AT&T internet service has for years been intercepting DNS traffic from its customers under the guise of trying to “assist” you with finding what you’re looking for. This has frustrated many customers and so far seems to be difficult to disable. This article will show you where to go in your AT&T account to attempt to opt-out of this service, however, if you find that it is still happening, I suggest contacting AT&T directly.
How to Know If DNS Error Assist Is Affecting You
AT&T’s DNS Error Assist “feature” goes to work when you try to load a web page that does not have a valid DNS entry available on the internet. This can happen if the domain name is not registered or if the sub-domain you are accessing doesn’t have a valid DNS entry.
In this example below, I typed in “adomainthatdoesnotexistanywhere.com” and this is what came up in my browser:
In most cases for most users, this could be beneficial. For example, if you type in gogle.com and you don’t realize it, DNS Error Assist could come back with search results that would clue you in on what went wrong. You would see in your search results “google.com” and you could click on it to access it.
The flip side of that is an IT person working from home and his VPN connection isn’t working as expected due to DNS hijacking by AT&T. That’s my story, but I think I’m on the right track to getting this fixed.
If you’re being affected by DNS Assist, you’ll see a screen with search results followed by this at the bottom of the page:
Try This to Opt-Out of DNS Error Assist
From the results of one of these DNS Error Assist pages, scroll to the bottom and click on “Opt-Out of this service. (Note: you may not find anything useful here, but obviously this is where AT&T intends for you to start. I started here but it was a dead-end for me…)
This will take you to a login page where you’ll sign in with your AT&T account. From here, search for “DNS Error Assist”…but you may not find anything.
The Best Option So Far
So far, the best thing I’ve found is to not use the “Opt-out” link on the DNS Assist page (pictured above). Just log in to your AT&T account from att.com:
- click your Name -> Update My Profile
- click the Privacy Choices tab
- expand your Internet account
- under DNS Assist, toggle that button Off
- click Save changes
This is as far as I’ve gotten yet. I’ve contacted AT&T chat support as well as their community expert chat. Even after setting DNS Error Assist to “Off” I’m still see DNS hijacking on my end. I’ve tried restarting my modem/gateway through the web interface at 192.168.1.254, and I’ve tried different browsers & devices on my network just to be sure.
If you’ve tried all of this and you’re still getting these DNS Error Assist pages, I would contact AT&T Support and ask them to escalate your request. That’s what I’m doing next, and I will update this post with what I learn.
If you’re experiencing the same thing, leave a comment below with any solutions you have or any questions you still have. Hopefully AT&T will fix this one day.