Look, we know perfectly well that error codes are supposed to be informative and helpful, but in spite of that, when are we ever thankful for receiving or seeing them? The answer is “Never,” and that doubly true when we don’t know what they mean–an example being the frequent “dns_probe_finished_nxdoman” error that we’re going to show you how to fix.
What would be more helpful would be an explanation of what the error code means and what a person can do about it, but very few browsers are in the business of providing that. It’s why Online Tech Hub has your back! Let’s take a look at this particular obstacle to your browsing, and see what steps are necessary to see it resolved.
Before we can delve too deeply into the nuance of this particular error code, we have to learn a bit about why it shows up. After all, there’s a lot of unpacking to do in that one little line! If you already know a fair bit about Domain Name Systems and IP addresses, feel free to skip ahead to the section where we talk about the various fixes that you can employ. If this is all new to you, however, read on!
The internet has become so easy to use, and browsers right along with it, that the whole process of browsing it can easily be taken for granted. Once it’s taken for granted, users typically stop worrying about all of the terminology and background processes that are essential for keeping it running. All of this leads to an utter lack of understanding when an error code like this pops up.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. The internet should be easy to use, and problems like this can be relatively easy to fix with a few simple steps.
When you’re navigating to specific web pages using URLs, you’re unknowingly taking part in the call-and-answer system that is DNS and IP addresses. You’ll never really engage with either of these things (which is why the terms might be unfamiliar to you), but they’re nevertheless critical to your browsing experience.
DNS and IP addresses exist because actual web page locations aren’t defined by URLs and page titles. Instead, they’re defined by series of numbers defined by where they’re hosted. Since humans are typically not going to remember hundreds of thousands of numbers as easily as they’ll remember a few dozen website URLs, the DNS system exists.
The best analogy asks you to think about the contact list on your smartphone. Can you tell me the exact phone number of every single person on that list? If you can, then bravo to you, but my guess is that you won’t be able to. However, you can very easily tell me the names of everyone in your contact list, if asked to recite them. This same scenario helps to demonstrate the need for a DNS.
“Technology and technology-driven change has virtually nothing to do with igniting a transformation from good to great” – Jim Collins
- When you enter a URL in your browser’s address bar, this isn’t enough information alone to tell the software what information to look for.
- Instead, your browser connects to the nearest available DNS to match the provided website information with the relevant IP address, which in turn calls up the information and data that will be displayed in your browser.
- This allows the DNS and IP addresses as the worker bees that enable your continual, easy use of a web browser.
Imagine the weight of the obstacle, then, when those worker bees stop working!
What Is the “dns_probe_finished_nxdomain” Error?
So, you have a cursory understanding of DNS and IP addresses, including what each of them is and how they interact. But what does that damn error message mean, and what are you supposed to do about it?
The error comes as a result of your DNS not being able to match a domain name to a correlating IP address. As the browser reads it, this basically means that it couldn’t find a website to display based on the URL that you’ve entered. Whether or not there actually is a URL is irrelevant at the moment, since this problem can spring up due to a faulty DNS just as easily as a faulty website.
Because the DNS was unable to find an IP address that matched up with the URL you’ve provided (or a link you’ve clicked; it doesn’t necessarily require you to enter anything in the address bar), the error code is what’s going to show up instead of actual web page content.
Resolving the Error Message
So, that’s the crux of the issue. Now, let’s get started with resolving it so that you can hopefully return to your browsing that much sooner. We have a couple of fixes to provide you with, and we’ll start with the one that works almost 100% of the time.
It’s also worth noting that, occasionally, the problem has nothing to do with your own internet connection, your web browser, or your DNS settings. The problem could be in the website or IP address itself, which means that there isn’t much you can do about it (apart from contacting the relevant web administrators.) However, we’re going to proceed with the assumption that this particular error is something that we can address.
Before You Begin…
Prior to our getting into any more involved fixes, here are a couple of things that you should try beforehand. Granted, these are less likely to be viable solutions, but since they have worked for others in the past, give them a shot!
- Try accessing the website or URL in another browser. If this works, then you’ve narrowed the problem down to a specific browser rather than the actual DNS.
- Clear the cache and cookies from the browser that’s giving you trouble. These elements are less frequently associated with this particular error code, but it has been known to clear it up on rare occasions.
Because DNS and IP address shenanigans are notoriously hard to lock down and diagnose, it’s a good idea to try every available fix that we can, until the problem is resolved. If one of these simple fixes happens to work, then all the better!
Change the DNS
The first fix that we’re going to put into action is the one that works almost every time–as long as the problem is actually fixable from your end. We’re going to change the DNS from its default automatic setting, and give it a specific reference instead.
- First, right-click the network icon from your Windows menu tray and select Open Network and Sharing Center.
- Click the option, Change Adapter Settings.
- In the following menu, find the active network connection that you’re using to access the internet. Right click it and select Properties.
- The next window should feature a list. Scroll through it and select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4). Below that, click Properties.
- In this window, we’ll alter the DNS settings. Do not change the IP address settings.
- Select Use the Following DNS Server Address. Change the Preferred DNS Server to 184.108.40.206 and the Alternate DNS Server to 220.127.116.11.
- Check the Validate Settings Upon Exit box, and then click OK.
Now, try opening up your browser and visiting the same website or URL once again. Nine times out of ten, this is the fix that’s going to allow you to continue browsing without that particular error message. If there was a problem with the current DNS that you were using, this one should remedy the issue.
Note: In case you’re curious, the DNS settings that we’ve applied are particularly reliable because they’re Google’s. Therefore, if this fix does not work, there’s a very strong possibility that the error is not on your end of the line.
Flush the DNS
We have one more trick up our sleeves that can occasionally resolve the issue if the above changes didn’t work. Rest assured that you can leave your altered DNS settings as they are; the DNS server and alternate server will be reliable whenever you’re browsing the web.
Now, we’re going to use the Windows command prompt to flush your current DNS registry, so that it can be recompiled anew.
- From the Windows Start Menu or the taskbar, search for Command Prompt. Once it’s found, click to open it.
- Within the command prompt, you’ll now run a series of lines, one-by-one. Press Enter each time a command line is entered.
- First, enter ipconfig /release and then press Enter.
- Next, enter ipconfig /all and press Enter.
- Enter ipconfig /flushdns and press Enter.
- Enter ipconfig /renew and press Enter.
You may now exit the Windows command prompt. After doing so, restart your computer to ensure that your changes have taken effect. Once you’ve rebooted, try accessing the same website once again. Have we resolved the issue?
If it hasn’t been fixed yet, you have few options left. There are potentially more ways to attempt solving this error code through modification of the Windows operating system registry, but I would highly advise against these methods. Screw-ups in the registry can cause irreparable damage to your installation of Windows, and can occasionally require you to reformat the computer.
Instead, I would suggest contacting the administrators of the website that you’re trying to access. Alert them to the problem (using social media is particularly effective), and let them know which error code you’ve received.
Hopefully, our little guide has helped you to fix the “dns_probe_finished_nxdomain” error and has also shed a little light on the way that DNS and IP addresses work while you’re browsing. If you have any questions about these steps, let’s hear them in the comments, below!