How to change DNS server: Reconfiguring DNS entries

“Visit us online at 93.184.216.34” – although this invitation may appear strange to us, it impressively demonstrates the value of Domain Name System (DNS) name resolution. While users would probably struggle to remember IP addresses in this form – severely limiting the amount of online visitors to the site – this is not at all the case for the domain counterpart – www.example.org.

DNS servers mean that you don’t have to memorise complex series of numbers to access your local restaurant’s website in your browser, for example, and can confidently be considered among the most important pillars of the internet. Despite the fact that they make browsing online a lot easier, they can also cause delays in website loading times– especially if an unsuitable DNS server is being used.

Why changing DNS server can be worthwhile

When connecting to the internet via a router, you automatically obtain not only the IP address but also the DNS server settings. And generally, that’s a good thing. As a user, this means you don’t need to deal with configuring your own address and ensuring name resolution yourself. Simply connect the devices you wish to use to the router; protocols like DHCP will then handle the allocation of the information you need in order to connect.

Typical DNS connection points are the name servers of the various internet providers, which are generally a good choice. Since the providers are interested in delivering the best possible service, they usually also provide the required capacity to respond to incoming DNS queries quickly and reliably. However, changing the standard DNS server may be necessary or advisable for the following three reasons:

  • Speed: Another DNS server may offer a speed advantage in name resolution, resulting in faster loading times and a better ping in online games. Here, many users prefer OpenDNS name servers as well as Google’s public DNS servers, which are considered particularly fast. Tools like namebench help you to find the quickest DNS server for you.
  • Availability: The DNS server may not be available, which stops name resolution in its tracks and prevents websites from loading. This is usually due to a temporary problem that can be solved straight away by changing DNS servers, without having to wait for a solution from the provider.
  • DNS blocking: The DNS filter list of the provider’s name server may contain domains you wish to access. In this case, name resolution will not be performed and you will be denied access to these websites. By changing the DNS settings and selecting a server that doesn’t include the domain in a blacklist, you can open the relevant website as desired.

How to change DNS server: A guide for Windows, macOS, and other platforms

If you’d like to change the DNS server on your device for one of the above reasons – or just to see how it works – you can easily do this yourself via the system’s network settings. The necessary steps here may vary, of course. For instance, DNS server changes are performed differently in Windows than on a Mac or Android device. So, here’s a brief guide for changing DNS servers on various platforms such as Windows 10, macOS, Linux (Ubuntu) or iOS. As examples, it contains the addresses of Google DNS servers as the new server addresses (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4).

Note

The guide explains how you can change the DNS server for IPv4, since the traditional protocol version still offers broader support than the successor IPv6. However, Google DNS servers can already be reached via the addresses 2001:4860:4860::8888 and 2001:4860:4860::8844. If you wish, you can also therefore change DNS server on the newer internet protocol version.

Changing DNS server on Windows 10 – how it works

As a Windows 10 user, you can change the DNS server in the “Network Connections” menu. To open this menu, right-click on the Windows logo and then click on the menu item with the same name.

You will now see a list of established connections. Right-click the connection for the DNS server change to select it. If you’re using a desktop PC, you’ll probably have a connection that’s set up via network cable. In this case, choose “Ethernet”. If the device is connected to the internet by Wi-Fi, select “Wi-Fi,” then click on “Properties” in the menu that appears.

Double click on the menu item “Internet protocol, version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and activate the option “Use the following DSN server addresses.” Now enter the addresses for both Google servers (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4).

To confirm the DNS server changes in Windows 10, click on the “OK” button.

Note

Alternatively, you can change the DNS server settings in Windows 10 using the command line. Simply enter the following commands:

netsh interface ip add dns name="connection name" addr=8.8.8.8 index=1

netsh interface ip add dns name="connection name" addr=8.8.4.4 index=2

Instead of the placeholder “connection name,” use the corresponding name of the LAN or WLAN connection.

