Have you ever gotten DNS errors while trying to browse the web, but another computer on the same network is working just fine? There’s a good chance you need to clear the computer’s DNS cache to fix it.

This fix may also be necessary after changing your DNS server, as it ensures your computer asks the DNS server for a website’s IP address rather than just using its already cached addresses.

Clear the DNS Cache

Open a Command Prompt window as Administrator. To do so, open the Start menu, type “Command Prompt” into the search box, right-click the Command Prompt shortcut in the results, and then select the “Run as Administrator” command.

At the prompt, type the following command, and then press Enter:

ipconfig /flushdns

This command works on all versions of Windows, including Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

Running this command should usually fix whatever problem you have. However, some applications may have their own DNS cache you need to clear if you’re still experiencing problems. For example, Firefox has its own internal DNS cache, so you may want to close and reopen it—or even clear its browser settings—if you’re experiencing problems in Firefox.

Restart the DNS Service

On older versions of Windows, you may also want to try restarting the DNS Client system service that handles the DNS caching. This isn’t possible on Windows 10 and 8, which prevents you from stopping and starting this service—you’ll just see an error message if you try. However, you can do this on Windows 7, Vista, and XP.

If you’re using an older version of Windows, you can do this right from the Administrator Command Prompt window you already have open. Just run the following commands in turn:

net stop dnscache
net start dnscache

If you’re having problems and feel the need to restart this service on Windows 10, you can always try rebooting your computer. This restarts the DNS Client service and every other piece of software on your computer.

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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