DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN: Fix it on Chrome, Windows, Mac, and Android

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Not being able to access a WordPress site – whether it’s yours, a clients’, or someone else’s – is incredibly frustrating. However, it’s even more so when you’re faced with a confusing error message such as DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN.

Fortunately, there’s no need to panic. This is a relatively common Google Chrome error that can occur in Windows, Mac, and Android devices. There are a handful of simple steps you can take to troubleshoot and resolve the issue.

In this post, we’ll explain what the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message is and some common causes of it. Then we’ll discuss ten ways you can fix it in Chrome, including step-by-step instructions for Windows 10, Mac, and Android devices. Let’s get started!

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What Is DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN? 🤔

In order to understand what ‘DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN’ means, it may help to first break down the error message. The DNS, which is short for Domain Name System, is responsible for handling the process of translating a domain name into an IP address.

Every website has an IP address that looks something like ‘123.123.12.1′. Rather than remembering and typing in a string of numbers each time you want to visit a site, you can enter the user-friendly domain name or URL, such as ‘yourdomain.com‘. 

The DNS essentially acts as the internet’s phone book. When you enter a domain name into the browser, it sends a request to the web server to look up the IP address, then returns the website in a process referred to as DNS name resolution.

Once the browser and web server are connected, you can access the site. However, if something goes wrong in the operation, such as it gets interrupted or fails to complete properly, it results in a DNS-related error message

Instead of seeing the website you’re trying to visit, in its place you might see an error page displaying DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN. Often, it’s accompanied by a message that says, “This site can’t be reached” or “This site is unavailable”:

Basically, this message means that the DNS lookup failed. In this error message, ‘NXDOMAIN’ stands for non-existent domain.

What Causes the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN Error? 🤷🏽‍♂️

There are many different types of error messages Chrome and WordPress users might come across. However, when you see a message that contains ‘DNS’, it usually means that the DNS name resolution was unable to complete properly.

The DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error signifies that the DNS wasn’t able to successfully locate the IP address corresponding to the domain you entered. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean the domain doesn’t actually exist, just that something is preventing the DNS from identifying and translating the domain name.

Typically, you can narrow down the cause to an issue with your browser or device settings. In some cases, the problem may be due to to something as simple as typing the wrong URL into your browser.

There are also some instances when the cause is attributed to a conflict with a third-party tool such as antivirus software or a Virtual Private Network (VPN) installed on your computer. Most commonly, it’s caused by outdated or misconfigured DNS settings.

How to Fix DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN in Chrome (10 Ways) 💻

There are many different things that can cause DNS error messages as well as ways to resolve them. Here, we’ll look at ten methods you can use to fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error in Chrome:

Note: For each potential solution, we’ll give a brief explanation and general guidance. However, the instructions for some solutions vary depending on whether you’re using Windows, Mac, or Android. You can find more in-depth guidance for those methods in their respective sections later in this post. 

1. Check that You Entered the Correct URL

We’ll start with the most basic reason you might see the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error, which is that you simply didn’t enter the domain name correctly:

Double check the URL for any typos you may have made accidentally while entering it into your browser. If you’re certain that there are no errors, it’s time to move on to the next method.

2. Restart Your Computer or Device

Another simple but sometimes effective way to fix this error is to restart your computer.  If you’re experiencing the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN response from a tablet or your mobile phone, try powering it down and then turning it back on again.

If you have a lot of applications and browser tabs open, this might be irritating to have to do. Therefore, feel free to save this solution until you’ve exhausted all other options. However, keep in mind that for many of these fixes, you’ll need to restart your browser at the very least.

3. Reset the Chrome Flags

If you’ve installed new features or extensions on your browser, it may have messed with Chrome’s settings. This can sometimes interfere with the DNS settings, too, causing you to see the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message.

Therefore, it’s a smart idea to reset the Chrome flags back to the default settings. To do this, enter chrome://flags into your browser bar and press Enter.

On the Experiments screen, click on the Reset all button:

Next, restart your browser and try accessing the website again.

4. Temporarily Disable Your Antivirus Software or VPN

VPNs and antivirus software can sometimes conflict with network settings and DNS server configurations. Therefore, if you have either of these installed on your computer, this might be the source of the DNS error message. 

The process of disabling your antivirus software or VPN depends on what applications or tools you’re using. However, generally you should be able to do this by locating the software among your device’s applications and programs, then right-clicking on it. Look for the option to ‘disable’ or ‘uninstall’ it. 

5. Flush Your Chrome Browser Cache

Another common and effective way to fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error in Chrome is to clean out your browser cache. The easiest way to do this is to open a new tab, then select the three vertical dots in the top right-hand corner, followed by More tools > Clear browsing data:

In the window that opens, under the Advanced tab, make sure the boxes next to Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files are selected:

When you’re done, click on the Clear data button. Restart your browser, then visit the site again.

6. Flush Your Local DNS Cache

If cleaning out your browser cache didn’t fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error, you can also try flushing your local DNS cache. This clears out the stored IP addresses of previously visited websites. 

