DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN: What It Is and 9 Ways to Fix the Problem

DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN: What It Is and 9 Ways to Fix the Problem

When you encounter the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error, you will see a message which states that the web browser cannot find the server IP address. This issue can be frustrating as it prevents you from accessing the website.

Fortunately, there are many easy solutions to this problem. This article will show the reasons behind the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error and how to check for them. In addition, we will share nine methods to fix this error.

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DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error appears when the domain name system cannot resolve a website’s URL into an IP address, making the web browser unable to reach it. The NXDOMAIN in the error code implies that the domain is non-existent.

Error codeDNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN
Error typeDNS error
Error variationsThis site can’t be reached (Google Chrome)
Hmm. We’re having trouble finding that site. (Mozilla Firefox)
Hmm… can’t reach this page (Microsoft Edge)
Safari Can’t Find the Server (Safari)
Error causesDNS misconfiguration
DNS not yet propagated
Internet connection error
Firewall blocks
Unresponsive server

Video Tutorial

Check out our video tutorial, we will go over solving the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error:

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Why Does the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN Error Occur?

DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN can happen for several reasons:

  • A web browser cannot locate the target website because the domain is not registered or has expired.
  • The domain is not pointing to any IP address.
  • There is a misconfiguration in the DNS settings of the user’s computer, so it cannot resolve the domain.
  • A VPN or antivirus software interferes with the network settings.
  • The issue comes from the internet provider.

On Google Chrome, you will see a message that says This site can’t be reached if you are experiencing the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error. Other browsers will have their own messages, which we will show at the end of this tutorial.

This site can't be reached, example.com

Here are two methods to check the reason behind DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN:

1. Check if Domain Is Active

One of the reasons behind the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error is a problem with the website’s domain name. For instance, if you mistype the URL, the browser cannot locate the correct IP address in the domain name system (DNS).

If the URL spelling is correct and the error is still there, the domain will likely be expired or unregistered. One way to check whether a domain is active is to go to the ICANN lookup tool. Enter the site’s URL and see if it is active in the ICANN data.

Icann Lookup Registration data lookup tool

Some ways to prevent the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error from happening as a website owner include:

  • Verify your domain ownership information within 15 days of registering the domain. Otherwise, ICANN may suspend it. To unsuspend a domain, look for the verification email in your inbox and follow the instructions.
  • Use the nameservers provided by the website’s hosting provider so that the domain points to the right site.
  • Check the domain’s DNS records. The A record, in particular, is responsible for pointing the domain name to the IP address. Hostinger clients can do this via the DNS Zone Editor.
  • Renew the domain’s registration before its expiration date. The life cycle of a domain shows that:
    • Your domain enters a grace period from 0 to 45 days after expiring. You will not have to pay additional fees if you renew the domain during this period. 
    • Once you enter the redemption period, which lasts up to 30 days, there is an additional cost to activate the domain again.

If your domain is in the pending deletion stage, you will need to wait until the domain name is available for re-purchase.

The life cycle of a domain.

2. Test the Website via a Proxy Server

This method helps check whether the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error occurs to all users or only your browser.

To test the website, open a proxy server site like hide.me or HMA. Then, insert the website’s URL and choose the server location.

The hide.me proxy service.

If the website is accessible from other places, this error is more likely due to issues within your device or browser than the site itself. The following sections will explore different solutions to fix this problem.

9 Ways to Fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN Error

As the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error may show up due to issues with the website, the client’s computer, or the internet connection, the solution will naturally depend on this root cause.

Let’s look at the 9 ways to fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message.

1. Flush the DNS Cache

Flushing the DNS cache is one of the most recommended solutions to fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error.

The DNS cache keeps all the IP addresses of the websites a client previously visited using the same computer. However, some IP addresses in the DNS cache may be outdated, leaving the computer unable to find the right website.

Here is a simple way to fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error by flushing the DNS cache for Windows, macOS, and Google Chrome users.

Pro Tip

See our guide on how to flush DNS for detailed instructions, including information for Linux users.

Windows

To flush the DNS cache on Windows, follow this step-by-step tutorial:

  1. On the Start menu, search for the Command Prompt. Then, right-click to select the Run as administrator option.
Command Prompt application
  1. Once a new window appears, type in the commands below. Then, hit Enter.
ipconfig /flushdns
Flushing DNS on the Command Prompt.
  1. Open the browser to see whether the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN message still occurs.

macOS

  1. Open the Terminal application.
  2. Enter the following commands and press the Return key.
sudo dscacheutil -flushcache; sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
  1. Insert your password and press Return again.
Flushing the DNS records on macOS.
  1. Open the browser and check if the error is still there.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome has a separate DNS cache from the operating system, so flushing it may fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN Chrome error.

To do so, enter chrome://net-internals/#dns into the Chrome address bar. Then click Clear host cache.

Google Chrome host revolver cache, clear cache host

Then, check if the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error is resolved.

Pro Tip

If you use Linux or older versions of macOS, see our guide on how to flush DNS for more information.

2. Release and Renew the IP Address

If the previous method doesn’t work, try this more in-depth way of clearing the DNS cache. It can troubleshoot network connection issues by giving up the lease to your computer’s old IP address and requesting a new one.

