How to Fix “DNS Lookup Failed” (And DHCP) Errors on Chromebook

How to Fix “DNS Lookup Failed” (And DHCP) Errors on Chromebook

Are you getting the DNS lookup failed or DHCP errors on your Chromebook?

How about a “resolving host” message that never actually does anything?

This comprehensive tutorial will fix most connectivity problems related to those errors on your Chromebook.

By the end of it, you should be able to have a good understanding of what causes DNS/DHCP errors and how to resolve them.

You can use this page like a dictionary and skip to whatever error you’re having.

Feel free to leave a comment if you’re still having problems and I’ll try to help you out!

Let’s get your Chromebook connected again!

What’s a DNS?

DNS Matrix meme.
Mind = blown.

DNS means “Domain Name System.”

Technical jargon aside, this is basically just another name for how your browser, a server, and the website all interact.

Every site online has an IP address assigned to it.

As humans, we recognize each site by their name (for example, platypusplatypus.com).

But you can also access this site by its IP address (192.124.249.12).

The domain name system basically connects the IP address and the actual website name together.

When you type a website name and hit the Enter key, the DNS will relay the address you typed and translate it into its IP address.

Without DNS, the Internet would be broken!

Where do DNS lookups come from?

A "DNS lookup failed" Chromebook meme.
DNS errors on your Chromebook? No Internet for you!

DNS lookups can come from your local ISP, Google’s Public DNS, and other DNS servers around the world.

Some wireless routers also help with some DNS queries.

And some routers provide a relay lookup feature. This will cache your recent website lookups.

Thus, the router can respond right away for subsequent queries and get you connected faster.

There are many DNS servers globally, but the closer you are to a server, the faster the query will be (less data travel time).

Other users on the same network also get their relay data cached.

Thus, relay queries skip the request to public DNS servers unless the site has never been visited before.

Do DNS queries slow down my system?

DNS failed meme.
“DNS lookup failed” message? This is exactly what happens on your Chromebook. (Not serious.)

The speeds of the DNS lookups definitely have an impact on your overall browsing experience.

Since your browser asks for the IP every time you navigate to a new site, this can slow down how fast a page loads up.

Every set has a primary DNS and a secondary DNS. if the first one fails, it goes to the secondary DNS server for backup.

The secondary server only kicks in after the first DNS server times out, which may take time.

What does it mean when the DNS fails?

DNS meme.
This is accurate.

So you’re trying to go to your favorite site and you get the dreaded error on Chrome:

This webpage is not available

The server at…can’t be found, because the DNS lookup failed.

Why does this happen?

It could be because of many different reasons.

Note that DNS failures aren’t specific to just your Chromebook.

These errors can happen on any OS, such as Windows, Mac, Linux, and even Android and iOS. All browsers can also have a DNS failure, so it’s not only on Chrome OS.

This is typically what happens when your Chromebook won’t connect to WiFi. There’s a problem with your local router or connection.

When you get a DNS failed message, this means that the browser couldn’t request and retrieve the site’s IP.

Every time you visit a website, your browser will ask for the site’s IP in the background without you knowing. If the browser fails to retrieve the site’s IP, this usually means something’s wrong the connection.

How do I fix the DNS error on my Chromebook?

Batman meme.
Don’t let this be you.

When you get a DNS error on your Chromebook, this usually means there’s something wrong related to your local connection.

The chances of the primary and secondary DNS servers failing are very slim (but it can happen).

So most of the time when you get the “DNS failed” error on your device, the problem lies with your Internet connection.

I know what you’re thinking- “It can’t be my connection,” or “I have perfect uptime!”

Believe it or not, DNS failures should be considered from the point of your local system.

Because if both servers did fail externally, what can you do?

Not much. Thankfully, these errors are usually produced by your Internet connection. And that’s good because it means you can fix it!

If you’re getting the DNS failure message, the first thing you’ll want to do is check your WiFi connection to your Chromebook

This is how you can troubleshoot DNS resolution issues on Chrome OS.

Restart your router

Star Wars meme - How to fix the DNS error on Chromebook.
Restarting your router may actually fix the DNS error on your Chromebook.

This is the best fixer-upper ever.

You wouldn’t believe how many WiFi connectivity problems you can resolve just by restarting your router.

So this is exactly what we’ll start with. You may be in doubt, but it could save you hours of headache later.