This is something you can do on Windows or Mac devices. However, the steps for doing so are slightly different. If you’ve never flushed your DNS cache before, refer to either the Windows or Mac sections later in this post. 

7. Release and Renew Your IP Address

If flushing the DNS cache didn’t resolve the error, the next method you can try is releasing and renewing the IP address. This is somewhat similar to flushing the DNS cache, only it’s a bit more in-depth. 

Whether you’re using Windows or Mac, it will involve running commands from your device. However, the application you use will be different (Command Prompt for Windows or Terminal for Mac), as will the commands. We’ve included both below.

8. Change DNS Servers

By default, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) automatically assigns your DNS server. However, temporarily changing it to another DNS server, such as the Google public DNS, may be the trick you need to resolve the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message.

Once again, the details of this method depend on the device and Operating System (OS) you’re using.

9. Restart the DNS Client Service

When you create a DNS server on a Windows device, the DNS runs as a service to cache and resolve domain names. Therefore, another way you can fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN in Windows is by restarting the DNS client service.

There are a couple of ways you can do this. We’ll walk you through both in the next section. 

10. Check the Local 'Hosts' File

If you’ve made it to this point and none of the above methods have resolved the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error, there’s one more solution you can try. Check to make sure the domain you’re trying to access isn’t listed in the local ‘hosts’ file of your computer. 

This file is typically only used for previewing a DNS before switching to a new host. However, if it was somehow accidentally changed, it may be the reason you’re seeing the error message. For guidance on locating this file on either Windows or Mac machines, refer to their respective sections below.

How to Fix DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN in Windows 10 ⚒️

As we mentioned, there are a variety of ways you can fix the DNS error in Chrome, including the 10 methods we mentioned above. However, in this section we’ll provide you with solutions that are specific to fixing DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN in Windows. This includes step-by-step instructions for how to:

Flush the DNS Cache in Windows

To flush the DNS cache in Windows, first click on the Windows logo and type “cmd” in the search bar. Next, under the Command Prompt application, select Run as administrator:

It may prompt you to allow the app to make changes to your device. Select the Yes button. When the Command Prompt window opens, enter the following command:

ipconfig/flushdns

Press Enter. When it’s done, you’ll see a message indicating the DNS cache was successfully flushed:

Restart your browser and visit the website again.

Release and Renew Your IP Address in Windows

To release and renew your IP address in Windows, navigate back to the Command Prompt application. Enter the following commands, pressing Enter after each:

ipconfig/release
ipconfig/all
ipconfig/renew
netsh int ip set dns
netsh winsock reset

This will release and renew your IP address, as well as reset the Winsock on your Windows machine. Winstock handles internet application requests on your computer. Once you’re done with all of the above commands, restart your computer and try visiting the website again.

Change the DNS Server in Windows

To change your DNS server in Windows to the Google public DNS, hold down the Windows logo and R keys to open the ‘Run’ panel. Type in “control panel”, then click on the OK button:

From the control panel window, navigate to Network and Sharing Center:

To the left, select Change adapter settings:

Right-click on the connection you’re currently using, then select Properties:

In the window that opens, browse to and select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), then click on the Properties button:

Under the ‘General’ tab, select the option for Use the following DNS server addresses:

Then enter the following values for each field:

  • Preferred DNS server: 8.8.8.8
  • Alternative DNS Server: 8.8.4.4

When you’re done, select OK. Restart your browser and see if this resolved the error.

Restart Your DNS Client Service in Windows

As you might recall, DNS client services cache and resolve domain names. Sometimes restarting it in Windows can fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message you’re seeing.

To do this, press the Windows logo and R keys, type “services.msc”, then select the OK button:

Under the Name column, locate and right-click on DNS client and select Restart:

If the option to restart the DNS Client is disabled or greyed out as in the example above, there’s another method you can use. Open the Windows Command Prompt app (Windows logo + R keys > “cmd”) and enter the following:

net stop dnscache
net start dnscache

Again, be sure to press Enter after each command.

Check the Local 'Hosts' File in Windows

If you want to check to make sure that your local ‘hosts’ file in Windows doesn’t contain the site you’re trying to access, the best way is to do so through your text editor. Click on the Windows logo, search for your preferred text editor (we’ll use Notepad), then select Run as administrator:

In the text editor window, select File > Open, then navigate to the following:

C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\

Select and open the ‘hosts’ file:

Check to make sure the domain of the site you’re trying to access isn’t listed within that file. If it is there, delete it and save the file.

How to Fix DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN in Mac 🍎

Most of the solutions you can use to fix DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN in Windows are applicable to macOS. However, the steps involved to execute them differ. Here, we’ll walk you through the Mac-specific instructions for how to:

Flush the DNS in Mac

To flush the local DNS cache on macOS, you can use the Terminal application. You can find this app in the Applications > Utilities folder:

After you double-click on the Terminal application to open it, enter the following command and press Return:

dscacheutil -flushcache

Note: You won’t see a success message for this as you would with Windows. Once you’re done, restart your browser and visit the site you’re trying to access again. You should no longer see the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error.

