How to fix curl: (6) Could not resolve host

Let’s face it: errors and disruptions in our digital workflow can be frustrating. But with the right guidance, we can turn these obstacles into learning experiences. One such hitch is the infamous ‘Curl: Could Not Resolve Host’ error in Linux systems. This guide will provide a clear pathway to navigate this issue, meticulously guiding you through each step in a straightforward, easy-to-understand fashion. Let’s get started!

Understanding ‘Curl: Could Not Resolve Host’ Error

The first step in our problem-solving approach is to comprehend the nature of the error we’re tackling. This will equip us with the right mindset and help us understand the impact of the steps we take to resolve it.

The ‘Curl 6: Could Not Resolve Host’ error is essentially a cry for help from your Linux system, signaling it’s having trouble connecting to the network. Specifically, it’s unable to resolve the hostname into an IP address, meaning it can’t send or receive data from the desired server. Now that we understand the issue, we can dive into the resolution methods.

Screenshots showing the command line interface and solutions for fixing curl error 6
These screenshots demonstrate the process of resolving the ‘curl (6) Could not resolve host’ error in a command line interface.

Verifying Network Connectivity

Preparatory Step: Checking Internet Connection

Your first instinct when faced with the ‘Curl 6’ error should be to check the stability of your internet connection. Linux has a straightforward command for this:

ping -c 4

This command will attempt to reach Google’s servers, pinging them four times. If you receive responses, your internet connection is working fine. If the pings fail, the problem could be with your network connection.

Analyzing Ping Output

When the ping is successful, you’ll see an output with the time taken for each packet to reach the server and return. Any significant deviation or irregularities in these times may indicate unstable network conditions, potentially causing the Curl 6 error. If this is the case, check with your network provider or troubleshoot your network settings.

Evaluating Your DNS Resolver

Initial DNS Check

Once you’re certain your internet connection is stable, the next step is to inspect your DNS resolver. This is the service that translates hostnames into IP addresses. You can check its functionality with the ‘dig’ command:


This command queries the DNS associated with If you receive a response, your DNS resolver is functioning well.

Interpreting ‘dig’ Command Response

A successful response from the ‘dig’ command provides several pieces of information, such as the IP address associated with the hostname and the response’s speed. A slow response or the absence of an IP address can indicate issues with your DNS resolver. If you encounter problems at this stage, consider updating your DNS settings or reaching out to your ISP for assistance.

Inspecting Your /etc/hosts File

Accessing the /etc/hosts File

If your network connection and DNS resolver are functioning properly, the next port of call is your /etc/hosts file. This vital file maps hostnames to IP addresses directly, circumventing the need for a DNS lookup. However, misconfigurations in this file can lead to the ‘Curl 6: Could Not Resolve Host’ error.

To view and edit this file, utilize the ‘nano’ command:

sudo nano /etc/hosts

Analyzing and Correcting the /etc/hosts Entries

Once inside the /etc/hosts file, assess it carefully for any incorrect entries. This file generally contains lines mapping IP addresses to hostnames. Each entry should be on its own line, starting with the IP address, followed by a space or tab, then the hostname. Any deviation from this format could cause network-related errors.

If you discover incorrect or obsolete entries, rectify them, and ensure you save the changes before you exit. However, be prudent while editing as inaccurate changes can lead to further network issues.

Setting Up DNS Resolvers: Google and Cloudflare

Why Use External DNS Resolvers?

While your ISP typically provides a default DNS resolver, it may not always be the most reliable or fastest option. External DNS resolvers, like Google DNS and Cloudflare, can often provide better performance and enhanced security.

Configuring Google DNS

Google Public DNS is a popular choice, known for its speed and security. To configure your Linux system to use Google DNS, you’ll need to edit the resolv.conf file:

sudo nano /etc/resolv.conf

Once inside the file, you can add Google’s DNS servers. Remove the existing ‘nameserver’ entries, then add the following lines:


Save and exit the file. You’ve now set up Google DNS on your system.

Configuring Cloudflare DNS

Another excellent choice for an external DNS resolver is Cloudflare. It’s particularly recognized for respecting user privacy. To use Cloudflare’s DNS, you’ll need to go through a similar process:

sudo nano /etc/resolv.conf

Once in the resolv.conf file, remove the existing ‘nameserver’ entries and replace them with:


Remember to save and exit the file. Your system is now using Cloudflare DNS.

Ensuring Changes Persist

Note that in some Linux systems, the DHCP client may overwrite the resolv.conf file on reboot. To prevent this and ensure your DNS settings persist, you might need to make these changes in the DHCP client’s configuration file. Consult your specific Linux distribution’s documentation for precise instructions.

This completes our in-depth look at resolving the ‘Curl 6: Could Not Resolve Host’ error in Linux. By following these carefully crafted steps and understanding the underlying processes, you can efficiently troubleshoot this issue and optimize your Linux system’s networking capabilities.

Conclusion: Your Go-To Guide for Resolving the ‘Curl’ Error

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve thoroughly examined the methods to address and rectify the ‘Curl 6: Could Not Resolve Host’ error, a common networking issue encountered in Linux systems. We began by establishing a basic understanding of the problem, highlighting the importance of identifying whether it’s a network connectivity issue, a DNS resolver problem, or a misconfiguration in the /etc/hosts file.

For every possible scenario, we’ve demonstrated methodical, step-by-step solutions that are both effective and easily understandable. In particular, we delved into how to leverage external DNS resolvers such as Google DNS and Cloudflare to enhance network performance and security.

Our final recommendation is to remain proactive in understanding the networking components of your Linux system. Regular checks of your network connectivity, DNS resolver, and /etc/hosts file can prevent such errors from occurring. Remember, in the digital world, prevention is often more efficient than troubleshooting. As you continue navigating the intricacies of Linux, let this guide serve as a testament to the system’s robustness and your ability to master it.