If you want to completely change a DNS server for your home network, you will need to do this on your router. All devices on your network – PCs, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, smart speakers, TV broadcast boxes, Wi-Fi lighting lights, and anything else you can think of – get their DNS server setup from the router unless Go out of your way to change it on the device. By default, your router uses the Internet Service Provider’s DNS servers. If you change the DNS server on your router, it will be used by every other machine on your network.
Really, if you want to use a third-party DNS server on your devices, we recommend that you change it only on your router. It’s one setting, and if you change your mind and want to change the DNS server later, you can change the setting in one place.
Table of Contents
What do DNS servers do?
So, machines only talk about numbers, but people want to use memorable domain names like girlgeniusonline.com or zappa.com. To solve this predicament, the Domain Name System or DNS processes the translation of familiar domain names into digital IP addresses.
Your home network usually depends on the DNS server provided by your Internet service provider. If it is a widely used domain, the DNS server might be storing that information for quick access. Now that the interaction has decreased to numbers, the machines can handle getting the pages you want to see.
As you can see, a domain name system is necessary for all of your internet activities. Any system problems can have consecutive effects on your experience.
For starters, if the DNS servers provided by the ISP are slow or are not properly configured for temporary storage, they can effectively slow down the connection. This is especially true when loading a page that attracts content from many different domains, such as advertisers and affiliates. Switching to efficiency-optimized DNS servers can speed up your browsing, both at home and in the work environment.
How does a DNS Server Help With Privacy?
By default, your computer is likely to access a DNS server controlled by your Internet service provider (ISP), for example, Comcast or AT&T. This means they can easily see the websites you visit – and because they got your name and address as well, they can create a complete profile for you in theory.
If you use a DNS server provided by a different company, they may also log this information … but at least it will be difficult for them to know who exactly is browsing these sites, which could make the data less valuable.
At least one DNS provider has sworn that it will not keep a record: CloudFlare (22.214.171.124) says it will open itself to external auditors to ensure they do not collect data from you.
Why Change DNS Settings?
There is more than one reason to change DNS servers, and while we don’t know the exact configuration of your current connection – so direct comparison is not possible – most people decide to make the change for privacy, speed, security, reliability, allocation, or five reasons.
Regarding privacy, switching DNS servers does not really prevent your ISP from seeing the sites you visit, although it may limit the amount of profile they can create for you to advertisers, depending on their business practices. To really hide your browsing, you need a VPN or encrypted DNS, which is a whole load of additional artwork. If you are interested, Ars Technica has a huge guide here. (Simple DNS encoded on the way, but not yet here).
So avoiding your ISP’s DNS servers may have some privacy benefits, depending on your ISP, don’t expect much – and certainly not anonymous surfing. Alternate DNS providers may also track your activity, although providers like Cloudflare have promised to clear all of their records every 24 hours to protect consumer privacy. In addition, many DNS providers block phishing and malware sites automatically, although your ISP might do that as well.
How to Change a DNS server on a Windows computer
- In Windows, you can change this option from Control Panel. This option is not part of the new Settings app on Windows 10.
- Head to Control Panel> Network and Internet> Network and Sharing Center> Change Adapter Settings.
- Right-click on the network connection you want to configure and select “Properties.” This option must be changed separately for each connection you want to change. This means that if you have a computer with Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet connections, you will have to change it for both Wi-Fi and Ethernet adapters if you want to change the DNS server for both.
- If you want to set a DNS server for IPv6 connections as well, select “Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCIP / IPv6)”, click “Properties”, and enter IPv6 addresses as well. Click OK when you’re done.
- After changing your DNS server on a Windows computer, you may need to clear the DNS cache to make sure that Windows uses records from the new DNS server and not the cached results from the previous computer.
How to Change a DNS Server on an Android Phone or Tablet
Each individual Wi-FI network has its own settings connected to it. If you want to use the same DNS server everywhere, you will have to change it for each Wi-Fi network you connect to.
- To change your DNS server, go to Settings> Wi-Fi, long press on the network you are connected to, and then click “Modify Network.”
- To change DNS settings, click the “IP Settings” box and change it to “Static” instead of the default DHCP.
- Leave the IP server setting here alone, as it is obtained automatically from the DHCP server. Enter your preferred primary and secondary DNS servers in “DNS 1” and “DNS 2” settings, then save your settings.
How to Change a DNS Server on iPhone or iPad
- Apple’s iOS allows you to change your DNS server, but you cannot set a preferred DNS server at the system level. You can only change the DNS server for the individual Wi-Fi network to your own custom setting, so you will have to do this for every Wi-Fi network you use.
- To change your DNS server on your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings> Wi-Fi and press the “i” button to the right of the Wi-Fi network you want to configure.
- Click on “Configure DNS” under DNS.
- Click “Manual” and remove any DNS server addresses that you do not want to use from the list by clicking on the red minus sign. Click the green plus sign and type any DNS server addresses you want to use. You can enter both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses in this list. Click “Save” when you’re done.
- You can always click “Automatic” here again to restore the network’s default DNS server settings.