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If you’re tweaking the DNS settings on a Mac and the changes seemingly didn’t take effect, or you might find that a particular name server address isn’t resolving as intended, flushing the DNS cache is often a quick fix. Flushing the DNS cache in OS X El Capitan (10.11 or higher) is easily possible by going to the command line, but if you have been using Mac OS X for a while, you will find that the syntax is again different from some previous versions from Mac OS. This is because Apple re-adopted mDNSResponder after temporarily ditching it for discovery, so the dscacheutil command will likely be familiar to some Mac users.
Flush DNS cache in OS X 10.11+
This method of clearing the DNS cache applies to all Macs with versions of OS X El Capitan, with version 10.11 or later:
- Open the Terminal application, found in / Applications / Utilities / or with Spotlight
- At the command prompt, enter the following syntax and press Return:
- Enter the admin password when prompted (required by sudo) to perform DNS cache clearing
- If you hear ‘DNS Cache flushed’, you know the command succeeded *
sudo dscacheutil -flushcache; sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder; say DNS cache flushed
That’s it, the DNS cache will be flushed. You will likely want to quit and restart apps that use DNS, such as a web browser, to transfer changes to apps connected to the Internet.
Clearing local DNS caches is often required by web developers, network administrators, performing precise detailed searches with the host, and anyone editing the hosts file or modifying domain name settings for faster servers or other purposes.
If you plan to clear DNS caches often, a simple alias in your correct .profile can be useful for quick future reference:
alias flushdns = “dscacheutil -flushcache; sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder; say flushed”
Users can also cut out the saying portion and split the command into several parts, although a single liner is often the easiest way to go.
sudo dscacheutil -flushcache
Then separately initiate the mDNSResponder killall command:
sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
If you follow this route, you will not receive auditory feedback that the assignments were successful.
This applies to the latest versions of OS X, while those using earlier versions of Yosemite can find clues to the same effect with a different command string here, as can users of older Mac OS X releases such as Mavericks and Snow Leopard, or even the dusty versions of Tiger, Panther and Jaguar out there. On the mobile side of things, iPhone and iPad users can quickly clear DNS cache in iOS with a simple one trick to.
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