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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 home Windows computer uses whatever DNS server is set up by your internet provider. But you don't have to stick with that server.
In Windows 10, go to Settings > Network & Internet. In the section for Advanced network settings, select the setting for Change adapter options.
2. Select Properties
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.
3. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP v4)
In the Properties window, click the entry for Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP v4) and then click the Properties button.
4. Select the radio button for Use the following DNS server addresses
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 for both servers in the appropriate fields and click OK.
In Windows 11, go to Settings > Network & Internet. Select the option for Advanced network settings. Click the entry for the type of connection you wish to modify: Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Then, select the option for View additional Properties.
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.
Should you change the IPv6 address?
Since the world has already run out of IP version 4 addresses, we've slowly 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 to see if your internet provider has jumped onboard 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 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.
IPv6: 2001:4860:4860::8888 and 2001:4860:4860::8844
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: 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11
IPv6: 2606:4700:4700::1111 and 2606:4700:4700::1001
Owned and operated by Cisco, OpenDNS offers two free and two paid 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 of you who have children at home.
For $19.95 a year, OpenDNS VIP can lock down Web browsing by limiting access to specific, white-listed domains. Priced at $20 per person for up to five users, OpenDNS Prosumer is designed for home offices and small businesses and kicks in protection against malicious domains.
OpenDNS Home addresses
IPv4: 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124
IPv6: 2620:119:35::35 and 2620:119:53::53
OpenDNS Family Shield addresses
IPv4: 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52
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.
Finally, you can easily change the DNS settings for all the computers and other devices in your home. 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. Change or apply the new settings.