How to Turn Off (Disable) Cox’s 404 Hijacking/Interception

A few months ago I used Time Warner / Road Runner as my ISP here in San Diego and one day I typed in a web address that didn’t exist. Normally, the internet and my browser work well together by simply giving me some kind of error page. On that fatal day, instead, my browser redirected me to some crappy hijacked ad-filled interception page.

I did find a way to fix it, and shared that information with you. You were thankful, so I’m happy to share some more info, but this time from Cox.

When we came back from France, we moved to downtown San Diego and of course the first thing I did was get internet. It’s my life-blood. So, we got Cox cable this time because that’s who serves our area.

Today, I ran into the same issue that we saw before. Cox did what’s called a DNS hijack. They say they do this because it’s better for their customers to find what they are looking for (which they really aren’t), but if they were honest and transparent they’d really tell us it’s a way to make a few more bucks. All the “search results” are just sponsored ads from one of the major ad networks. And, as I’m not really opposed to them trying to make extra money, it doesn’t provide value to the end consumer, so it’s pretty slimy. Oh, and it breaks the way the internet was supposed to work.

Now, all that to say, Cox does still give us a DNS setting that we can use to get back to normal. Straight from their support website, here’s how you can “fix” the problem:

How to Turn off Cox’s 404 (DNS) Hijacking

From the Start menu, click Control Panel.

In Category View, click Network and Internet Connections.

Click Network Connections.

From the Network Connections window, right-click Local Area Connection and select Properties.

From the General tab, select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), then click Properties.

  1. From the General tab, click Use the following DNS server addresses.
  2. Enter the following Preferred and Alternate DNS Server Addresses in order:
  3. Click OK.

Click Close to close the Local Area Connection Properties window.

All steps complete.

Nate Ritter lives in Austin, Texas (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

32 Comments on "How to Turn Off (Disable) Cox’s 404 Hijacking/Interception"

  1. Nate, are those Cox’s alternate DNS servers? Or they they something like OpenDNS?

  2. nate says:

    These are Cox’s alternate DNS servers. Open DNS is completely different.

  3. Thanks! I just wanted to make sure.

    I would’ve verified it myself but you didn’t link to Cox’s support website and I’m too lazy to look for it! :)

  4. Chris says:

    I’ve been using OpenDNS ( for almost three years without any problems. Great DNS service without the local provider agenda.

  5. cre8tivegeek says:

    Thanks, guys!

  6. Scott Cate says:

    I did a video blog on this same subject. If anyone wants to see it.

  7. Jason says:

    The new alternate DNS address works perfect. Thank you for this. I discovered today that cox hijacked my DNS and was very upset. Is it possible to provide the source to those alternate addresses?

  8. nate says:

    Hey Jason, sorry for the delayed response… but I’m not sure what you mean by the “source to those alternate addresses”. They are Cox’s alternate addresses.

    I do like Chris’s idea of using OpenDNS instead though, because you can set that on your computer and never worry about the ISP you’re on.

  9. Erik says:

    You can also set up your wireless router to do the same so you won’t have to configure every PC in the house. Google also has public DNS servers at:

    Works for me when I was getting the Cox hijacking…

  10. Nikki says:

    Thank you so much. Cox Cable was being a jerk and wouldn’t help me disable the DNS. I needed this to work remotely. This worked perfectly.

  11. Ryan says:

    Thanks, Nate! After being forwarded to Cox’s useless suggested links one too many times, I found your page, updated my router’s DNS settings, and am now admiring Chrome’s nice, simple Error 105 message.

  12. Brandon says:
    worked to rid me of the awful Cox browser hijacking.

  13. Synnamin says:

    I have no idea who you are, but I think I’m in love with you ;)

    I just moved to San Diego and could not figure out what the heck the problem was with my laptop all of a sudden. It’s been driving me absolutely batty. Thank you sooooooo much!!

  14. raserdemon says:

    works like a charm, thanks alot

    btw, these are not region specific, i was worried because you said you lived in CA, but they work fine here in VA too

  15. Nikii says:

    Just followed the steps you provided and it worked like a charm. Thanks so much, Nate!

  16. Suzanne says:

    Nate! I cannot thank you enough for this information. I could not locate it at the Cox support site, and I learned the hard way that you don’t call or email Cox about it. They say it is a problem with IE or Firefox. I’m not illiterate. I can read, even though it has to appear on a braille display.

  17. BXC says:

    Great post. I always wondered why cox did this. Just annoying but I got used to it but today I said to myself why and how to fix. lol

  18. jsblume says:

    Thank you!

  19. Clift says:

    Thanks! Why do cable providers think it’s so important to steal into our private lives and give us something we hate, thus engendering further consternation, when they could instead engender respect and admiration. “Hi there sir, and thank you for ordering a hot dog. I know you asked for a hot dog. Here is a bagel instead. You don’t want the bagel, and I’m sure you’ll be delighted to learn, that every time you ask for a hot dog, you will get a bagel, unless you perform excruciatingly annoying steps to force me to give you what you ask for. It’s my policy to give you bagels when you ask for hot dogs. I’m sure this policy of mine will endear me to you in all your estimation. Am I on your Christmas Card list yet?” Yeeesh!

  20. GF-REX says:

    Very nice. I always hated their custom 404 page. It looks too much like those sites you get by misspelling popular website URLs. At first thats what I thought it was. lol.

    Thanks for the fix, now I can have the Internet back the way its supposed to be.

  21. Raghav says:

    Thanks Nate. Worked for me. My company KB also had the same information.


  22. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for the info, now if only I could get updated dns on sites I see in the whois are live, but on Cox I’m waiting 24 hours for their dns cache to update. Any way to change that?

  23. John says:

    I have windows 7 and cox cable/internet. When I log into my cox email account it then show a screen if I have messages. When I click on to see my messages I am redirected to another page to pick my location, then to another page to relogin. This is SOOO annoying. I tried changing the DNS to / and it still does not fix this..

    Any help would be grately appreciated please….I am ready to find a different source to deal with my email….Thanks for all help and insight on my behalf…John

  24. LKB says:

    OMG THANK YOU! Cox has been driving me insane! Just a note: I kept trying to change the TCP/IPv6 not realizing it is v4 so for internet dummies like me, just wanted to share.

  25. Tom says:

    I used the Google DNS and on my wireless router as suggested in a previous comment by Erik and it works like a charm.

    Not that it matters but I’m in San Diego and my wife and I are both on MacBook Pros.

    Great thread, and thanks to the author and commenters. PEACE!

  26. velentyne says:

    Direction ex. clear and orderly Thanks Have not tried them yet, but will within a few hours

  27. deven says:

    I would go with Chris’s suggestion of using OpenDNS server’s. If you set it to Google’s DNS server’s Google will be data mining all you DNS queries.

    I would also make sure you set the DNS static at your Firewall/Router not at the computer. By doing that all your devices in your home and your office will go to the router first and the router will query OpenDNS’s servers. Any new devices added to the network will also route DNS queries to OpenDNS’s servers.


    Use the first two in that order, the rest if your router provides additional DNS entries.

  28. Suzanne says:

    I did this at one time, and then went to visit at someones house who uses ATT and I could not get an internet connection, so I’m thinking that likely if you do this, if you then venture out of the Cox network you may have issues getting a connections, am I right on this?

  29. Sharon says:

    THANK YOU for this info! Saved my day!

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