4 Ways to Fix Fastly Error: Unknown Domain

Here’s how to fix Fastly Error: Unknown Domain: In the majority of cases, you will get this message when you are using a VPN to connect to any of these sites. 

They often use technology to block access that involves a VPN. So, you can either switch your VPN server or disable the VPN altogether to get around the block, and the error will be resolved.

So if you want to learn all about how to fix Fastly Error: Unknown Domain, then this article is for you. Keep reading!

What Does Fastly Error: Unknown Domain Mean?

“Fastly Error: Unknown Domain” is an error message that shows up with web servers. 

The error is saying that the IP address doesn’t match the domain name. 

So, the server can’t actually figure out where to send information for a connection. That explanation involves a lot of technical terms.  So, I’ll take you through each of them to illuminate what is really happening here. 

Then, I’ll show you what is triggering the error and how you can fix it. More often than not, this is tied to a VPN. 

So, if you’re familiar with the terminology and are using a VPN, you can skip down to the ways to fix the error.

IP address

What Is an IP Address?

The first thing we need to cover here is IP addresses. It stands for internet protocol address, and it’s actually a lot like a physical address. 

When you try to mail or ship something, you need a physical address that tells the couriers where to take the package. 

Addresses are basically mapped out, so you know exactly where someone or something is based on that address.

IP addresses work in much the same way, but they are specifically for online connections.  Ultimately, IP addresses can get pretty complicated, but what you need to know in regards to this error message is pretty simple. 

The IP address is what tells the web server where to send information so you can load a website. And, to make sure everything is clear, a webserver is the physical computer that makes a website work.

So, when you try to watch Netflix, for instance, your device connects to a Netflix webserver. 

In order to connect, your device needs to know the IP address for the server, and the server needs the IP address for your device. 

Otherwise, they can’t find each other, and the communication fails (resulting in this or a similar error message).

What Is a Domain Name?

Here’s the thing, though. IP addresses are complicated, and you don’t ever really use them when you surf the web. 

Instead, you type words into a bar, and it seems to make everything work. 

That involves a DNS, and it’s an important part of this equation. If you go to Netflix.com, you don’t type in any IP address. You don’t even need to know what an IP address is. 

Instead, you can type in “netflix.com,” and it will take you where you want to go.

That’s because your device connects to a domain name server (DNS) in order to make all of this easier. IP addresses are obscure combinations of letters and numbers and punctuation. They’re hard to remember. 

But, Netflix.com is simple and easy to remember. Because of that, the internet is built around the concept of domain names. 

In this case, Netflix.com is the domain name. It’s the part that is easy to remember, but your computer (or other device) doesn’t really use domain names. 

Instead, you put in the domain name, and then your device connects to a DNS. 

This server has a complete directory of domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. 

So, it translates the domain into an IP, and then it can help your device connect accordingly.

Why Does Fastly Error: Unknown Domain Show Up?

We’re making progress. Earlier, I said that the error message happens because the IP address doesn’t match the domain name. 

So, when your device connects to the DNS, it looks things up in the directory, and something goes wrong. 

Either your device or the Netflix server can’t find the right IP address, so the connection fails. So, why would a domain name fail to match the correct IP address? 

What’s messing with the directory? While there are a lot of possibilities, the most common answer is the use of a VPN.  I’ll explain what VPNs really are in the next section. 

But, if you use a VPN, it can create connections that bypass or interfere with DNS connections, and this can lead to the error message in question.

This might still sound complicated, but when we get through a few more concepts, it’ll seem a lot simpler and easier to resolve.

How Do VPNs Get Around DNS?

First of all, what is a VPN? It stands for virtual private network, and it’s a way for you to hide who you are on the internet. 

Ultimately, VPNs offer quite a bit more than anonymity, but the part that matters for this error message is how VPNs work to protect your identity.

A VPN essentially works as an intermediary for managing web traffic. 

Your device connects to a VPN server. Then, that server connects to any website that you want to access. So, the webserver (let’s keep using Netflix as an example) is really communicating with the VPN server. 

