Demystifying the DNS_PROBE_STARTED Error: Troubleshooting and Solutions

The internet has become an integral part of our lives, and accessing websites is a daily routine. But what happens when you encounter an error message like "DNS_PROBE_STARTED"? This error can be frustrating, as it prevents you from accessing your favorite websites. In this comprehensive guide, we'll demystify the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error, explore its causes, and provide practical solutions to get you back online. Whether you're a novice or a tech-savvy user, understanding and resolving this error is essential for smooth internet browsing.

Understanding DNS and the DNS_PROBE_STARTED Error

What is DNS?

DNS stands for Domain Name System, and it's like the phonebook of the internet. When you type a web address (e.g., into your browser, the DNS system translates that human-readable address into an IP address (e.g., that your computer can understand. This IP address is used to locate the webserver hosting the website you want to visit.


The DNS_PROBE_STARTED error is a message that appears in your web browser when it encounters difficulty in resolving a domain name to an IP address. It essentially means your browser has initiated a DNS query but hasn't received a response yet. As a result, you can't access the website you're trying to visit.

Common Causes of the DNS_PROBE_STARTED Error

To resolve the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error, it's crucial to identify its root causes. Here are some of the common reasons behind this error:

1. Network Connectivity Issues

One of the most common causes of the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error is network connectivity problems. This could be due to issues with your internet service provider (ISP), a weak Wi-Fi signal, or a disconnected Ethernet cable. In such cases, the error is a result of your computer's inability to reach the DNS server.

2. DNS Server Problems

DNS servers can sometimes experience issues, causing delays in domain name resolution. If the DNS server you're using is slow or unresponsive, you may encounter the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error. This can happen due to server outages, maintenance, or technical problems.

3. Browser Cache and Cookies

Your web browser stores temporary data, including cached DNS records and cookies. If these files become corrupted or outdated, they can lead to DNS-related errors. Clearing your browser's cache and cookies can often resolve the issue.

4. Firewall and Security Software

Firewalls and security software can sometimes interfere with your computer's ability to access the DNS server. If the security software is blocking DNS requests, it can trigger the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error. Adjusting your security settings or temporarily disabling the firewall can help determine if this is the cause.

5. Incorrect DNS Configuration

Your computer uses a specific DNS configuration to resolve domain names. If this configuration is incorrect, it can lead to DNS errors. Manually configuring the DNS settings or using the default settings provided by your ISP can make a significant difference.

6. Malware and Adware

Malicious software, such as malware and adware, can tamper with your computer's DNS settings. They may redirect your DNS queries to malicious servers, leading to the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error. Regularly scanning your system for malware and ensuring you have robust antivirus software can help prevent this issue.

Troubleshooting and Resolving the DNS_PROBE_STARTED Error

Now that we've identified the common causes of the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error, let's explore practical troubleshooting steps and solutions to resolve it.

1. Check Your Network Connection

Start by ensuring your network connection is stable. Check your modem, router, or Wi-Fi access point to confirm they are functioning correctly. If you're using a Wi-Fi connection, make sure the signal strength is strong. If you're on a wired connection, verify that the Ethernet cable is securely connected.

2. Test with Different Websites

Sometimes, the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error can be site-specific. Test whether the issue occurs with multiple websites or just one. If it's limited to one site, the problem may be on the website's end.

3. Restart Your Router

Rebooting your router can help refresh your network connection and resolve minor connectivity issues. Unplug the router from the power source, wait for a minute, and then plug it back in. Allow it to fully restart, and then check if the error persists.

4. Switch to a Different DNS Server

Changing your DNS server can often resolve DNS-related errors. You can switch to a public DNS server like Google DNS ( and or Cloudflare DNS ( in your network settings. This step can bypass issues with your ISP's DNS server.

5. Flush DNS Cache

Flushing your computer's DNS cache can help clear outdated or corrupt DNS records. Open the command prompt on Windows or the terminal on macOS and type the following command:

  • On Windows:
  ipconfig /flushdns
  • On macOS:
  sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder


executing the command, restart your computer and check if the error is resolved.

6. Disable Browser Extensions

Browser extensions and add-ons can sometimes interfere with DNS requests. Temporarily disable your browser extensions, and then try accessing the website. If the error disappears, one of the extensions may be causing the issue. Re-enable them one by one to identify the culprit.

7. Check Firewall and Security Software

Review your firewall and security software settings to ensure they are not blocking DNS requests. If you suspect your security software is the cause, consider adjusting the settings or temporarily disabling it to check if the error persists.

8. Scan for Malware

Perform a full system scan for malware and adware using reputable antivirus software. If any threats are detected, follow the software's instructions to remove them. Malware can often disrupt DNS functionality, leading to DNS-related errors.

9. Reset TCP/IP

Resetting the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) can help resolve network-related issues. Open the command prompt on Windows with administrative privileges and enter the following commands one by one:

  • ```
    netsh winsock reset
- ```
  netsh int ip reset

After executing these commands, restart your computer and check if the error is resolved.

10. Contact Your ISP

If you've tried all the above steps and the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error persists, it may be an issue with your internet service provider's DNS servers. Contact your ISP's support for assistance and let them know about the problem.


Encountering the DNS_PROBE_STARTED error can be frustrating, but with the right troubleshooting steps, you can resolve it and enjoy uninterrupted internet browsing. By understanding the common causes and following the practical solutions outlined in this guide, you can tackle this error with confidence. Whether it's a minor network hiccup or a more complex DNS issue, you now have the tools to troubleshoot and resolve the problem. Stay connected and explore the web without interruptions.


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