Connection ok once established; "cannot find server or DNS error" most of the rest of the time

Posted on 2004-08-31
Last Modified: 2013-12-14
Hi Experts,

Can anyone help me diagnose a problem with my DSL? It's from Qwest, and of course their tech support is absolutely useless.

The problem is this: most of the time, I get a "cannot find server or DNS error" from my browser. However, once a connection has been established, I can usually surf just fine. E.g., I can only get into about one time in ten tries. However, once I've got a connection, I can stream music for hours no problem. If I shut everything down, and do try to reconnect, I have just the same problem.

Even while music is streaming, I just get all the same problems with other websites, including

Could anyone give me some clues as to what is going on, and how I might diagnose the problem, given I only access to this ropey connection?

The service used to fine up to week ago. I have reproduced ths behavior on 3 computers.
Question by:metalaureate
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Accepted Solution

rtptucks earned 350 total points
ID: 11950827
ok heres a few things to do

Check to make sure youre itnernet isnt going through a proxy server - control panle >Internet options> connections > proxy

Make sure this is empty, youre ISP might want you to be going through their proxy,

When you experience problems goto start>run>cmd and when the dos panel is up type nslookup
this will do name server lookup to youre dns server then type any domain ur getting problems with, if you recieve an ip address back then youre dns is ok and it might be an Internet explorer problem or if you dont get a reply then the dns wont work ..

If that is the case goto Network connections  > tcp/ip properties > leave the ip address and subnet etc to dynamic but change the DNS to these -

Then try again.

If its an internet explorer problem try this aswell because ive seen it work
this is firefox (mozilla) and ive seen IE not work and firefox work

LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 11951921
This could also be the result of incorrect MTU settings...  Read the article I have written on this from my website:

Look under Broadband Cable and DSL for the Adjust Your MTU Size article..   I think I have explained it fairly well there, as well as tips on troubleshooting this problem..

One thing to remember with DSL..  It is not an Always On situation, whereas Cable is..  


Author Comment

ID: 11952002
NSLOOKUP is always ok, at least, it always returns a bunch of IP addresses. The problem I have obtains to IE, Mozilla, Firefox, Eudora, NS 7.1 etc., on 3 machines, all of which worked fine up until 5 days ago, so not an IE problem.

This has led to a new fact: in 99% of cases I try, it is fine if I access a website via its IP address; when I switch to its domain name, then the problem occurs.
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Author Comment

ID: 11952039
Thanks FE -- I'll look into that, but can it be problem when my connection has been fine for 10 months, and his problem only just started occurring? If MTU size were the problem, wouldn't I have always had this problem?
LVL 40

Assisted Solution

Fatal_Exception earned 150 total points
ID: 11952120
If you can access these sites fine with the IP address, then you are correct..  It is a problem with name resolution...  You might try a different DNS server for the next step..  Any of them would do..

LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 11952132
Heck, for that matter, you could use one of mine...  just for testing..

Expert Comment

ID: 11952164
Yeah as above i did give you 2 DNS servers to change in your network configuration..

Try a differnt DNS and lets take it from there! :)

Author Comment

ID: 11952248
Well, you both rock, all is fine now!

I have some DNS servers I can use; but to be clear, the diagnosis is.. wha? Qwest's default nameservers are a heap of scrap?
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 11952375
Very well could be...   Qwest has gone downhill in my opinion, and it could be their support team maintaining their networks have been outsourced...  :)

rpt..  did not see that you provided those external DNS addresses..  sorry..

and thanks..


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