How to Clear the Google Chrome DNS cache on Windows

Flushing your DNS cache can be a useful tool to resolve any host connection errors that you may experience with Google Chrome or other browsers. It is very simple to do and can be done directly in Chrome or from an Elevated Command Prompt window in Windows 7 or 8.

What is the DNS Cache?

Your browser’s DNS Cache (Domain Name System) is essentially a small databank that stores all the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses for websites you access. The main purpose of this database is to make it easier for your computer to reach and access the IP addresses of websites when their servers change or if they create new servers.

When IP addresses become outdated or if a website switches to a new server, you may encounter DNS errors when you try to access them. Sometimes, due to continued use and accessing sites with a less than perfect web safety rating, your DNS cache may also become corrupted. This is where a DNS cache flush comes in handy.

What is Flushing?

Just like flushing a toilet and getting rid of any old water that is stored in the tank, a DNS flush will make your computer erase any existing information regarding DNS names and IP addresses that is has stored. After you perform a flush, the next time you try to access a website, your computer will ask for all the new IP and DNS information related to that site resulting in an error free browsing experience.

Flushing your Cache through Google Chrome

If you experience any DNS or host error related browsing issues, it can sometimes help to perform a DNS and Socket flush using your Google Chrome browser. In order to fix these problems, follow these simple steps.

Begin by opening Google Chrome and type in this address: chrome://net-internals/#dns and press “Enter.”

If you look at our screenshot, you will notice that there are 24 active entries and a list with details of all the IP addresses that the DNS cache has picked up and stored.

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In order to flush your Google Chrome browser’s DNS cache, simply find the button that says “Clear Host Cache” and click it. You can click it more than once if you want to make sure it did what it was supposed to, but a single click is usually enough. You will notice that the number of active entries has gone down to 0 and the list of websites accessed has been cleared.

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The next step will be to flush all the Sockets by navigating to chrome://net-internals/#sockets or by clicking on the drop-down menu on the top left of the screen and selecting “Sockets.”

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Once you have arrived at the sockets page, you will need to click on both options available to you to flush them all. First, click on “Close Idle Sockets” then on “Flush Socket Pools.”

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Alternatively, you could use the drop-down menu located on the top right hand side of the screen to perform both actions after navigating to “Chrome://net-internals/”

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Flush DNS with Windows 7 and 8

You will need to begin by starting an Elevated Command Prompt Window. The Elevated Command Prompt window is distinguished from a regular command prompt window because the name on the top left of the window will read “Administrator: Command Prompt.” Using this method, you will be able to manipulate your computer with unrestricted access.

If you are using Windows 7, press “Start” then type “cmd” into the search bar. Simply right click on the “Command Prompt” icon followed by a click on the “Run as administrator” option.

If you are using Windows 8, you’ll need to use the Start Screen search and then right-click to open as Administrator.

Now that you have an Elevated Command Prompt window open on your windows 7 or 8 PC, it is time to begin the DNS flush. It is as simple as typing “ipconfig /flushdns” into CMD and pressing “Enter.” If you were successful, you will see the message shown in the following image.

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If you want to manually verify that your computer’s DNS cache was flushed, type in this command: “ipconfig/displaydns” and press “Enter.”

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You will notice that the message displayed is “Could not display the DNS Resolver Cache.” This means that there is nothing to see in the cache and the flush was successful. If you want to see something show up, simply open up Google Chrome. Once Google Chrome is open, switch back to your Command Prompt window and type in the “ipconfig/displaydns” command again.

The image above shows a list of all the items and IP addresses saved in your new DNS cache.  Now you can exit your command prompt window and resume browsing the Internet without the risk of a DNS error, since every site you access will show up as a new entry in your Cache.

Martin Hendrikx is a technology writer and author with years of experience. He has traveled to 47 countries and counting and is well versed in all things Windows.