If you already know how to do it, go ahead and do so.

If not, here’s how to restart your router:

  1. First, disconnect from your WiFi on your Chromebook.
  2. The first step is to completely disconnect from your local network. You can do this by clicking on your profile picture, then going to your network. Disconnect from your network.
  3. Next, power down your Chromebook completely. Be sure to shut it off completely- not put it to sleep/standby mode by closing the lid. You’ll want to do a full shutdown from the menu.
  4. Next up comes the router. All you need to do is literally power it off. Usually, you can just unplug it or hold down the power button until all the status lights turn off.
  5. Leave it off for 3 minutes for good measure.
  6. Then power your router back on. It’ll automatically reconfigure itself (most do).
  7. When all the lights are solid (or whatever they should be to signify that it’s active), try connecting to your WiFi again.
  8. After your router’s ready, it’s time to go ahead and connect back to your WiFi again on your Chromebook.
  9. Turn on your Chromebook and sign in to your account.
  10. Then connect to your local network WiFi. You can do this by clicking your account picture and choosing your network from the list. Connect to your local network.
  11. Then launch Chrome (or your favorite Chrome alternative), and try going to any random site.
  12. If it doesn’t, try another site.

Does the DNS resolve? Does it work?

Other possible root causes

This should fix the DNS error on Chrome for the majority of cases.

If it doesn’t, there may be a few things you’ll want to check out:

Use incognito mode

You can also try using incognito mode and check if the error still shows.

When you launch Chrome using private mode, all your extensions, cookies, and browser cache will be flushed. This means that you’ll rule out all those possibilities.

Just launch incognito mode by pressing “CTRL + SHIFT + N” or by clicking on the menu buttons at the top right, then “New incognito window.”

See if you can browse random sites without the DNS failed message.

Use Guest mode

Guest mode is another possible solution.

To use Guest mode, log out of your current session on your Chromebook by clicking on your account picture.

You can find it on the bottom-right. Then, click on “Sign off” to safely log out.

After you log out, you’ll return to the login page. Click on “Guest” on the bottom bar.

You’ll then log right into your Chromebook using a basic no-name account. You don’t need a password or username to log on using a Guest account.

Check the WiFi connection and make sure you’re connected to your own WiFi hotspot.

Launch the browser and see if you can navigate anywhere online.

If it works, the problem probably lies with a Chrome extension, browser cache, or cookies issue on your main account.

You can log back onto your main account and try the following:

Disable your extensions

Have you downloaded any Chrome extensions that may be pretty shady?

Or perhaps an update broke something?

Extensions can definitely mess with how your browser functions and can possibly cause DNS errors.

To rule them out, all you need to do is disable them all.

After that, check if your browser’s up and running again.

You can temporarily disable all your Chrome extensions by doing the following:

  • Launch Chrome
  • Type “chrome://extensions” and hit Enter
  • Disable each extension
  • Restart Chrome
  • Try to navigate to a random site

If it works, enable your extensions one-by-one until you figure out which one was the culprit.

The one that breaks Chrome is the one you want to remove from Chrome entirely. Or at least wait for an update from the developer.

Many times developers don’t update their extensions and they break over time because they’re no longer compatible with Chrome.

You should never download extensions with bad reviews or ones that haven’t been updated for a long time.

Not that they’re all bad just because they’ve been pending updates- but you should still always read the reviews first.

The more extensions you have, the more privacy you sacrifice and slow down your browsing experience. Only download what you need. Remove all unnecessary ones.

A few minutes of housekeeping can provide you fast browsing forever!

Totally worth!

Are you on a school or work Chromebook?

Some schools and work environments use managed Chromebooks.

They may not be able to connect to external websites that aren’t in their network. You may be blocked by firewalls when you try to access pages that aren’t permitted.

This is something to keep in mind as you’re troubleshooting.

If you bought a Chromebook used and you’re getting these errors, it may have been once enrolled into a network and managed by them.

We’ll cover more about this later and how you can un-enroll your device.

Fix Chromebook connectivity problems – Diagnostic testing!

Chromebook WiFi troubleshooting meme.
You can pinpoint most of your DNS/DHCP errors on your Chromebook by running connectivity tests.

Here are some basic tests you can run on Chrome OS to identify the connectivity problem you’re having and go from there.

Once you find out where the problem lies, it’s much easier to fix.

These tests will help you locate the root cause of the issue you’re having.

