows and macOS have different methods, which are:
- Open the Command Prompt and enter the following commands.
- Enter the following command to release your current IP address: ipconfig/release
- Once it’s released, you’ll also need to remove the DNS cache, which can be issued by typing: ipconfig/flushdns
- Then, renew your IP address by keying in the following command: ipconfig/renew
- You’ll then need to reset your previous IP settings and reinstate the Winsock Catalog. To do that, enter the following commands: netsh int ip set dns and netsh winsock reset
- To complete the process, restart your computer.
- Head to System Preferences and click on the Network section.
- Select your internet connection and click Advanced.
- Go to the TCP/IP tab and tap Renew DHCP Lease.
- Hit OK and restart your computer. The process should be finished.
4. Change the DNS Servers
Another way to solve the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message is by changing your DNS servers. By default, your computer uses the DNS provided by your ISP. There are two most-used public domains, which are Google DNS and OpenDNS.
Again, Windows and macOS have different processes to change the DNS servers.
- Head to your Settings and go to the Network & Internet section.
- Go to the Change adapter options underneath the Change your network settings section.
- Then, right-click on the current connection you’re using and go to its Properties.
- Search for the Internet Protocol Version 4(TCP/IPv4) option and go to its Properties.
- Once there, under the General tab, go to the bottom of the window and select Use the following DNS server addresses.
- Type in the DNS server you want to use.
If it’s Google DNS, enter the following:
220.127.116.11 as your preferred DNS server.
18.104.22.168 as your alternate DNS server.
If it’s OpenDNS, key in:
7. Hit OK once you’re done to save your changes, and you’ve successfully changed your DNS servers.
- Click on the Apple icon on the top left corner and head to System Preferences.
- Go to Network and select the internet connection you’re currently using. Then press the Advanced button.
- Head to the DNS tab and press +, and type in the new DNS server.
If it’s Google DNS, then type in:
Preferred DNS server 22.214.171.124
Alternate DNS server 126.96.36.199
If it’s OpenDNS, enter the following:
4. Hit OK once you’re done to save your settings.
5. Google Chrome Troubleshooting
Sometimes your browsers – in this case, Google Chrome – can be the cause of the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error. There are a few ways to try troubleshooting it. Here I’ll explain two ways to troubleshoot the Google Chrome browser.
Reset Chrome Flags
Google Chrome settings and its experimental features can also cause the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message to appear. Luckily it’s a pretty simple fix.
All you need to do is type in chrome://flags in your address bar. You’ll then get access to all the experimental features Chrome has to offer. Click on the Reset all button located in the upper right corner. Close and reopen your browser for the process to take effect.
Clear Google Chrome Data
Another way to troubleshoot Google Chrome manually is by clearing data and cached files on the browser. To do this, you can:
- Go to Menu – the three dots on the top right corner – then head to Settings.
- Head to the Privacy and Security section and select Clear browsing data.
- Next to the Time range, select All time.
- Click on all the options below and click Clear data.
6. Temporarily disable your VPN and Antivirus
Though using VPN and antivirus software dramatically improves your security, unfortunately, they can also prevent users from accessing a few websites. Hence the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message.
You may want to turn off and temporarily disable them both.
For antivirus, you’ll only need to go to its control panel and find the option to turn it off temporarily.
For VPN, usually, you can just turn it off manually, and it won’t work until you turn it back on.
7. Check your local hosts file
Your computer will have a local hosts file. It’s essentially used to connect domain names to IP addresses. So you might want to check if the website you want to visit is recorded there. An incorrectly recorded file on the hosts file might cause the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message.
If you’re using Windows, here are the steps to check your hosts’ file:
- Go to the search bar and type in Notepad, then click Run as administrator.
- Head to File and click Open.
- Change the file filter from Text Documents (*.txt) to All Files.
- Type in the following on the Address Bar: %SystemRoot%:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc
- Double click on the hosts’ file.
- Check if the website’s domain name and IP address that’s displaying the error code are recorded. If it’s there, remove them from the hosts’ file and save your changes.
To check your hosts file using macOS, follow these steps:
- Go to the Launchpad and open Terminal.
- You’ll need to run Nano Editor. To do that, enter the following command: Sudo nano /private/etc/hosts
- Type in your password, and you’ll be taken to the hosts’ file.
- If you found the problematic site’s information there, remove them and save your changes by pressing Control + O.
8. Restart your computer
If none of the above tips worked, you could always try to restart your computer and router. Yes, you might have to suspend your work for a brief period, but restarting your computer deletes plenty of temporary caches and could solve the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message.
To correctly restart your computer and router, here are the steps you should take:
- Turn off your computer.
- Unplug your modem and router, wait for about 30 seconds.
- Plug them both back in and wait for about two minutes.
- Turn the computer back on and check if the error code is gone.
If it still shows the error code, you can try the last method below.
9. Call your local Internet Service Provider (ISP)
If all else fails and the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error still appears, contact your ISP. Ask whether there are issues on their end. If there isn’t any, ask if they can help you with the problem and develop a solution not mentioned above.
The DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error is a pretty common problem faced when wanting to access your target website. Luckily there are various ways to solve this problem which can be done by yourself in no time. Let’s recap on the methods:
- Check the DNS zone of your domain.
- Flush the DNS zone.
- Release and renew the IP address.
- Change the DNS Servers.
- Chrome Troubleshooting.
- Temporarily disable your VPN and Antivirus.
- Check your local hosts’ file.
- Restart your computer.
- Call your local Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Now you know how to fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error. If you have any further questions, you can ask away in the comments section below.