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How To Flush Your DNS

Posted by Brad on February 1, 2019

One thing that you might have not known before is that visiting a website isn’t as simple as entering the URL in the address bar — there’s actually a lot more going on behind the scenes. Your computer doesn’t actually know what’s happening. Instead, the browser tries to resolve and find that name’s IP address within the Domain Name Server (DNS) server list, and then when found, it connects your browser up to that computer — or on your end, displays that website within your browser.

Depending on your Internet connection, this process — and loading the website — can happen relatively fast, and faster more with your computer’s DNS cache, which is essentially, in layman’s terms, a way to resolve recently visited website URLs a whole lot faster. Think of it as your computer essentially jotting down a recently visited site’s IP address down on a sticky note, instead of having to look for it in a large address book.

However, if the IP address’ server changes or if malware is trying to redirect you to other sites, that DNS cache can get clogged up. That can make it difficult for your computer to connect to a URL, and can actually throw an error code in trying to connect to the site altogether. So if you’re having problems connecting to a website, your DNS cache being clogged up could actually end up being one of, if not the problem. Luckily, it’s really easy to solve the problem by flushing your DNS cache. Here’s how!

On Windows

Whether you’re running the latest version of Windows 10 or an old version of Windows — even dating all the way back to Windows XP, it’s simple to flush your DNS cache. It really is: all it takes is a single command to reset your DNS cache entered into Command Prompt or Windows PowerShell.

On any version of Windows, just open up Command Prompt, and then type in the command ipconfic /flushdns. The Command Prompt, or machine, will now begin the process of flushing the DNS, and if successful, you should get something back that says “Successfully flushed the DNS resolver cache.

If you’re on Windows 10, 8, or 7, don’t have Command Prompt or simply don’t want to use old technology, you can still flush your DNS cache with Windows PowerShell; however, it is a different command. Open up Windows PowerShell in your respective Windows version, and then simply type in the command Clear-DnsClientCache. Ta da! Your DNS cache has been reset.

On MacOS

While it’s extremely easy to flush the DNS cache on almost any version of Windows, it’s a tad bit more complicated on MacOS, since the underlying tool set behind MacOS is, well, Linux. The first step is to open the Terminal app on your Mac. You can find this in the dock, or you can find it in your Apps List. You can also do a simple search for it on your Mac using Spotlight — just press Command + Space simultaneously and search for Terminal.

Most modern versions of MacOS — we’re talking OS X Lion to macOS Mojave today — use the same command, but older versions of the operating system will use a slightly different one. If you’re using a modern version of macOS, simply type in the command sudo dscacheutil -flushcache;sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder.

Older versions of OS X will need to use the command sudo discoveryutil udnsflushcaches;sudo discoveryutil mdnsflushcaches.

And that’s it! Your DNS cache is instantly flushed. Neither command will give you a success message like you would get on Windows; however, you can easily see if the flush fixed the issue by re-visiting the problem website.

On Android

It’s actually really easy to reset or flush your DNS cache on Android. Generally, processes like these are different from brand to brand, but for the most part this time, it’s all the same.

If you run Google Chrome, Google actually has a built in way to flush the DNS cache. Open Google Chrome, and then in the address bar, type in chrome://net-internals//#DNS. Once the page loads (and it should instantly), just press the button that says Clear host cache. That’s all there is to it!

Another easy way to clear the DNS cache is to clear the cache of an entire app. You can just head into your phone’s Application Manager, select the browser that you use on a daily basis, and then press the Clear Cache button.

Google has actually built into Android an automatic DNS cache clear — whenever you turn your Wi-Fi on or off, the DNS cache is cleared as well. So, if you’re having trouble with a site, resolving the problem could be as simple as toggling the Wi-Fi button on and off again.

On iOS

If you’re running an iPhone or iPad, Apple actually makes it really easy to flush or erase the DNS cache. They actually provide two ways that you can do it.

The first is to actually turn on Airplane Mode. As part of turning Airplane Mode On and Off, your DNS cache is actually automatically cleared. Turning on Airplane Mode is simple. Simply swipe up on your iPhone or iPad to reveal Control Center. Then, just tape the Airplane button. Once you see the airplane logo pop up at the top right or left of the screen in the status bar, you can press it again to turn it off. Ta da! Your DNS cache is clear.

You can actually do the same thing by opening your Settings app, and then toggling the Airplane Mode slider to the On or Off position. It’s the first option in the Settings app.

The other way that Apple allows you to clear your DNS cache on iOS is through resetting your network settings. To do this, open the Settings app on either your iPhone or iPad. Navigate to General, and then tap the Reset option. Now, tap on Reset Networking Settings and confirm that you want to reset. Once it finishes the process, your DNS cache is cleared, and once your device reboots, you can try navigating to the site(s) you were having difficulty connecting to again.

Closing

As you can see, it’s really easy to flush your DNS on almost any platform. Within just a quick few steps, you can have your Internet connection working just fine again. Sometimes the system can simply get clogged up, and a quick DNS flush will let you access those websites that you were having difficulty connecting to beforehand. If this didn’t solve your problem, there could actually be an issue on the site’s server-end, or there could be a problem back with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) — and in that case, you might want to give them a ring to figure out if it’s something that they can fix for you.

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