A Chrome error which pops up regularly enough for developers and clients I have worked with to warrant a “what to do” article is the error DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN.
It’s not a very precise error, but one thing is for sure, if you’re seeing “DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN” on your browser, you sure as heck aren’t looking at your website… or the thing you wanted to see when you typed in the URL.
What Causes DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN?
In short: DNS issues. DNS (Dynamic Name Servers) are what point traffic around the internet. These little records tell all web browser where to find the information they seek (by mapping a domain to an IP address where more information may be discovered).
When there’s a break in this chain somewhere, Chrome browsers will show this generic error message, to say “we looked, but we could not find the answer”.
It kind of means “we ran out of time, and gave up looking for the records” which could point to the root cause, too (for example if there hasn’t been much time since you added records for a new domain).
The message above is specific to Google Chrome browsers – other browsers say different things, like “we’re having trouble finding that site” or “we can’t reach the server” but they all basically mean the same.
How to Fix DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN
This issue is often down to your local network – or local computer (or phone) having out of date or bad IP address set for a domain – down to localised caching.
Clear / Renew your local IP Address
The first thing to try is to try clearing IP caches in your local machine.
On Windows, run
cmd (press Windows button, then R to get the input, then type “cmd”) in the blck screen that opens, type
ipconfig / release and then press return (enter key). You should then see the message:
Successfully flushed the DNS resolver Cache.
On a Mac click System Preferences (top left menu) > Network > Advanced > TCP / IP > Renew DHCP. Yes, that’s 5-6 clicks deep. Hence the tutorial!
Restart DNS Service on your Local Machine
HINT: it may be as easy to turn your computer off and on again. IT Crowd for the win.
Change DNS Servers to Use Google or CloudFlare
This involves updating the DNS service your local machine uses – can be very helpful if the IP record is cached at a network level – to use Google or CloudFlare’s public records, which may have picked up the correct location for the domain you’re trying to access.
Reset Your Chrome Flags to Default
This has worked for me to resolve a weird Chrome error more than once. Type
chrome://flags into your browser bar, hit enter, then click the button at the top right which says “Reset all to default”.
Turn off your VPN
If you are using a VPN, it could be here that the chain is breaking, owing to it not yet having picked up the IP address of the thing you are trying to look at – or maybe your VPN is blocked or otherwise prevented from accessing the thing in question. Either way, try turning it off momentarily and seeing if the error message persists. Then decide what to do about it if this was indeed your problem.
Restart your Router or Local Network
Depending on how your broadband router, switch or local network is configured, you might have the above issues cached “above” your local machine, in which case, turning the router or network server off and on again, will often flush the relevant records. Note, it might not, too, so you may be best off with the DNS server change, above, in this case.
Check your local Hosts File
Probably more one for the developers among us, but often we use hosts files to point to IP addresses for domains which are not yet live… check your hosts files locally in case you would have done this. There’s nearly no chance this would have been edited without you doing it (unless someone else uses your machine) so this message is to jog your memory about that change you made at 1am the other day while testing new feature X!!
Check the DNS for the Domain you are accessing are really live
You might have checked and double checked. You might be absolutely convinced the DNS is correct. The easy way to check is to use a global DNS checking tool like the below one to see if your nameservers and IP addresses are actually returned.
Turn it off and on again (RESTART your machine)
Maybe I should have led with this. Give your machine a reboot, go grab a coffee, and see if that resolved it. This also works with tablets and phones. You need to give things a clearout – and reboot is often the way to do this without hitting black screens and running commands yourself. Let the machine do the work!
Leave a comment below if none or one of these resolved your error message. Tell me what the fix was and I’ll adjust the order of my list – or add a new solution to help future error Googlers find their resolution. For the community!