Problems browsing the Web

by Johannes Helmig [Published on 24 June 2000 / Last Updated on 24 June 2000]

You have made a connection to the Internet, everything looks to be ok:

You start your Web-browser, defined the URL of a website,
but you get an error-message:

"Netscape is unable to locate the server",
"the server does not have a DNS entry".

The Microsoft Internet Explorer has a much longer error-message:

"The page cannot be displayed"
but the real error message is at the button of the error-page:
"Cannot find server or DNS Error"

Using the TCP/IP diagnostic tool PING:

results into another error message: "unknown host ......"

It is time to check the TCP/IP configuration of your Internet connection,
using from the Windows RUN-menu: winipcfg
(on Windows NT and Windows2000: open a Command-box and run "IPCONFIG" ) :

Make sure to select the proper
Adapter, which should be for a modem
connection the "PPP Adapter",
then click on the button "More Info >> "
And here is now the explanation
for the error-message:
The is no DNS server defined:
When defining a Website address
(like: ), there is no
DNS server defined, which could
convert the website name to an IP-address.


1) Just hang up and connect again.
(you could have got a "noisy" line causing some data-corruption)
Check on your new connection in WINIPCFG (or IPCONFIG), that you have
now a DNS-server defined
2) Verify the properties of your Dialup- networking connection:

For most providers, it is not necessary to define a Name-Server / DNS-server,
because it will be assigned to you during establishing the Dialup-connection by the
DHCP-server of your Internet Provider (at the same time when you get your temporary
IP-address assigned ).

But at some providers, you need to define manually the IP-address of the Name-Server:

Verify, that these entries are properly defined and match the information received
from your Internet Provider.
3)I had it a few time myself: the settings of my Dialup connection were corrupted.
I created a NEW Dialup-Connection with the same parameters, which then worked fine.
4)If this problem happens several times, it could be a problem at your Internet Provider.
Check if your Dial-up connection uses a script:

If a script is used, make sure that it is NOT displayed minimized by
taking the Checkmark off.
The edit the script-file:

Look for a "waitfor" command (which tells the dialup-connection to wait until
it receives this string), add the below it "delay 5" (which will now cause the
dialup-connection to wait for 5 seconds before continuing, giving you now
sufficient time to view this connection process).
When connection now to your Internet Provider, look at the connection screen:


Usually you will see the identification number of the modem or the system taking
your call, most Internet provider will have SEVERAL modems on the same
phone number to be able to serve more than one incoming call.

Write down this identification number and check each time, when you have
a connection problem with a missing DNS-server, whether it is always the
same number.
If it is always the same number with a problem, then this will also explain,
that on terminating a connection , which had a missing DNS-server, and dialing
IMMEDIATELY again, that you are getting now a good connection, because
it takes a modem at your Internet Provider a few seconds to reset/initialize after
a connection, so you usually get connected to a different modem).

If you have identified such a problem, please contact the Support at your
Internet Provider and describe in detail your findings.
5)I have no more suggestions, please contact the Support at your Internet Provider.

See Also

The Author — Johannes Helmig

Dr.Johannes Helmig is working as Director, Technical Knowledge Management in the Belgium office of Gerber Technology where he is involved in Customer Service and internal training, with special interest in Networking.


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