Connectivity test

This is pretty useful to see exactly where the issue lies. It tests for your network connectivity and if it can connect to a website.

Here’s the command to launch the connectivity test on your Chromebook:

Run terminal (“CTRL + ALT + T”)

Type “network_diag” and hit Enter.

It’ll attempt to load a website and tell you if it connected properly or not. If it fails, there’s a problem somewhere along the line and you’ll want to find out where. These next two tests will help.

Run a Tracepath

This test will basically show you the entire path your request takes from your device to the webpage you’re trying to access.

Believe it or not, when you make a request for a webpage, it goes through many different servers that act as “backbones” of the Internet!

With this test, you can see exactly where your request goes and how long it spends at each location.

Here’s how to run it:

Launch terminal (“CTRL + ALT + T”)

Type in “tracepath google.com” and hit Enter

You’ll then see a list of your request update in real-time from your home to Google. You’ll get timestamps on the right that show how long the request spends at each gateway before it gets to Google.

If the request timed out or hangs somewhere, there’s a problem with that gateway.

This could be something out of your control.

The point is to confirm that the request actually makes it out of your network in the first place to prove that the issue isn’t your problem.

With this test, you can see if it’s your home network, your ISP, or some other gateway along the route of your request.

You can also try another website (perhaps the one that you’re having trouble with) rather than Google to see if it’s a problem with the site itself.

This will determine if it’s an issue unrelated to your router.

You can post your values in a comment and I’ll check it out if you need help.

Ping test

If all of these don’t work, try launching a command terminal (“CTRL + ALT + T”) and then typing in:

“Ping -c 8 google.com” then hit Enter

See what values it returns. If it connects properly, you’ll see how many packets were dropped and any noise on your network.

Lots of dropped packets is bad. Or if it doesn’t connect at all, then you may have a DNS or local connection problem.

You should see something like:

“64 bytes from (your local network) (IP Address): (icmp_req=1) ttl=xyz”

With these details, you can see if your Chromebook is pinging Google’s servers correctly and note any packet loss. You can also swap “google.com” for some other site.

Do you get timeouts or errors? Does it ping correctly? Post the values you’re getting below as a comment and I’ll help you out.

How to change your Chromebook’s DNS

How to flush DNS on a Chromebook.
Be sure to flush your cache after you make changes!

You can change your DNS settings so you can use Google’s DNS.

You can choose to use a specific DNS pair (custom DNS), or you can use Google’s servers. The choice is yours.

Here’s how to configure your DNS settings:

  • Launch Chrome.
  • Type in “chrome://settings”
  • Scroll down and find “WiFi”
  • Find your WiFi connection and click on it.
  • Then click on “Network”
  • Look at the “Name servers” fields.

This is what you’re currently set up for. You can choose from “Google name servers” or “Custom name servers.”

Choose Google’s DNS servers to use Google’s servers. Or if you choose your own custom DNS, you’ll have to enter the IP addresses of the servers you want to use.

You can use the IP addresses of a closer DNS for faster IP lookups, or you can stick with Google’s DNS if you don’t know what you’re doing.

  • Automatic servers will be the optimal servers for your location
  • Google’s servers will be their default server
  • Custom servers are your own servers you can specify

When you use automatic or custom servers, this can pose problems when there’s an issue with the IP address or the server itself.

You should revert back to Google’s DNS when troubleshooting.

Note that you should probably clear your DNS cache (AKA “flush” the cache) whenever you make changes. Keep reading to learn how.

What’s DNS 8.8.8.8?

This is the default address for Google’s DNS. If you use Google’s DNS, your Chromebook will automatically fill in these IP addresses for you.

  • The primary DNS is 8.8.8.8
  • The secondary DNS is 8.8.4.4

Can I use 8.8 8.8 DNS?

You can use the 8.8.8.8 DNS without any problems.

These are Google’s public servers built to be used by the public.

Your Chromebook can run just fine using Google’s servers or you can use your own custom ones.

For newbies, you should probably just leave it on the Google servers so you don’t break anything- and end up without a connection!

How to flush the DNS settings

Flushing the DNS can be done the same way as above.

Pretty much all you need to do is:

Open your DNS settings (Settings > WiFi > Choose your WiFi > Network).

Then toggle the name servers to Google’s DNS, then save. That’ll reset the DNS settings and flush the cache.

