How to fix your internet connection when you think you are connected, but you can’t get anywhere

Photo by familymwr

“Could not connect to www.google.com” message greets you, or something like it. One of the most common internet connection errors is a broken DNS. DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is a system that creates the mapping from names we know, like www.google.com, to names that computers know like 74.125.224.177. Google would not have gotten so popular if you had to type 74.125.224.177 to get to it, now would it.

But go ahead and test it. At the time of my writing this blog post, 74.125.224.177 took you to www.google.com. However, since Google can change things, and everybody types www.google.com instead, 74.125.224.177 may not work in the future. It is part of the beauty of the DNS. A name address that always works. While the IP address 74,125,224,177 can change or be used for something different.

Except when it doesn’t. Comcast provides my internet access, so I’ll pick on them. However, this is a problem for many internet providers, not just Comcast. Still, a search on Google for “Comcast DNS Outage” returns 37,400 hits. Here is one headline:

The story details show us that the outage was really a DNS outage. If you knew all the numbered addresses for the websites you visit, then the internet would still work for you.

So, that is what this blog post is here for. It is to tell you that you can use another DNS to provide those names. Since when your internet DNS is down, you won’t be able to find these instructions, you should change DNS now. Before there is a problem. But if you don’t get around to it, remember these numbers: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.

8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 are the numerical addresses for Googles DNS service. As long as Google doesn’t go down, then using Google DNS would make your internet work again even when Comcast fails as it did in the above report.

For instructions on setting this up, go to Google DNS.

On an iPad, iPhone, or iTouch:

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Wi-Fi on the left-hand side
  • Tap the blue arrow next to your current Wi-Fi network
  • Tap the “DNS” field and enter the following: 8.8.8.8, 8.8.4.4
  • Exit Settings

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