When using a domain name system or DNS, you will, at some point, experience a DNS error. But what exactly is this and what causes it in the first place?

What is a DNS error? As this is a question on so many people’s minds, we thought to get to the bottom of this issue. Simply put, a DNS error occurs when a part of the network does not properly connect to another part of the network. For instance, when a web page name cannot be resolved, it results in turning up an error page instead of the desired site.

As to what causes these errors, there is a wide range of issues. Some of them have their own quick-fix solutions, which we will outline later on for your benefit, while others are a little more complicated in nature. However, being the most common error you can encounter during your online surfing, it is important to get to grips with them.

Throughout this article we will explain some of the most common errors and give you the means to fix the issue yourself, saving you hours of frustration.

What are DNS servers?

Before we delve deeper into the world of the DNS server error, we should explain what a DNS server is and why it is necessary to your online survival. DNS servers are an integral part of the internet infrastructure. Their job is to convert domain names into IP addresses so that they can be read by other machines.

Unfortunately, many people fail to realize the importance of DNS maintenance. Much of the necessary maintenance goes unnoticed until some DNS errors start to arise. Many of these problems can actually cause interference with the way the network operates and in the long-term, can affect productivity and even cause large security issues that can have damaging effects on both companies and individuals.

There are two types of DNS: internal DNS used in companies and public DNS used for regular internet connections. Each has their own problems.

Nintendo Switch DNS error

For those of you using a DNS server at home to play games, you may have been hit with a Nintendo Switch DNS error. This usually surfaces as the 2110-3127 error code. Often, users have spent weeks enjoying uninterrupted connections to the router with no issues, when suddenly this pops up.

Never fear, though, for there is a do-it-yourself solution. The first step is to restart the device. The next step is to totally disconnect the router from all power and wait a moment (older routers require up to 30 seconds to cycle) before restarting it. If this fails, you can use Google’s servers, which can be found under 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4. For most people, one of these steps has helped get them back online. In some instances, you may have to go one step further and manually assign an IP address to your Nintendo Switch.

DNS error on PS3 and PS4.

Continuing the gaming theme, you may sometimes encounter the DNS error PS3 gets, usually signaled by the error code 80710102. When this code pops up, it means that there has been an issue with the IP address stopping your PS3 connecting to the router. There are actually a number of PS3 errors that can occur, but the 80710102 is the most common of these.

To fix it yourself, you can open a browser and type in the IP address of the router into the address bar. Once you have done this, simply put in your username and password, and click on ‘OK’ to gain access to the application console of your router. Under the Password tab, you’ll find the UPnP settings where you need to select ‘Disable’ and then ‘Save’. At this point, you can close your router console and restart the PlayStation with everything – hopefully – working normally.

It’s not just the PS3 that suffers from errors. The PS4 DNS error is also a regular occurrence. Again there are a number of different errors, but with the PS4 the most common one is denoted by the error code NW-31247-7. As with the PS3, the PS4 can be working fine for months and then suddenly come up with a DNS error. Usually, this error comes with the accompanying message that the DNS server cannot be used. This error is often caused by a network problem such as a badly configured server or just outright server failure.

To solve it you will need to restart the router, which can sometimes fix the entire issue. Alternatively, you can manually assign a DNS address to the PS4 by going to the PlayStation settings and following all the instructions on the screen.

Poorly configured DNS records

Many of the main DNS issues come from improperly configured DNS records that occur when you don’t put in the right values or the correct IP addresses during the recording process. This means that there is a greater chance of receiving DNS issues. For instance, MX, DKIM and SPF records, essential for delivering emails, will fail when the DNS records aren’t configured correctly.

If you are looking for the answer on how to fix a DNS error, it involves initially narrowing it down to find the real issue. In the case of poor email delivery, for example, checking out the aforementioned records would be a good place to start. Once you have located the problem, it is a few, relatively simple steps to reconfigure the DNS records correctly and get everything back to working efficiently as before.

Network Down

The most commonly seen error on a DNS server is the Network Down error. As we have mentioned before, it can occur on a number of different devices from computers through to Smart TVs and game consoles. The thing about the Network Down error is that it can occur from a variety of different issues, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly what has caused the problem.

In many cases, the cause of the error can just be one single server failing to relay the correct information on to the next server. It can even be as simple as one setting being wrong, or even the fact that a cord was not connected correctly when a new server was added.

As all of these issues can result in a DNS error, solving it can be time-consuming. The process of elimination to solve this error involves ensuring strong connections. Thankfully, there are a number of different ways that you can search out and solve the problem.

The first of these is to run Network Diagnostics, which will help to find out where the initial issue has occurred. However, in some cases you might not even be sure that there is an issue so to start the process you can head over to the Control Panel, open the Networks and Sharing tab and look in the Troubleshoot problems section. Clicking on Internet Connections will open a window where you can run the troubleshooter with regards to the internet connection. Once this has been completed, there will be a “Problems Found” window and this is where you will usually see the issue. Once the problem has been identified and fixed, it is always a good idea to restart your router.

TTL values are too high

TTL, or Time to Live, are values that exist in your DNS records. If these get too high, they can cause high waiting times during propagation. This can cause some serious down times when there is traffic going from server to server.

Essentially, this means that everything slows down, and in some bad cases, stops altogether. In order to combat this, it is important to change the TTL to lower values. However, even this has its issues as the lower values can actually cause a high query load, but this is generally not a problem if the server is able to handle this high load. You should also note that in some cases there are ISPs that totally ignore TTL settings and simply perform an override of their own in order to rectify the issue.