Here’s how to release and renew an IP address on Windows and Mac:

Windows

  1. Just like with the previous method, right-click on the Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  2. Insert the commands below and press Enter between each one:
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew
  1. Enter the following commands to reset your previous IP settings and reinstate the Winsock Catalog. Doing this can also prevent potential errors due to malicious scripts from downloaded files.
netsh int ip set dns
netsh winsock reset
  1. Once done, close the command prompt and restart the computer. Then open the browser to see whether the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN message persists.
Administration Command prompt

Restart the computer and open your web browser to see whether the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN message persists.

macOS

Unlike with Windows, macOS users don’t need to open a command-line interface to release and renew the IP address. Follow these steps:

  1. Go to System Preferences -> Network.
Accessing network preferences on macOS.
  1. Select your current internet connection and click on the Advanced… button.
Accessing advanced network preferences on macOS.
  1. Navigate to the TCP/IP tab and click Renew DHCP Lease. Press OK.
Renewing the DHCP lease on macOS.
  1. Restart the computer and check if the error message still persists.

3. Change the DNS Servers

If clearing the cache doesn’t work, consider changing the DNS servers. In DNS lookup, these servers are responsible for converting the domain name into its internet address.

By default, your computer will use the DNS server addresses provided by your internet service provider. However, they may not be the fastest or most secure.

That’s why many people opt for public DNS servers from Google, OpenDNS, and Cloudflare, which usually come with fewer technical issues.

Sometimes, switching back and forth between DNS servers can also resolve internet connection problems.

To illustrate this method, we will use Google’s DNS server addresses:

Windows

Here’s a step-by-step guide to changing DNS server addresses on Windows:

  1. Open the Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center.
  2. On the left side of the window, click Change adapter settings.
Changing adapter settings on Windows.
  1. Right-click on the current connection and choose Properties.
Accessing current connection properties on Windows.
  1. Choose Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) or Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and press the Properties button.
Accessing IPv4/IPv6 properties.
  1. At the bottom of the window, select Use the following DNS server addresses and insert the numbers below:
    • Preferred DNS Server.
      8.8.8.8 (IPv4)
      2001:4860:4860::8888 (IPv6)
    • Alternate DNS Server.
      8.8.4.4 (IPv4)
      2001:4860:4860::8844 (IPv6)
Use the following DNS server addresses message
  1. Once done, click OK to save the changes. Restart the browser and see if the method resolves the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error.

macOS

For macOS users, here’s how to change DNS server addresses:

  1. Open System Preferences -> Network.
  2. Pick your current local area connection. Hit the Advanced button.
  3. Navigate to the DNS tab. Press the + button and type in the new IPv4 or IPv6 DNS servers. Type in each address one by one, then press OK.
 Modifying DNS settings on macOS.
  1. Open the browser to see if the error code has disappeared.

Google Chrome

Enter chrome://settings/security on the address bar to access the Chrome DNS settings.

Scroll down to the Advanced section and select With Custom. Users can change it to one of the built-in DNS server addresses from Cloudflare, OpenDNS, CleanBrowsing, or Google.

Modifying DNS settings on Google Chrome.

4. Restart the DNS Client Service

Another way Windows users can reconfigure the DNS settings is by restarting the DNS client service. This program functions to resolve and save IP addresses in the DNS cache.

The DNS client service is supposed to run automatically when you start the computer. In case it doesn’t, it will make the browser unable to access any website.

There are three methods for restarting the DNS client service on Windows 10 – Windows System Configuration, Windows Services Manager, and the Command Prompt.

Windows System Configuration

Follow these instructions to restart the DNS client service:

  1. Press the Windows + R keys on the keyboard and enter msconfig in the search bar.
Running msconfig.
  1. Select the Services tab, scroll down, and find the DNS Client option.
  2. Uncheck the box to disable it and click OK.
Disabling DNS Client on MSConfig.
  1. Restart the computer.
  2. Repeat steps one and two. This time, however, recheck the box to enable DNS Client.
  3. Restart the computer again. Check if the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error has disappeared.

Windows Services Manager

  1. Open the Services application.
  2. Scroll down and find DNS Client.
  3. Click the Restart Service button below the menu bar. Then relaunch the computer.
Restarting DNS Client on Windows Services Manager.

Windows Command Prompt

  1. Open the Command Prompt.
  2. To stop the DNS service, input the following command:
net stop dnscache
  1. Once done, wait for the following output to appear:
The DNS Client service is stopping.
The DNS Client service was stopped successfully.
  1. Start the DNS service again by typing:
net start dnscache
  1. Wait for the output below:
The DNS Client service is starting.
The DNS Client service was started successfully.
  1. Restart the computer.

For certain Windows versions, this method may not work and result in the following message:

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

If this happens to you, consider trying the previous solutions for restarting the DNS client or the other methods in this guide.

5. Check the Local Hosts File

The local hosts file matches a domain name to its IP address. Computers refer to it every time you open a website so that they can fetch the correct page to display on the browser.

Sometimes, the hosts file can unknowingly mark a specific domain name or IP address as inaccessible. Checking and editing the file can potentially fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error.

