Getting the internet working properly: what’s happening, and a workaround

*edit* Things seem to be working properly. I’d recommend changing your settings back now.

Wesleyan’s DNS (Domain Name Service) servers seem to have stopped working. Whenever you access a URL, the DNS server is what maps a URL (say, wesleying.org) to the IP address (in Wesleying’s case, 74.126.25.10), which is an address your computer uses to communicate with the server you’re trying to access. (Your computer probably caches URL to IP mappings for sites you use frequently, which is why some things (such as Wesleying for me) are working.) Happily, Google just opened up an alternate DNS service that you should be able to use at least temporarily, and which will make everything work again.

The instructions below are copied from http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/docs/using.html, since you probably can’t access it at the moment. Also, if you want to change back to Wesleyan’s DNS servers when they’re working, you should just be able to delete the preferred DNS server entries and have your computer auto-detect the right ones again. If you need to add Wesleyan’s entries manually for any reason, the IPs are 129.133.6.11 and 129.133.6.10.

Microsoft Windows

DNS settings are specified in the TCP/IP Properties window for the selected network connection.

Example: Changing DNS server settings on Microsoft Windows Vista

  1. Go the Control Panel.
  2. Click Network and Internet, then Network and Sharing Center, then Manage network connections.
  3. Select the connection for which you want to configure Google Public DNS. For example:
    • To change the settings for an Ethernet connection, right-click Local Area Connection, and click Properties.
    • To change the settings for a wireless connection, right-click Wireless Network Connection, and click Properties.

    If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  4. Select the Networking tab. Under This connection uses the following items, click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), and then click Properties.
  5. Click Advanced and select the DNS tab. If there are any DNS server IP addresses listed there, write them down for future reference, and remove them from this window.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Select Use the following DNS server addresses. If there are any IP addresses listed in the Preferred DNS server or Alternate DNS server, write them down for future reference.
  8. Replace those addresses with the IP addresses of the Google DNS servers: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.
  9. Restart the connection you selected in step 3.
  10. Test that your setup is working correctly; see Testing your new settings below.
  11. Repeat the procedure for additional network connections you want to change.

Mac OS X

DNS settings are specified in the Network window.

Example: Changing DNS server settings on Mac OS 10.5

  1. From the Apple menu, click System Preferences, then click Network.
  2. If the lock icon in the lower left-hand corner of the window is locked, click the icon to make changes, and when prompted to authenticate, enter your password.
  3. Select the connection for which you want to configure Google Public DNS. For example:
    • To change the settings for an Ethernet connection, select Built-In Ethernet, and click Advanced.
    • To change the settings for a wireless connection, select Airport, and click Advanced.
  4. Select the DNS tab.
  5. Click + to replace any listed addresses with, or add, the Google IP addresses at the top of the list: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.
  6. Click Apply and OK.
  7. Test that your setup is working correctly; see Testing your new settings below.
  8. Repeat the procedure for additional network connections you want to change.

Linux

In most modern Linux distributions, DNS settings are configured through Network Manager.

Example: Changing DNS server settings on Ubuntu

  1. In the System menu, click Preferences, then click Network Connections.
  2. Select the connection for which you want to configure Google Public DNS. For example:
    • To change the settings for an Ethernet connection, select the Wired tab, then select your network interface in the list. It is usually called eth0.
    • To change the settings for a wireless connection, select the Wireless tab, then select the appropriate wireless network.
  3. Click Edit, and in the window that appears, select the IPv4 Settings tab.
  4. If the selected method is Automatic (DHCP), open the dropdown and select Automatic (DHCP) addresses only instead. If the method is set to something else, do not change it.
  5. In the DNS servers field, enter the Google Public DNS IP addresses, separated by a space: 8.8.8.8  8.8.4.4
  6. Click Apply to save the change. If you are prompted for a password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  7. Test that your setup is working correctly; see Testing your new settings below.
  8. Repeat the procedure for additional network connections you want to change.

If your distribution doesn’t use Network Manager, your DNS settings are specified in /etc/resolv.conf.

33 thoughts on “Getting the internet working properly: what’s happening, and a workaround

  1. Pingback: peer advisor » Blog Archive » Some final thoughts (no pun intended)

  2. anonymous

    Thanks Sam, I appreciate the help.

    Obviously this is happening again, so I tried to follow the instructions above. I changed my wireless DNS settings to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4. However after I do that and then reset my wireless connection (turn it off and then back on again) I only get local access and I can’t even get to this website. Is there something I’m forgettting to do?

    -#6

  3. anonymous

    Thanks Sam, I appreciate the help.

    Obviously this is happening again, so I tried to follow the instructions above. I changed my wireless DNS settings to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4. However after I do that and then reset my wireless connection (turn it off and then back on again) I only get local access and I can’t even get to this website. Is there something I’m forgettting to do?

