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How to change the DNS settings on your Windows PC – and why you’d want to

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The DNS, or Domain Name System, acts as a phone book for the internet to convert between IP address and domain name. By default, your Windows computer uses whatever DNS server is set up by your internet provider. But you don’t have to stick with that server. 

Why would you want to change it? Certain third-party DNS services can provide tighter security and faster performance than the one from your ISP. 

Also: 5 ways to save your Windows 10 PC in 2025 – and most are free

Such services include Google DNS, Cloudflare, OpenDNS, and Comodo SecureDNS. Here’s how to change your PC’s DNS settings to use an alternate provider.

First, let’s look at how to switch the DNS server settings. Then we’ll check out some of the third-party DNS providers. Note: The steps to change the DNS server are different for Windows 10 and Windows 11. We’ll cover Windows 10 first.

How to change the DNS settings in Windows 10

In Windows 10, go to Settings and select “Network & Internet.” In the section for “Advanced network settings,” select the setting for “Change adapter options.”

Go to advanced settings

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

In the Network Connections Control Panel window, right-click the icon for the connection you want to change, such as Ethernet or Wi-Fi, and select Properties. 

Select Properties

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

In the Properties window, click the entry for Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP v4) and then click the Properties button.

Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP v4)

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

In the Properties window for Internet Protocol Version 4, select the radio button for “Use the following DNS server addresses.”

Notice that there are fields for preferred and alternate DNS server. The alternate server is used if the preferred one is unavailable or not responding quickly enough. Type the IP addresses provided by the service of your choice for both servers in the appropriate fields and click OK. Then close the Properties window

Change the DNS server addresses

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Also: The best Windows laptops you can buy: Expert tested

How to change the DNS settings in Windows 11

In Windows 11, go to Settings, select “Network & Internet,” and then click  the option for “Advanced network settings.”

Go to advanced network settings

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Click the entry for the type of connection you wish to modify: Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Then, select the option for “View additional properties.”

View additional Properties

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

At the Properties screen, click the Edit button for DNS server assignment. In the window for Edit DNS settings, click the dropdown menu for Automatic (DHCP) and change it to Manual. Turn on the switch for IPv4 and type the IP addresses for the preferred and alternate DNS servers in the appropriate fields, remembering to add the dots in the right spots. Click Save.

Change the DNS servers

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Should you change the IPv6 address?

Since the world has already run out of IP version 4 addresses, we’ve been transitioning to IP version 6, which provides a much greater range of usable addresses. So does that mean you should also change the DNS servers for IPv6? Not necessarily. Most ISPs either don’t support IPv6 or are still in the testing phase. 

You can check if your internet provider has jumped on board the version 6 bandwagon. Browse to the Test-IPv6 website using your current connection. The results will tell you whether your ISP supports the newer protocol. If so, most third-party services do provide IPv6 addresses.

Third-party DNS providers

Now that you know the process for changing your DNS server settings, let’s look at a few third-party services worth trying.

Google Public DNS

Google Public DNS page

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Google Public DNS is one of the most popular third-party DNS providers, handling name and IP address resolution faster than many other services. Google’s DNS server is designed to protect you against spoofing attacks that try to redirect you to malicious sites. The company’s website for its DNS service shares details about its performance and security features and offers an issue tracker and a user forum.

Also: Hate Windows 11? Here’s how to make it work more like Windows 10

Google Public DNS addresses

IPv4: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4

IPv6: 2001:4860:4860::8888 and 2001:4860:4860::8844

Cloudflare DNS

Cloudflare DNS setup on PC

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Cloudflare DNS is another alternative DNS provider that aims to be faster than competing services. Cloudflare also vows that it won’t log your IP address, a process used by many ISPs that gives them the ability to record the sites you visit.

Cloudflare DNS addresses

IPv4: 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1

IPv6: 2606:4700:4700::1111 and 2606:4700:4700::1001

OpenDNS

OpenDNS benefits matrix

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Owned and operated by Cisco, OpenDNS offers two free packages for consumers. On the free side, the basic package is OpenDNS Home, while the OpenDNS Family Shield plan can block adult content for those who have children at home.

OpenDNS Home addresses

IPv4: 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220

IPv6: 2620:119:35::35 and 2620:119:53::53

OpenDNS Family Shield addresses

IPv4: 208.67.222.123 and 208.67.220.123

Comodo SecureDNS

Comodo Secure DNS page

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Coming from a reliable cybersecurity company, Comodo SecureDNS is worth considering if you’re concerned about your online security. The company’s DNS service tries to protect you from phishing attacks and malware. SecureDNS also keeps a real-time list of malicious websites and warns you if you attempt to access one of them.

Also: This new Windows feature makes password-hacking attacks much harder

Comodo SecureDNS addresses

IPv4: 8.26.56.26 and 8.20.247.20

Change your router’s DNS settings

Finally, you can easily change the DNS settings for all the computers and other devices in your home by switching them directly on your router. To do this, sign into your router’s firmware. Look for a setting for Internet or network setup and find the section for DNS addresses.

The existing option is likely set to get the addresses from your ISP. Change that to manually assign the addresses and then type the preferred and alternate addresses from the service of your choice.  When done, apply the new settings.

Page to change your router's DNS settings

Change your router’s DNS settings.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET


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