How to test DNS with nslookup


When working with websites, a lot of the time you will need to have control over your DNS.
DNS makes use of a performance enhancement called caching. This caching is great for regular use, but can be a pain if you need to bypass it.

There is a tool to test DNS that is built-in to both Windows and Mac systems called nslookup
nslookup is incredibly useful to help troubleshoot DNS problems. Here is how you access the tool:

Open up a command prompt
You can open command prompt by typing cmd in the start search box or by holding the Windows key + press 'R', type cmd and enter

Enter nslookup ?

This is the syntax for the command:

nslookup -option query server

-option= what record you want to ask for?
query= what domain are you asking about?
server= what server are you going to ask?

If you leave out the option and server, the default is to ask the default gateway for the A record.

Above is a default nslookup. Notice that the server/address is the default gateway and the answer is the a record

Now that we understand how nslookup works, lets ask a targeted, specific question about a domain:

Above is a specific query about the domain The query is asking "what are the NS (name servers) of". The question is being directed to Google server (

The response back is from the Google server and it's answered that the NS for is and

 If you ever wonder "why can I see the website but my customer can't?" or "why are they seeing the old site?". Do some testing with nslookup and see what other servers are seeing.

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