There are other ways to also clear the DNS cache if that method doesn’t work.

Clearing the host cache

This method is straightforward and will clear your host resolver DNS cache.

  • Launch Chrome
  • Type in “chrome://net-internals/#dns”
  • Click on “Clear host cache”
  • Restart Chrome

Use a DNS flusher extension

There’s an extension for that.

You can grab DNS Flusher for Chrome to clear the DNS cache in just a single click.

Then you don’t need to go to the page outlined above every single time. If this is something you do often, it’ll save you a ton of time.

You can grab the extension here.

Clearing the browser cache

This method will clear the browser cache and DNS cache. Note that this will wipe your browsing history, so only do this if you’re sure you want to.

This clears both caches.

  • Launch Chrome.
  • Press “CTRL + H.”
  • Click on “Clear browsing data” on the left
  • Check the box for “Cache” and choose a time setting dating as far back as possible. You should probably choose “All time” to completely wipe your cache.
  • Click “Clear data.”

I’m getting a “DHCP lookup failed” on my Chromebook

How to fix the DHCP failed error on Chromebook.
Fixing the DHCP error can be super easy. Read on!

The first thing you’re probably asking is:

“What is DHCP lookup failed?”

A DHCP failure is different from a DNS failure. They’re two different things, even if they both don’t let you access the Internet.

When you get a DHCP error on your Chromebook, this typically means that an IP address wasn’t assigned to your device. Thus, you can’t connect to the network.

In most cases, this is because of the router or a WiFi extender.

Both of these are common problems as to why Chromebook users get the message on their laptop.

When you encounter this error, you’ll see a message on Chrome that reads the following:

“DHCP Lookup Failed”

If you’re setting this, the first thing I’d try is using a different location or WiFi access point.

Try tapping into any of the following:

  • Your phone’s WiFi hotspot
  • A local area with free WiFi (restaurant, mall, etc.)
  • Your school’s WiFi
  • Your work’s WiFi
  • Or any other WiFi you can connect to

If you have a WiFi extender, try disabling it and connecting directly to your router instead.

See if your Chromebook connects to any other access point. If it does, then the problem is definitely because of your router or WiFI extender.

You may get the error show up intermittently.

Everything may work OK for a few minutes or hours, then only to disconnect with the error again.

How to fix the DHCP error

Fix the "DHCP lookup failed" on Chrome.
Kind of relevant. But fixing the DHCP error isn’t too difficult.

To fix this, you’ll want to adjust your router’s settings to the following:

  • Make sure that you have the latest firmware updates.
  • Enable encryption, set it to WPA2-PSK with AES. Use WPA/WPA2 if you don’t have WPA2-PSK. Never use just WPA by itself.
  • Disable TKIP, WPS, WMM/QoS.
  • Some routers have dual-band technology (both 2.4 and 5GHz). Make sure you have unique SSIDs for each band and try to connect to both. First, try the 2.4GHZ, then try the 5GHz.
  • Don’t use a hidden network (hidden SSID), this can confuse your Chromebook.
  • Verify that the 2.4GHz band setting is on channel 1, 6, or 11.
  • Verify that your router’s firewall isn’t blocking the connection.
  • Disable Bluetooth temporarily (if you have this feature enabled) to see if it’s the culprit.
  • Make these changes and save them.

Then restart the router. If it works, then try to pinpoint where the issue was.

You can toggle each setting back to what it used to be to see which one was the problem.

Be sure that you didn’t leave any setting on the “wrong” setting. Verify that you have a secure connection!

If you try another WiFi access point and your Chromebook still can’t connect, then it’s an issue with your device. I’d suggest contacting the manufacturer and getting it replaced under warranty.

Or better yet, go back to the store where you got it from and return/exchange it. You probably have a dud.

Are you using a school or work Chromebook?

Another reason that you may get the DHCP error is that you’re using a managed school or work Chromebook.

These laptops may be enrolled only to work in specific networks.

So trying to connect them to other networks will fail and give you an error. If you bought a used Chromebook and it was previously enrolled in a managed network, you can try to reset the enrollment status.

Are you traveling?

If you bought your Chromebook in the US and you’re traveling to another country, your laptop may not work correctly.

Since it was manufactured for US routers and networks, you can’t expect it to work globally.

There may be some major compatibility problems between the Chromebook’s receiver and the router’s frequency.

