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DNS error knocks BT offline

BT engineer

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 30 Jun 2014 at 09:48

An apparent DNS server fault meant BT users couldn't connect to many websites for several hours on Saturday.

BT hasn't admitted the cause of the problem, but reports from users point the finger at its Domain Name System (DNS) servers, which translates web addresses to IP addresses.

BT hasn't said how many people were affected, but the fault appears to have affected most of its Infinity fibre network and lasted for several hours.

While BT hasn't said the problem was DNS related, many affected users reported being able to solve the problem by flipping to Google's public DNS or OpenDNS.

However, anyone on BT's Home Hub routers is out of luck, as it doesn't allow you to change your DNS settings.

“We can confirm some customers had issues connecting to the internet on Saturday morning," BT said. "The issue was fixed within a couple of hours and we apologise for any inconvenience caused."

BT advised users to reboot their routers if they were still having problems connecting.

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User comments


However, anyone on BT's Home Hub 3 router was out of luck, as it doesn't allow you to change your DNS settings."

Isn't that the case with all Home Hubs, including the most recent (5)?

By valeofyork on 30 Jun 2014

That does indeed appear to be the case. Thanks for pointing it out.

By Nicole_Kobie on 30 Jun 2014

Manual DNS

In Windows/Linux/OS X you can get DHCP settings for everything else, but still manually enter a DNS server of your own choosing.

By big_D on 30 Jun 2014


Yes, I did try that on Saturday (I am with BT and was affected by the problem) - I used the OpenDNS addresses. Still wouldn't work though. I also tried giving the computer a static IP, etc, but that wouldn't work either. Couldn't see any obvious reason, and couldn't really be bothered to look into it further - I do this sort of thing at work and have better things to do at the weekend! I had worked out that it was a problem with BTs DNS servers and guessed it would be fixed later, and sure enough it was.

By valeofyork on 30 Jun 2014

Changing DNS in Windows is easy enough

After I had rebooted my router and established the problem was BT, I changed my Windows DNS from "Auto" to and (Google) and problem solved.

I was just a bit surprised BT didn't have better fall-back options in place.

The lack of reconfigurability in the home-hub exposes a gaping hole in their "daddy knows best" policy on hardware setup.

By cheysuli on 30 Jun 2014

For some reason Google DNS didn't work for me (but then I couldn't reboot).

I guessed it was BT's DNS after some experimenting, although it was frustrating since I did check when I could their service status before messing around with my network.

By tech3475 on 30 Jun 2014

BT's DNS is locked down because...

They violate DNS standards and use DNS redirects... via Barefruit (I presume Barefruit pay for them to do it). It's a secondary "service" they offer which you must opt-out (last time I checked) to prevent. It caused great issues with split-tunnelling VPNs for my mobile clients (until I forced interface priorities etc).

By JmLing on 30 Jun 2014


Thanks for that - I've been thinking about replacing the homehub / VDSL modem with something better for a while, and that's another good reason to do it!

Can anyone recommend a decent router with an integrated VDSL-capable modem?

By valeofyork on 30 Jun 2014


Thanks, just found out how to disable it:

Select disable and save, if you ever want it back you can just use the above link.

By tech3475 on 30 Jun 2014


Don't know about integrated, but if you have a separate VDSL modem then most cable routers should work so long as they support PPPOE (if it's the white VDSL modem it is ONLY a modem and not some sought of router, etc. AFAIK. If this is why you want to get rid of it).

Use username:
Password: (anything)

However, if you use BT vision or Youview and BT Sports or other similar streamed channels make sure the router supports IGMP multicast because otherwise it wont work.

I know the Asus RT-N66U and TP-Link AC1750 does work with a Youview Box and BT Sports.

By tech3475 on 30 Jun 2014

I noticed that on Saturday and have a home hub 4. it is possible to change the DNS servers used on the PC as I did to Google DNS. This overrides the setting given to the PC by the router and fixed the DNS failures.

By mr_chips on 30 Jun 2014

It's at time like this that problems with Cloud computing come to light. I use BT Infinity and keep all my passwords (very long and encrypted)in the Cloud. Yes, you've guessed it, the sites I could actually reach on Saturday were the ones that needed a password and I couldn't access them. So, do I keep a copy of my passwords on my PC or do I write them down in a little book hidden away somewhere (probably never to be found again)?

By jazomir on 2 Jul 2014


I still get dns fault with bt I have tried google dns but still getting fault is there a better server provider? any help would great thanks

By 001rex on 21 Oct 2014

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