DNS problems with Chrome
September 11, 2017 9:14 AM   Subscribe

Lately my Chrome browser has been doing weird things relating to DNS stuff. I am not a computery guy so please bear with me inside.

My Chrome browser has started doing this thing where when I open a link, it often (say, three times out of five) fails to load the page. It has one of two errors: DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_BAD_CONFIG or DNS lookup failed. The first one is the most common. Then, after about five seconds of staring at that error, the page loads properly.

The other thing it does is sit at a blank page for literally thirty seconds with "Resolving host..." at the bottom left. Then it loads the page.

I use Malwarebytes and the built in windows defender antivirus. I use a wireless connection and can't wire the computer directly to the router.

Things I have tried to fix it:
  • the command prompt ipconfig /flushdns thing
  • resetting my router's power
  • setting manual DNS servers in both my network adapter and router ( on the advice of the internet)
  • Making sure my hosts file isn't weird in any way
  • Calling my ISP and asking them what's going on (worthless)
  • flushing my Chrome history, cache and all
  • Disabling all my Chrome extensions, both one at a time and all at once
  • Swearing
The most annoying thing is that the internet still works fine, it just shits the bed for a few seconds most times I open a link. Any help is appreciated.
posted by Sternmeyer to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You might try escalating the problem with your ISP, if possible. I spent weeks butting heads with phone support when I had a weird issue with my ISP and iTunes Store downloads on iOS, but when I went to their Twitter help account, someone in escalations was able to tell me it was a known issue and provided me with a workaround and let me know when it was fixed. Either ask to escalate on the phone or try other approaches to their customer service behemoth.
posted by Rock Steady at 9:38 AM on September 11, 2017

Other things to try:
  • Reboot computer
  • Different browser (e.g. Firefox, Opera)
  • Incognito mode
  • Reinstall Chrome
  • Disable firewall
  • Disable Anti-virus
  • Swearing at your ISP

posted by Obscure Reference at 9:42 AM on September 11, 2017

Some ideas:

2nding rebooting computer (this works a surprising amount of times, yet I always forget to start with it)

Update firmware of router

Make sure driver of your wireless adapter on your PC is fully updated

Use Google's DNS Namebench utility to test the best DNS servers for your location. Change & reboot accordingly.
posted by bluecore at 10:04 AM on September 11, 2017

Following this since I've noticed the same issue recently as well (and I wanted to remind folks of Sternmeyer's note that he is "not a computery guy" - neither am I, so I'm assuming he doesn't understand what "Update firmware of router" means just like I don't).

Sternmeyer, I've been seeing that too.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:28 AM on September 11, 2017

I'm assuming you connect through a router managed by someone in your apartment building or organization. Can you speak with the person responsible for the router? Assuming rebooting your own computer doesn't work, my personal next step would be to reboot the router.

I would also do a FULL scan of my system with both Windows Defender or Essentials (whichever you said you have) and Malwarebytes, not just have them running in protection mode, to be on the safe side that it's not a virus.

The only other thing I can offer is the usual support-person question of "Think carefully. Did you do something to your system set-up or configuration just before this started happening?" (Install a program or extension or change some settings, etc.)

Good luck.
posted by aught at 10:38 AM on September 11, 2017

I have seen Chrome do this exact thing on days when my ISP is causing frequent short outages, where my connection to them just gets spontaneously torn down and takes maybe half a minute to re-establish itself.

It would be worth your while opening a cmd window, then entering
ping -n 999999
The output you should see as a result will look something like this:
Pinging with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from bytes=32 time=48ms TTL=127
Reply from bytes=32 time=44ms TTL=127
Reply from bytes=32 time=42ms TTL=127
Reply from bytes=32 time=41ms TTL=127
Reply from bytes=32 time=40ms TTL=127
Reply from bytes=32 time=48ms TTL=127
Reply from bytes=32 time=47ms TTL=127
Reply from bytes=32 time=40ms TTL=127
Reply from bytes=32 time=40ms TTL=127
and those replies should just keep coming in, regular as clockwork, forever (strictly speaking for 999999 seconds).