All routers produced for the US market have a range of channels 1 to 11.

Other countries have their own channels. If they don’t have a radio channel between these numbers, you’ll get the DHCP lookup error- and probably many others.

Does your router need an update?

The last reason would be an outdated router.

Not all routers work with Chromebooks.

Just because it works with your other Windows or Mac laptop, smartphone, or tablet, doesn’t guarantee that a Chromebook will work.

If you’ve tried all these steps and your Chromebook still throws the error, try getting the Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics tool.

This is a free extension on the Chrome Web Store that’ll help troubleshoot any connection problem.

Download it then run it and see what it says. You can post your results down in the comments section below and I’ll check it out.

But I’m getting the “DHCP lookup failed” on public WiFi!

Public WiFi meme.
You’re a brave soul.

If you get this error on public WiFi, it’s likely that there’s not much you can do.

The settings would need to be adjusted on the public router, which you probably don’t have access to.

If your Chromebook works on your home network and other public WiFi networks, then the issue is because of this specific public network.

You should just save yourself the time and find another network or use your phone as a hotspot.

Fixing the “Resolving host” error

Public WiFi meme.
Fixing the “resolving host” on Chromebooks is pretty easy. Don’t be afraid!

Sometimes when you’re trying to load a page, you’ll get a “Resolving host…” message at the bottom-left of your screen on Chrome.

This happens when there’s an issue with the DNS settings or a change in ISP.

Sometimes when you make a switch to a different DNS or when you change your ISP, the cache stored in your local browser doesn’t match the new DNS setup.

This can cause delays and give you the “resolving host” message on Chrome.

When you get this error, here are some methods that you can utilize to resolve it:

Make sure you’re connected to the Internet

The first step is to verify that your connection is active.

Check your local network on a different device and see if you can connect.

No point in trying to resolve the connection if your connection is down, right?

Try another site

Try browsing another site and see if you can access it.

If you can, it could be a problem with just that site- like temporary downtime.

Disable any proxies or VPNs

This is the first step.

You’d want to disable any active VPNs or proxies on your Chromebook.

If you’re using an extension or browsing through a proxy, you’ll want to disable them to start troubleshooting.

Disable DNS prefetching

This may be the culprit so it’s worth checking out. You can disable DNS prefetching on Chrome and see if that fixes the problem.

Here’s how:

  • Launch Chrome
  • Type in “chrome://settings” and hit Enter
  • Click on “Advanced”
  • Look for “Privacy and Security”
  • Turn “Use a prediction service to load pages more quickly” OFF

This will then turn off prefetching, which may resolve the problem. See if you can then load up pages without the “resolving host” message.

Change your DNS servers to Google’s Public DNS.

It could be a problem with your local DNS settings. You can try using Google’s or any other public DNS to see if it fixes it.

To change your DNS:

  • Launch Chrome
  • Type in “chrome://settings” and press Enter
  • Go to “WiFi”
  • Click on your network
  • Find “Network”
  • Choose Google’s DNS in the dropdown selector on the right
  • Relaunch Chrome

Try loading up a web page and see if it resolves. If not, you’ll want to clear the DNS cache. Check out the next step.

Clear the DNS cache

After you change your DNS, you have to clear your cache or you can get some connection problems.

You can flush your DNS cache by:

  • Using “chrome://net-internals/#dns”
  • Clearing your browser cache
  • Using an extension

If you’re lost, please refer to the previous section where I cover this in detail.

Did you fix the DNS, DHCP, or “resolving host” errors?

Internet connectivity meme.
Does your Chromebook connect the Internet now?

That’s about all I’ve got.

If you try all these tests and techniques, you’ll probably be able to resolve most of your connectivity problems.

By now, you should be able to get a good grip on fixing DNS failures, resolving host errors, and DHCP lookup failures on your Chromebook!

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be happy to check it out!

Feel free to bookmark this page so you can refer back to it in the future. I’ll be updating it with new problems and solutions as Chrome evolves.

Send it to a fellow Chromie who may benefit from it =]!

Thanks for reading!

About Andy Z.

Andy is a casual-hardcore Chrome OS fan and contributes to the site regularly. He likes computers, tech, sports cars, videogames, and of course, Chromebooks. Thinker. Introvert. Geek. You can find him on Twitter (@platytech), or send him an email (platy@platypusplatypus.com).

What do you think?

avatar