When browsing the internet, you use DNS servers to take a domain name such as richardtech.net and turn it into an IP address such as 126.96.36.199. By default, you will be using DNS servers from your ISP but you can set choose to use a third-party DNS server for enhancements such as increased speed and security.
There is a variety of choice on which third-party DNS servers you could use and each one has their advantages and disadvantages. Here, I shall list a few of the most popular but feel free to do your own research.
Lifewire has a large updated list of DNS servers which you can find here.
On a Router
Router configuration will vary depending on what router you are using, take a look at your router’s manual for more information or Google search for your model of router and “change DNS server”.
The simplest way to change the DNS server used for your whole network will be to change the setting on your router. Therefore, all the devices that connect to your network such as computers, smartphones, tablets and anything else will use the DNS server that is used by the router and you can enjoy a better experience on all your devices.
To change this setting, you will want to access your router’s web interface and enter the username and password for the web interface. This information can usually be found on a label on the router itself.
You will then want to locate the DNS server settings within the router’s web configuration interface.
Here, you can see the DNS server settings on an ASUS router. In this screenshot, Google’s Public DNS is being used.
Of course, if you don’t have administrator access to your router but would still like to use a custom DNS server on individual devices, you can do that.
On Windows, go to the Settings app and choose the Network & Internet option. You’ll then want to scroll down to the subheading that says “Change your network settings” and click on Change adapter options.
You’ll now want to right click on the network connection you would like to configure. In my case, I am going to configure my Ethernet connection as I do not use Wi-Fi on my computer, but if you plan on using both you will want to configure each of these separately.
Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCIP/IPv4) in the list and click Properties. Then click Use the following DNS server addresses and enter the DNS servers that you would like to use and click OK.
You can also set custom DNS servers for IPv6 if you’d like, you just have to select Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCIP/IPv6) on the properties of the network connection you are configuring.
iOS allows you to change your DNS server but it only allows you to change it for a specific Wi-Fi network instead of every Wi-Fi network you connect to. So you would have to configure DNS for each Wi-Fi network you connect to.
On your device, open up the Settings app and tap on Wi-Fi. Next, tap on the i button next to the Wi-Fi network you’d like to configure and scroll down to Configure DNS underneath the DNS subheading.
Tap Manual and you can remove any DNS servers you don’t want to use by tapping the red minus icon and add additional DNS servers with the green plus icon. You have the ability to add both IPv4 and IPv6 DNS servers here.
Like iOS, Android only lets you configure DNS settings one network at a time. So, if you want to use the same DNS server on multiple networks, they will all need individually configuring.
To change your DNS Server, open the Settings app and tap the Wi-Fi option. Then, hold your finger down on the network you would like to configure and tap on Modify network. Tap on Advanced options and scroll down to IP settings. Tap on DHCP and change it to Static. You can now scroll to the bottom and enter your DNS server information.
If you’re using a Mac, you’ll want to open System Preferences and go to Network. Then select the network adapter that you’d like to use, such as Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Now, click the Advanced button in the bottom right corner and click on the DNS tab.
Click the plus button at the bottom of the window and add the IPv4 and/or IPv6 DNS server addresses, when you’ve finished, click OK.
Devices such as games consoles and TV’s may have their own built-in options for setting their own DNS server. Look under network connection settings on the device to see if there’s an option to set custom DNS servers.