The VPN server then forwards data to your device.

With this middleman in place, the Netflix server never learns your actual IP address. Instead, it gets an IP address for the VPN server.Normally, that all works just fine. But, there are two ways this can lead to a problem.

The first is uncommon, but it’s not impossible. The use of a VPN server can confuse the DNS, and then Netflix has trouble figuring out where to send data, so the connection fails. More likely, Netflix (or any other website) is actively trying to block access that utilizes a VPN.

One reason to use a VPN with a site like Netflix is that it allows you to access content that is usually locked to a certain region. 

So, if you are in the U.S. and want to watch content that is only available in the UK, you can connect to a VPN server that is located in the UK. 

When you do, Netflix will think that you are in the UK, and it will let you see that region-specific content.

The thing is, a lot of region locking exists because of legal restrictions and content. Each country gets to set its own rules on what can legally be broadcast. More importantly, licensing agreements often stipulate where a video can be shown. 

So, if Netflix has the right to broadcast the latest blockbuster movie, they might only be allowed to show it in certain countries, and that’s all spelled out in the contract they signed with whoever owns the movie.

It can get pretty complicated, but here’s the bottom line. Netflix is bound by contracts to limit some content by region. 

When you use a VPN to get around that, you’re essentially forcing Netflix to violate that contract. So, Netflix can implement software features that block VPNs.

To keep it simple, Netflix might block any access to their site that comes from known VPN IP addresses. 

If they do, then you will get this error message.Also, I want to remind you that Netflix is just an example. 

Any website can do this, and this kind of behavior is likely with any mainstream streaming service.

How Do You Fix Fastly Error: Unknown Domain? (4 Ways)

Ok, at this point, you have a basic understanding of what the fastly error involves and why it happens. Let’s talk about solutions. 

Since this happens mostly because of VPN blocking, I’ll show you how to deal with that first.

But, VPNs can cause this error even when they aren’t being blocked. On top of that, you can run into DNS errors that have nothing to do with a VPN. 

I’ll cover all of it in four simple ideas.

#1 Change VPN Servers

The easiest thing to try is switching VPN servers (your VPN service provider should be able to explain how to do this). 

Regardless of whether this is an accidental error or deliberate VPN blocking, connecting with a different VPN server changes your effective IP address in this equation. 

So, it gives the whole system another chance to establish a good connection.

And, if the site is blocking your VPN on purpose, then it can only really do that for VPN servers that it already knows about. You can switch servers a few times, and you might find an IP address that gets through.

#2 Disable Your VPN

Man disabling VPN on his laptop.

Sometimes, switching VPN servers won’t do the trick. 

Sites that are interested in blocking VPNs are getting proactive, so they might successfully block every available server for mainstream VPN providers. This can make it tricky to overcome the blocks.

But, you can always try disabling your VPN. 

This will prevent you from getting around regional content restrictions, but you should be able to connect to the site in general. 

So, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, this can be a simple solution. If the VPN is the source of the fastly error, then disabling the VPN should resolve the situation.

#3 Change Your DNS

It’s a lot less common, but this error can show up even when you don’t have a VPN enabled. 

In that case, you’re not the victim of VPN blocking. This is a genuine, unintended error. Not to worry, there is an easy solution that you can try. 

Ultimately, the problem stems from the domain name not matching the IP address. So, you can try using a different DNS.

While DNSs are usually reliable, they, like anything, can run into problems. There are a number of free DNSs that you can use, and swapping around among them can often resolve this situation.

This is getting long, so instead of giving you the steps to change DNS here, you can follow this link for instructions.

#4 Contact Tech Support

Technical support representatives at their workstations.

If none of the other methods work, then you have a more obscure problem. 

Your best bet is to partner with tech support to find an exact solution. If only one site is giving you this error, then try contacting their tech support (you might need to use a different device to do so). 

If many sites have the problem, then you should start with your internet service provider. It’s more likely a system issue related to them.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

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