Release and Renew Your IP Address in Mac

If you’re still seeing the error message, you can try releasing and renewing the IP address. To do this on a Mac machine, once again open the Terminal application, then enter the following command:

sudo killall –HUP mDNSResponder

Press the Return key after. You may be asked to enter your password before continuing.

Change the DNS Server in Mac

As with Windows devices, you can temporarily switch the default DNS server assigned to you by your ISP to a public DNS such as Google’s.  To do this on macOS, click on the Apple logo icon in the top left corner of your screen followed by System Preferences > Network:

Select the network connection you’re currently using, then click on the Advanced button. Next, under the DNS tab, click on the (+) icon next to IPv4 or IPv6 addresses, then enter “8.8.8.8” and “8.8.4.4”:

When you’re done, select OK > Close. Restart your browser and see whether this resolved the issue.

Check the Local 'Hosts' File in Mac

To locate the ‘hosts’ file on a Mac machine, once again open the Terminal application (located in the Utilities folder). Then, enter the following command and press Return:

sudo nano /private/etc/hosts

Again, you’ll likely be prompted to enter the administrator password. Once the ‘hosts’ file opens, browse the list of websites to see if the domain you’re trying to access is there. If it is, delete the line from the file.

Remember to save the file before exiting. When you refresh your browser, you should now be able to access the website.

How to Fix DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN on Android 📱

Most of the solutions we’ve mentioned so far have been geared primarily toward desktop devices. However, it’s also possible you may see the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error in the Android Chrome app, which is the default browser. Let’s look at some steps you can take to fix this issue on your Android mobile device, including:

Check for Android System and Chrome App Updates

If you’ve already tried restarting your device, it’s possible that the reason you’re seeing the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN in Android is that your software is outdated. To check for Android system updates, navigate to Settings > System:

Once you click on System update, it will tell you whether there’s one available. If there is, update it and try visiting the site again.

It’s also a smart idea to make sure there is no update for the Chrome app available. To check, open the Play Store, then search for the Chrome app. Select the Update button if the option is present:

Try restarting your device again, then visiting the site you’re trying to access.

Clear Your Chrome Browser and App Data

As you might recall, clearing your browser data can also fix the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error in Chrome. To do this from your Android device, open the Chrome app and tap on the three vertical dots, followed by Settings > Privacy > Clear Browsing Data.

You can also try clearing the Chrome app data. To do this, navigate to Settings > Storage > Apps > Google Chrome. If you select the Free up space button, it will ask if you want to clear the site storage:

Click on the OK button. This will purge the Chrome app of unnecessary data or information, some of which may be causing the DNS error message.

Change Your Android Network Settings

You can also manually change the DNS settings on your Android device, similar to how we did with Windows and Mac. To do this, navigate to the Settings app, then select Network & Internet.

Hold down the Wi-Fi network connection, then select Modify network:

Under Advanced options, select Static from the dropdown menu. If you scroll to the bottom, you’ll see fields to enter DNS server addresses:

Enter the preferred DNS value (8.8.8.8) under DNS 1 and the alternative DNS value (8.8.4.4) under DNS 2. When you’re done, save your changes.

That’s it! When you restart your browser, you should now be able to access the site.

Frequently Asked Questions About the DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN Error 🧐

At this point, hopefully you have a better understanding not only of what the DNS_PROBE_FINISH_NXDOMAIN error means, but also the various ways you can fix it. Before we wrap up, we want to take a moment to answer some FAQs.

DNS stands for Domain Name System. A DNS is responsible for connecting domain names with web servers on the internet. For example, when you enter "wpbuffs.com" into a browser, it will translate it into a server IP address, such as 098.0.054.15, in a process referred to as DNS name resolution. However, if it can’t find it or connect it to your device, you might see an error message such as DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN.

The DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error message means that the DNS name resolution process failed. Put simply, if you’re seeing this message, it likely means that your browser or device was unable to translate the IP address of the website you’re trying to reach.

The DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN error most commonly occurs in Chrome. It can happen on desktop and mobile devices, including Windows, Mac, and Android OS.

However, although it is mostly a Chrome-specific error, the DNS error can also sometimes happen in other browsers, such as Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Apple Safari. The wording of the error message might vary slightly, such as “Hmm. We’re having trouble finding that site.” or “Safari Can’t Find the Server”.

Wrapping Up ⏲

When you’re trying to visit a WordPress site, only to be met with an error message such as DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN, it can be both irritating and concerning. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to resolve this Chrome error.

In this post, we discussed ten ways to fix the DNS error in Chrome, whether you’re using a Windows, Mac, or Android machine. Some of the most effective solutions include:

  1. Flush the DNS Cache.
  2. Release and renew your IP address.
  3. Change the DNS servers.
  4. Restart the DNS client service.
  5. Check the local ‘hosts’ file.

One of the best ways to minimize the issues you encounter with your WordPress site is to leverage premium maintenance services. At WP Buffs, we offer Care Plans and white-label solutions that can help with everything from technical support to streamlining your workflow. Check them out today!

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