How to change DNS server in Windows 8

Windows 8 users should first navigate to the Network and Sharing Center. This can be opened either via the control panel (“Start Menu” -> “Control Panel”) or via the network connection symbol in the task bar’s notifications panel. Once you’ve found the icon, click on it with the right mouse button and select the option “Open Network and Sharing Center.”

Open the adapter settings by clicking on the appropriate button.

Now right click on the connection you want to configure and select “Properties” in the menu that then appears. After that, double-click on “Internet protocol version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and you will open the menu for changing the DNS server in Windows 8, where you can enter the above addresses for the public Google DNS servers (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4).

How to change DNS server in Windows 7

In order to change DNS server in Windows 7, first open the Network and Sharing Center – either via the control panel, where you’ll find a corresponding menu item, or by right-clicking on the network connection symbol in the notifications panel on the task bar (also known as the system tray) and then clicking “Open Network and Sharing Center.

In the next menu, select the option “Change adapter settings” and then choose the connection with the DNS settings you wish to change.

You can open the protocol and service overview for the selected connection by right-clicking and going to “Properties”. Look for the entry “Internet protocol version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and double-click to bring up the menu for changing the DNS server in Windows 7.

In the last step, activate the option “Use the following DNS server addresses” and enter both addresses for the public DNS servers:

Preferred DNS server: 8.8.8.8

Alternative DNS server: 8.8.4.4

How to change DNS server on a Mac

The following steps are required to change DNS server on a Mac:

Click on the Apple logo and then on “System Preferences”:

Next, search for “Network” and click on it.

Select “More Options...” in the network menu and then switch to the “DNS” tab.

You can now enter the IPv4 and IPv6 addresses for the public Google servers via the plus sign.

Note

Accessed websites may be saved in the DNS cache. To apply the new DNS server settings to these websites, it is therefore necessary to empty the cache. Find out how to do this by reading the related section of our guide on DNS flushing.

Changing your DNS server in Linux systems

As a user of a Linus operating system, you can change DNS server on your own. In distributions like Debian or Arch Linux, which are specifically designed for the server environment and are highly configurable, but also in older versions of Ubuntu, you can make these changes in the resolv.conf file. Simply open it via the terminal using your preferred editor, such as gedit

You can find currently allocated addresses under “nameserver,” which you can replace with the public DNS server addresses:

If your distribution doesn’t allow any adjustments to the resolv.conf file, you can also usually change the DNS server via the graphical user interface. For example, in Ubuntu, open the system settings via the cog symbol and click on “Network.

You’ll find a list of connections on the left side of the next menu. Here, select your desired connection and then click on the “Options” button in the bottom right.

Switch to the “IPv4 Settings” tab and select the method “Automatic (DHCP) addresses only” instead of the default option via DHCP. Next, enter the addresses of the new DNS servers in the field provided, separating the two addresses with a comma.

Changing DNS servers on Android devices – follow these steps

If your Android device is connected via Wi-Fi, you have the option to change the DNS servers for this connection without using additional apps. Simply open the system settings and search for the wireless connection with the DNS entries you wish to change under “Wi-Fi.” Press it down for a short while until the option “Change network” appears.

In the following menu, check “Show advanced options” and set the IP settings to “Static.

Now simply enter the addresses of the Google servers in rows “DNS 1” and “DNS 2” before confirming the DNS server changes by pressing “Save.

Changing DNS servers in iOS – how it works on iPhones and similar devices

If you’re a user of a current iOS device, you can change the DNS settings for configured Wi-Fi connections as follows:

Open the settings and tap on the “Wi-Fi” button:

Search for the network with the DNS server settings you’d like to change and tap on the information button (the little “i”) to open the address menu. Then select the option “Configure DNS.

Now change the configuration method for DNS to “Manual”:

Clear the existing DNS servers by tapping on the minus symbol next to the corresponding entries. The “Add Server” button then allows you to add both addresses for the Google servers (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) before confirming the DNS changes by pressing “Save.


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