Flush Your DNS Cache | If you’re having problems when trying to visit certain sites, flushing your DNS cache might help. Here’s what that means, and how to do it in Windows 10.

When you type a website into your address bar—like tutsfx.com—your computer doesn’t actually know where to go on its own. Instead, it looks that address upon a Domain Name System (DNS) server, which matches it with an IP address for your computer to visit.

However, it can take a long time to scan the phone book before you find the right address. In order to speed this process up, your computer saves some of these entries for easy access later on. To continue with the previous metaphor, it’s like writing down “Tom’s Bistro – 123 Main Street” on a sticky note. This allows your computer to navigate to sites you’ve already visited, without asking the DNS server every time. Unfortunately, on rare occasions, this cache can cause problems.

Maybe the site you’re visiting changed servers and is no longer located at the cached address, or you have some malware that’s trying to redirect common pages to malicious sites. (If you suspect the problem might be malware, you might want to run a scan with one of these tools.) Whatever the case, you can “flush” your DNS cache to start from scratch, so your computer looks up web addresses on the DNS server again.

This process is, of course, different from clearing your web cache from a web browser. If clearing your browser’s cache has not solved the problem, clearing your DNS cache may be the next step. Here’s how to do it on Windows and macOS using the command line. (If you’re using Linux, you’ll need to look up instructions for your particular distribution.)

Flush the DNS Cache on Windows

ipconfig /flushdns

dns flush

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