Unknown Host

What Does Unknown Host Mean?

An unknown host is an error message that generates when a destination computer or host server name cannot be resolved. The message indicates that the user’s provided host server name does not exist or match any Domain Name System (DNS) records.


The unknown host message is common when a user tries to connect to a remote host. The error occurs for a number of reasons, including underlying configuration, server unavailability or incorrect host name.

Techopedia Explains Unknown Host

An unknown host message is generated when a user attempts to ping a host name without a configured DNS resolution. If the ping is unsuccessful, the user should verify that the ping was sent to the correct remote host address. If so, the user should verify DNS name resolution, configuration and Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS) availability.

Commands are often used to deduce the root cause of an issue. For example, the “nslookup” command tests host name resolution and verifies DNS server registration. This command usually follows testing a computer’s Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) host name resolution, where the computer’s Internet Protocol (IP) address is located and verified.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…