    -#6

  4. anonymous

    Thanks Sam, I appreciate the help.

    Obviously this is happening again, so I tried to follow the instructions above. I changed my wireless DNS settings to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4. However after I do that and then reset my wireless connection (turn it off and then back on again) I only get local access and I can’t even get to this website. Is there something I’m forgettting to do?

    -#6

  5. anonymous

    Thanks Sam! Obviously it’s happening again. I changed the DNS settings on my wireless to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 but it still won’t work. (As a matter of fact when I do that I can no longer access even this website and it tells me I only have local access.) Have I forgotten to do something?

    -#6 again

  6. anonymous

    Thanks Sam! Obviously it’s happening again. I changed the DNS settings on my wireless to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 but it still won’t work. (As a matter of fact when I do that I can no longer access even this website and it tells me I only have local access.) Have I forgotten to do something?

    -#6 again

  7. anonymous

    Thanks Sam! Obviously it’s happening again. I changed the DNS settings on my wireless to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 but it still won’t work. (As a matter of fact when I do that I can no longer access even this website and it tells me I only have local access.) Have I forgotten to do something?

    -#6 again

  8. hle

    Seriously, what is going on? Not only were the emails from ITS completely unhelpful, but now it’s happening again? Thanks Wesleying, for these directions, but they aren’t working for me, and for others I know. Also, the “Testing your new settings” section is missing from here and directs me instead to a website I can’t access.

  9. hle

    Seriously, what is going on? Not only were the emails from ITS completely unhelpful, but now it’s happening again? Thanks Wesleying, for these directions, but they aren’t working for me, and for others I know. Also, the “Testing your new settings” section is missing from here and directs me instead to a website I can’t access.

  10. hle

    Seriously, what is going on? Not only were the emails from ITS completely unhelpful, but now it’s happening again? Thanks Wesleying, for these directions, but they aren’t working for me, and for others I know. Also, the “Testing your new settings” section is missing from here and directs me instead to a website I can’t access.

  11. Pingback: Internet Down Again – Wesleying

  12. Sam Post author

    6: It hopefully won’t happen again. To check if it’s happening, go to Start -> Run (hotkey: windows+r) and type ‘cmd’ sans quotes. That’ll bring you to a command prompt. Type ‘dnslookup domainname.com’, where domainname.com is the site you’re trying to see if you can reach. You probably want to check a site you don’t visit too frequently, or the IP may be cached. If things are working, it’ll give you an IP address result. If things aren’t, it’ll give you an error message.

    There aren’t many downsides to using Google DNS. One possible one is that all of your domain name requests are going through Google, and some people (me included) don’t much like that idea–Google owns enough of the internet already. You also may end up at some point using an ISP that blocks alternate DNS servers, and if that happens, you’re probably going to be somewhat confused. Google DNS is also a bit slower than using Wesleyan’s.

    7: Reset it if you want. Google DNS works fine here, but there might be an instance where it’s not for some reason or another. The Wesleyan DNS servers are 129.133.6.10 and 129.133.6.11. However, there should be an option for auto-detecting DNS servers, and that’s really want you want if you’re not going to continue to use something like Google DNS/OpenDNS/UltraDNS.

  13. anonymous

    I feel like this is important but it’s mostly going over my head. For all you computer people- is this something that might happen again in the next few weeks? How do I know if a given internet problem can be fixed by doing this? Is there any downside to using these settings? Will I mess something up if I do this wrong and/or forget to change the settings back? I’m embarrassingly inept with computers so I’d appreciate any help

    -Computer idiot with Windows

  14. anonymous

    I feel like this is important but it’s mostly going over my head. For all you computer people- is this something that might happen again in the next few weeks? How do I know if a given internet problem can be fixed by doing this? Is there any downside to using these settings? Will I mess something up if I do this wrong and/or forget to change the settings back? I’m embarrassingly inept with computers so I’d appreciate any help

    -Computer idiot with Windows

  15. anonymous

    I feel like this is important but it’s mostly going over my head. For all you computer people- is this something that might happen again in the next few weeks? How do I know if a given internet problem can be fixed by doing this? Is there any downside to using these settings? Will I mess something up if I do this wrong and/or forget to change the settings back? I’m embarrassingly inept with computers so I’d appreciate any help

    -Computer idiot with Windows

  16. anon

    It’s not working. I’m on os x 10.4 so the preferences panel is a little different, but I think I’m doing everything the way I should. Still no Internet, except for Wesleying.

  17. anon

    It’s not working. I’m on os x 10.4 so the preferences panel is a little different, but I think I’m doing everything the way I should. Still no Internet, except for Wesleying.

  18. anon

    It’s not working. I’m on os x 10.4 so the preferences panel is a little different, but I think I’m doing everything the way I should. Still no Internet, except for Wesleying.

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