Leave that window open (minimize it if you like) while you use your browser. The next time it does its little DNS-related freeze, have a look in the cmd window. If you see something like
Reply from bytes=32 time=48ms TTL=127
Reply from bytes=32 time=42ms TTL=127
Reply from bytes=32 time=44ms TTL=127
Reply from Destination net unreachable.
Reply from Destination net unreachable.
Reply from Destination net unreachable.
Reply from Destination net unreachable.
Reply from Destination net unreachable.
Reply from Destination net unreachable.
Reply from Destination net unreachable.
Reply from Destination net unreachable.
then you can be pretty sure that your problem is not so much specifically DNS-related as a general (if temporary) loss of network connectivity.

If that's indeed what's going on, you can start working outward from your PC to find out where the break is. Open a second cmd window, then enter just
The output you get should include something like this:
Wireless LAN adapter Wireless Network Connection:

   Connection-specific DNS Suffix  . : blah.blah.blah
   Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::d0f1:abda:b1e7:cafe%11
   IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . :
   Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :
   Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . :
Pay attention to your IPV4 Address and Default Gateway numbers, and check those against the "unreachable" messages in your ping window.

If you're seeing "Destination net unreachable" from an address that matches that of your Default Gateway, that means that your PC's wireless connection to your wifi router is still working, but your router has no connection to the wider Internet. That's your cue to try a different router and/or yell at your ISP.

If you're seeing "Destination host unreachable" from an address that matches your IPV4 Address, that means your PC is not able to communicate with your wifi router. Most likely causes for this are poor signal strength (try moving closer to the router), wireless interference (use something like Farproc's Wifi Analyzer app on an Android phone or Apple's Airport Utility on an iPhone, to see what your local radio environment looks like; also make sure nobody's using your microwave oven), a failing wifi router, or failing wifi hardware in your PC.

If you're seeing "General failure", that means your PC can't even attempt to talk to its own wifi adapter any more. This one is unlikely to be what's going on, because this will typically not resolve spontaneously. Post back if it does actually happen.
posted by flabdablet at 11:07 AM on September 11, 2017 [5 favorites]

I had this problem. It comes back every time I reboot my computer. I fix it by disabling then re-enabling my internet connection.
posted by xyzzy at 3:42 PM on September 11, 2017

I fix it by disabling then re-enabling my internet connection

That's a good point. Windows 10 in particular seems to trigger a lot of power control bugs in some wireless card drivers.

Part of this will likely have something to do with that way Windows 10 doesn't really shut down when you do a Windows shutdown; instead, it hibernates the running Windows kernel and then resumes it on startup. There are some wireless cards that react really badly to this, and come back up in a half-initialized state that doesn't work reliably or sometimes even at all.

Disabling and then re-enabling the wireless adapter, rather than merely disconnecting and reconnecting to a given wireless access point, will usually fix this. If it doesn't, then restarting Windows (as opposed to shutting it down, then starting it up) forces a full kernel restart and should bring the wireless card driver up into a stable state.

Yet another workaround for this kind of issue involves disabling wireless interface power saving, which often causes the wireless connection between PC and access point to fail in ways that can take quite a while to detect and re-establish. You do this by finding your way to the property sheet for the interface via whatever maze of twisty little passages Windows has hidden it behind this week, finding the option labelled something like "allow Windows to turn off this device to save power", disabling that, then closing the property sheet and restarting Windows.

If it's this kind of thing responsible for your Chrome DNS misbehaviour, the ping test will show "Destination host unreachable" from an address that matches your IPV4 Address, indicating that the link between PC and wifi router is what's temporarily gone awry.

If you find yourself having to do this annoyingly often, things can often be improved by forcing Windows 10 to actually do a complete shutdown when you ask it to. This will make it take longer to start up, but you shouldn't then need to be restarting it all the time.
posted by flabdablet at 7:12 AM on September 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

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