9 Replies Latest reply: Mar 7, 2012 5:38 AM by fane_j
James Knight3 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

One laptop on our network exhibits strange behaviour occasionally. It will be working fine, then will suddenly lose the ability to access a website or any other server by its domain name.


Using Network Utility to lookup the address, the DNS responds with all the correct information. And in Terminal, nslookup and dig both correctly resolve the domain name to the IP address.


However no other application seems able to use this information. Safari, Mail, Software Update all fail to connect to the requested servers.


Mac OS X 10.6.8, MacBook Pro 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i7


Hope someone can assist





  • X423424X Level 6 Level 6 (14,215 points)

    Try using different DNSs.  Two are OpenDNS (, and Google DNS (,

  • James Knight3 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    It's nice of you to reply. But the existing DNS server (which by the way is on our LAN) is giving the proper answers.


    This only happens with *one* computer on the network, and then only sometimes. But when the computer is exhibiting this problem, dig and nslookup both resolve IP addresses correctly - but apps like Safari and Mail seem unable to use this information.


    The only way I have found of sorting this is to restart the client computer, at which point it works fine.


    Logging out and back in as a different user has no effect.


    Any ideas?





  • James Knight3 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    can anyone help? this happens every time we bring this laptop on to our network. I've deleted the ethernet interface and added it again, tried with different users, but nothing works apart from a restart.


    The DNS resolves IP addresses perfectly, and the IP addresses can be pinged but no URL can be pinged or used in any way.



  • Camelot Level 8 Level 8 (46,450 points)

    Check /etc/hosts


    You can override normal lookups by setting a hostname in /etc/hosts to give it a different IP address.

    Safari (and just about every other application) will use the system resolver to resolve the hostname, and that first checks /etc/hosts to see if an entry exists. If it does, it uses that address rather than whatever DNS would say.

    However, dig specifically queries the name server, so will return whatever DNS says, completely ignoring /etc/hosts and any caches.

  • James Knight3 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Thanks Camelot - that would be fine if this was one IP address I was having problems with. But that's not it. No URLs at all can be accessed - whether hosted locally or on the internet. Both dig and nslookup resolve IP addresses correctly but the URLs do not work.


    From your post, it sounds as thought the system resolver may be at the root of the problem. But I have no idea how I would go about unclogging it?





  • varjak paw Level 10 Level 10 (169,805 points)



    dscacheutil -flushcache


    Hope that helps.

  • James Knight3 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    I have already tried that, sorry I did not mention it in original post

  • James Knight3 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    does anyone have any more ideas on this? The laptop only appears to have this problem on our LAN - it's fine at another office or at home. But no other computers exhibit this behaviour at all. Every time the user plugs on to our LAN, it works at first and then after a period it suddenly gives up resolving domain names. Help please!

  • fane_j Level 4 Level 4 (3,660 points)

    James Knight3 wrote:


    does anyone have any more ideas on this?

    Create a new user account on the same machine and test it. At least it will give you an idea on where to look for the trouble. If Safari and Mail don't display the same issue in the new user account, then the problem must be somewhere in the other account's Home folder.