How to resolve "Temporary failure in name resolution" issue

I rebooted my server (Ubuntu 16.04 w/ LAMP) about ~14 hours ago. Since then, I can’t run apt-get or ping, and I’m seeing a lot of “Temporary failure in name resolution” errors in my syslog.

Here’s the output when I run apt-get:

Err:1 xenial-security InRelease
  Temporary failure resolving ''
Err:2 stable InRelease
  Temporary failure resolving ''
Err:3 xenial InRelease
  Temporary failure resolving ''
Err:4 xenial-updates InRelease
  Temporary failure resolving ''
Err:5 xenial-backports InRelease
  Temporary failure resolving ''
Err:6 main InRelease
  Could not resolve host:
Reading package lists... Done
W: Failed to fetch  Temporary failure resolving ''
W: Failed to fetch  Temporary failure resolving ''
W: Failed to fetch  Temporary failure resolving ''
W: Failed to fetch  Temporary failure resolving ''
W: Failed to fetch  Could not resolve host:
W: Failed to fetch  Temporary failure resolving ''
W: Some index files failed to download. They have been ignored, or old ones used instead.

I suspect it’s a DNS issue, but I’m not sure how to resolve. What should I look for?

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Accepted Answer

I have this issue too. I suspect there is an issue with DigitalOcean’s nameservers, so this will likely affect a lot of other people too. Here’s what I’ve done to temporarily get around it - but someone else might be able to advise on a better long-term fix:

  1. Make sure your DNS Resolver config file is writable: sudo chmod o+r /etc/resolv.conf

  2. Temporarily change your DNS to use Google’s nameservers instead of DigitalOcean’s: sudo nano /etc/resolv.conf

Change the IP address in the file to:

Press CTRL+X to save the file.

This is only a temporary fix as this file is automatically written/updated by the server, however I’ve not yet worked out what writes to it so that I can update it permanently.

Bobby Iliev
Site Moderator
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February 5, 2021


Just came across this question in 2021. As the /etc/resove.conf is managed by systemd-resolved, it should not be edited directly.

You can do that by updating the /etc/systemd/resolved.conf file instead, and under the [Resolve] section set:


After that restart systemd-resolved:

systemctl status systemd-resolved

Finally to make sure that the change was successful check the status:

systemd-resolve --status

Hope that this helps. Regards, Bobby

My issue was related to a wrong datetime. After executing rdate -uns ist was solved.

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