DDOS attacks

DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attacks are malicious attacks that try to disrupt regular traffic or specific servers. They do this by trying to force an overwhelming amount of traffic into the server or the infrastructure in the immediate area. The aim here is to send so much traffic that the server or site eventually crashes.

These attacks can be successful when they manage to utilize multiple computers at the same time. However, it is important to note that these attacks can only happen if someone is directing it to occur, i.e. there is a hacker orchestrating the event. DDoS attacks can occur in a number of different ways and can be made up of many different layers, which means that they can be hard to prevent if you don’t know what you are looking for.

There are ways to prevent DDoS attacks from occurring and this is through the use of a DDoS mitigation device. Unfortunately, these types of attacks are constantly evolving which means that the devices used to combat them must also evolve, providing a multi-layered solution to the security issues that arise. They also need to have reporting tools and analysis tools so that such attacks can be prevented in the future.

There are many different types of DDoS devices so it is important to choose one that suits you. FortiDDoS, for example, offers comprehensive protection that’s available in an easy to use interface providing easy options to set up thresholds, reporting, and other graph tools. Of course, simply knowing that DDoS attacks can even occur will help you or the company go a long way in preventing them from happening in the first place.

Hardware or network fails

In some cases, a DNS server failure is nothing more than a hardware issue. These failures can still occur in a number of different places, though usually, they happen on the user machine. If this is the case, then some of the previously mentioned solutions will be able to help you and you can troubleshoot through your network to solve the issue. However, this isn’t always the case as sometimes the network failure is out of your control.

This means it is not at your end of the network, meaning that you will be unable to actually solve the issue. Unless the specific machine is in the immediate work environment, you won’t be able to sort out the problem. Different operating systems will have different methods to fix the problem like this so there is no one method that fixes all.

The main way to solve these issues is through troubleshooting the specific configuration settings within the network or the hardware itself. This is the way you need to proceed if you are to identify the root cause of the issue.

We suggest starting with the configuration settings, as this is the issue the vast majority of the time. You can check for errors by using the ping command on many computers. This will help you to see whether there is even any connection to the network at all. Pinging in this fashion will enable you to see if you can connect to other routers or even computers thus revealing the problem. If you attempt to sort out the configuration settings, you need to go to the troubleshooting section. If an issue pops up, your computer will prompt to repair, returning everything to normal.

DNS latency

If you are suffering from high DNS latency you will notice that there are high loading times. This means that you will notice that things are taking longer to open. High DNS latency is often a result of the DNS name servers not being geographically close to the majority of the users who are accessing a particular website.

Of course, another reason could also be that there is severe network congestion from a large amount of traffic trying to access the site at the same time. The solution to this issue will depend on where the issue is. However, the simplest solution is to change the location of the DNS servers to servers that are closer to the majority of the visitors to the site. If this fails, you’ll need to check out configurations made before the high latency period.

DLL issues

If all the basics have been checked out within your network and computer, yet you are still suffering from DNS issues, there may be another problem to root out. This could be what is known as a DLL issue. A DLL, also known as a Dynamic Link Library, has the job of connecting the various elements within a program.

This creates a sort of module setup that enables the computer and the network to operate much more smoothly while also saving space. When you start seeing issues, it is because there are now problems with the system. Sometimes they stem from an update, and sometimes something has overwritten a vital connection that ensures the DLL keeps running. These types of problems can make the entire system stop running. When these errors occur on a website, visitors can see the error as well.

DLL files can be hard to troubleshoot when trying to find the cause as there are many different types around. Fixing these errors can be time-consuming depending on the type of problem. The first step to a fix is restarting the computer.

Sometimes, the problem is temporary and a simple restart fixes everything. A second step is to restore any DLL files that are in the bin. It could be that you simply deleted the wrong DLL file and that is what is causing the issue of “DLL Not Found” or “Missing DLL.” If the deletion process has gone further, you can use a recovery program to retrieve any DLL files that you’ve already got rid of. Reinstalling the program or running a system restore are the last two points on the list that can set things back to normal.

Malware issues

The final, and possibly the most important area that can cause an issue with your DNS server is malware. Malware is software that is created to disrupt and destroy information, computers and computer networks. If you get a DNS error, specifically if you are visiting websites that you visit often, then this could be because there is some malware lodged itself into your computer system. Some of the more recent malware is actually embedded in Javascript meaning that you can pick it up simply by clicking on a link.

Clicking on these types of links can cause the malware to download straight to your computer where it will start disrupting your system. There are a number of ways that you can get rid of malware, as long as you know it is there, of course!

Preemptive measures can be taken to prevent malware from even entering your computer. All you need to do is run some anti-malware programs on your computer and throughout your network on a regular basis. These programs are designed to pick up any issues and will catch them faster and earlier than you might do. If you have not had these programs in place and still notice an issue, then it is definitely time to install one. Installing the software will ensure that the malware is found and eradicated from your computer. After this has occurred, your system should return to normal and there should be no more DNS errors (assuming malware was to blame). The great thing about these anti-malware programs is that they will actually check every area of the computer, so you don’t have to.

Conclusion

We hope this article has helped you understand and fix DNS issues. As a takeaway message, the main point here is that when there is a DNS issue, you always need to figure out whether the DNS server is returning the exact same response even when used from varying locations. In addition, it is important to ensure that the domain name is active and that there is a stable ISP in place at all times.

However, if the issues are occurring within a company’s infrastructure, we highly recommend calling in a specialist who will be able to solve any current and future issues efficiently, rather than fixing the issues yourself, preventing any potentially disastrous outcomes, such as hackers breaching security.