When you browse the internet, your computer relies on a Domain Name System (DNS) to translate human-friendly domain names like “www.example.com” into machine-readable IP addresses. This translation process is crucial for accessing websites and online services effectively. To speed up this translation and improve browsing efficiency, your computer stores DNS information in temporary storage called the DNS cache.
What is DNS Cache?
The DNS cache is a local database that contains recent DNS lookup results. When you visit a website for the first time, your computer queries a DNS resolver to find the corresponding IP address. The resolver then responds with the IP address, and your computer stores this information in its DNS cache.
The next time you visit the same website or any other domain hosted on the same IP address, your computer can quickly retrieve the information from its local cache. This avoids the need to send a new DNS query, reducing the time it takes to load the website.
Why Clear the DNS Cache?
While the cached information is essential for faster internet browsing, there are situations where clearing it becomes necessary:
- DNS Changes:
When website owners or administrators update their domain’s DNS settings, such as changing hosting providers or modifying DNS records, it takes some time for these changes to propagate across the internet. If your computer’s DNS cache still holds the old DNS information, you may not be able to access the updated version of the website.
- DNS-related Errors:
Sometimes, DNS-related errors can occur, leading to issues like “DNS server not responding” or “DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN.” Clearing the cache can help resolve these errors and allow your computer to fetch fresh DNS information from scratch.
- Security Concerns:
DNS poisoning or spoofing attacks are potential security threats. In these attacks, malicious actors can tamper with the DNS cache, redirecting you to fraudulent websites or intercepting your communications. Clearing the cache can mitigate the risk of falling victim to such attacks.
Clearing the DNS cache can enhance your privacy by removing traces of websites you’ve visited. Although the cache is typically stored locally and not shared with external sources, clearing it can be an added precaution for those concerned about their browsing history.
How to Clear the DNS Cache?
Clearing the cached information is a simple process and can vary slightly depending on your operating system.
Open the Command Prompt as an administrator. You can do this by searching for “cmd” in the Start menu, right-clicking on “Command Prompt,” and selecting “Run as administrator.”
In the Command Prompt window, type the following command and press Enter:
You should see a message confirming that the DNS resolver cache was successfully flushed.
Open the Terminal application. You can find it in the “Utilities” folder within the “Applications” folder or search for it using Spotlight.
In the Terminal window, type the following command and press Enter:
sudo dscacheutil -flushcache
You will need to enter your administrator password to complete the process.
Open a terminal window, and use the following command:
sudo systemd-resolve –flush-caches
Press Enter. You may need to enter your password to complete the process.
Clearing the DNS cache is a quick and easy solution to several browsing-related issues. It ensures that your computer fetches the most up-to-date DNS information, leading to a smoother browsing experience. Whether you encounter DNS errors, need to access updated website content, or wish to enhance your online privacy, clearing the local cache should be a part of your troubleshooting toolkit. Remember to perform this simple maintenance task whenever necessary, and enjoy a faster, safer, and more efficient internet experience.