Windows

Here’s how to check the hosts file on Windows:

  1. In the search box, type Notepad and select Run as administrator.
Running Notepad as the administrator.
  1. Navigate to File -> Open. Change the file filter from Text Documents (*.txt) to All Files.
  2. Enter the path below in the File name bar:
C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\
This PC File name Windows System 32 drivers etc
  1. Select the hosts file and open it
system32 hosts drivers etc
  1. The file will show a list of blacklisted websites below the last line using the # symbol. If you see the target website’s domain name and IP address under ::1 localhost line, remove them and save changes. 
Sample HOSTS used by Microsoft TCP/IP for Windows
  1. Visit the previously-blocked websites to check if the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN notification is still there.

macOS

macOS users can follow this step-by-step guide to modifying the hosts file:

  1. Open the Terminal application.
  2. Enter the command below. Then, insert your password.
sudo nano /private/etc/hosts
  1. You’ll be redirected to the hosts file. Delete the websites listed below the last ::1 line.
File private etc hosts Host Database
  1. Remove the inaccessible site’s information, and then press Command + O to overwrite the hosts file. Hit Return to confirm the changes.
  2. Press Command + X to close the hosts file.
  3. Open the formerly-blacklisted sites and see if the error has been resolved.

6. Reset Chrome Flags

Google Chrome Flags are experimental features that are not a part of the default browsing experience but have been made available for trial. Some may come with misconfigurations that cause the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN Chrome error.

To disable Chrome Flags, enter chrome://flags in the address bar. You can view which new features are active on the application. Change the Enabled Chrome Flags to Disabled or click Reset all at the top to restore the default settings.

Modifying the Chrome Flags.

Once done, close and reopen the browser.

7. Disable Antivirus or VPN

An antivirus program or virtual private network (VPN) software can make web browsing a much more secure experience. However, these tools can unintentionally block some websites, even if they are completely secure.

Consider checking whether either program is causing the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message.

Important! The steps to disable your antivirus program depend on the program itself. If you’re unsure how to do it, read the software’s knowledge base or contact the support team.

For deactivating a VPN connection, follow the instructions below:

Windows

Windows

  1. Open Settings -> Network & Internet -> VPN.
  2. Select the VPN service you’re using and click Disconnect.
  1. Restart the computer to complete the process. Open the website to see if the problem has disappeared.

macOS

  1. Open System Preferences -> Network.
  2. On the left side of the window, select the VPN connection you want to turn off.
  3. Click Disconnect and Apply to save changes.
Disconnecting from a VPN on macOS.

8. Temporarily Turn Off Your CDN

For website owners, another way to confirm whether the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN originates on the site-side is by disabling the content delivery network (CDN).

This feature helps distribute web content faster to visitors by caching versions of the website in multiple, global servers. When users open the site, the CDN will deliver the cached content from the server closest to them.

Temporarily turning off your CDN will disable the cached versions of the website. All browsers will have to fetch the site from its origin server.

If the website is inaccessible without CDN, the cached content may be outdated, and there may be problems with the DNS settings.

If your site points to Cloudflare’s nameservers, go to the Cloudflare dashboard and scroll down to click the Pause Cloudflare on Site button.

Pausing Cloudflare from the Cloudflare dashboard.

9. Reboot Internet Connection

If the methods above still don’t fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error, try restarting the internet router and modem. Here’s how to do it properly:

  1. Unplug both the modem and router. Leave them like this for around 30 seconds.
  2. Plug the modem back in and wait for at least one minute.
  3. Do the same with the router, but wait for two minutes before turning it back on.
  4. Open the browser to check whether the error code persists.

In addition, be sure to check the Windows or macOS step-by-step guide on troubleshooting network connections.

If everything else fails, contact your internet service provider. Ask if there are any issues on their side or if they can work out a solution for you.

What Does the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN Error Look Like on Other Browsers?

While we touched upon how the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error appears in Google Chrome, the same issue can occur in other browsers. Depending on the application, however, the message may look different.

Microsoft Edge

Like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge uses the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error code.

The DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error on Microsoft Edge.

Safari

Unlike Google Chrome, Safari doesn’t use a unique error code and only tells users it can’t find the server for the website.

The DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error on Safari.

Mozilla

Much like Safari, Mozilla’s error message simply says it cannot connect to the website’s server. It also suggests visiting the site another time, checking your network connection, or examining your firewall.

The DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error on Mozilla Firefox.

Conclusion

In summary, the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error occurs when the browser cannot find the domain name’s corresponding IP address. The problem may originate from the server, the client’s browser, or the network connection.

While this error code can be frustrating, it’s not difficult to resolve. This guide has provided 9 ways to fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error for different scenarios.

If nothing has worked, make sure to contact your internet provider to find a solution. For website owners, check with your hosting provider or domain registrar to see whether they can look into the problem.

Do you know other methods to fix DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN? Leave a comment down below.

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Maisha Rachmat

Maisha is a Content Writer and Squad Leader at Hostinger. With her WordPress and digital marketing knowledge, she aims to help web developers and small businesses build success online. She spends her free time writing poems and baking bread.