Thanks to the internet, we get to send and receive information at the speed of light from the remotest corners of the globe. Basically, wherever a computer and an internet connection are present, communication can be established with other similarly connected systems. And we do not have to worry not only about how our computers understand what we want but also how they are able to fish out the information so easily. This is thanks to DNS servers. They are like middlemen that bridge the divide between human language and computer code.
And just like some of us change the people who do things for us when someone better comes along, situations often arise when it is better to replace the DNS our computers are using with another one. This can be a temporary or permanent move. You might be dissatisfied with the domain name server used by your ISP provider and want to switch to something else. Perhaps you found out that it isn’t as secure as you thought or your web requests are being redirected. Other times, it is just a matter of wanting to make your browsing faster.
Some ISPs have been known to advise against changing your DNS server, but you shouldn’t listen to them. Whatever your motives are, you can easily change your DNS server to something that is just perfect for you. This guide has been compiled to show Windows 10 users how to change their DNS protocol without fuss. We shall first explain DNS in depth and provide scenarios where changing DNS is encouraged.
What is a DNS server?
DNS or domain name system is a database that matches domain names on the web with their IP addresses. As a human, you are more attuned to using words, both offline and on the internet, whereas computers communicate better in numerical code. So, when you want to visit a website like Amazon’s, you’re of course going to type www.amazon.com in your browser’s address bar. Your computer, on the other hand, only knows the site as 18.104.22.168. What you typed is Amazon’s domain name or hostname, and what the computer recognizes is the IP address. The DNS server contains both hostnames and IP addresses and converts one into the other and back again. Everything is done in milliseconds, so you don’t even need to know what is happening.
When you use a router or other means of connecting to the internet, your default DNS server is configured by your internet service provider. Since they are the ones providing you access to the net, they choose what they believe is the best DNS to give you optimum web performance. In most cases, the default DNS is maintained by your ISP. However, your router and computer might have different DNS servers configured. In such a case, the DNS on your PC supersedes the one on your router and will be used for accessing the net.
You can override the configured DNS with something of your own choosing if you want as long as you know the steps required. But the prospect of replacing one DNS with another fills some Windows users with trepidation. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,
they reason. We provide some reasons why changing your DNS server through which your PC connects to the internet deserves an urgent consideration.
When to change DNS settings on Windows 10?
Just like you soon outgrow those clothes that seemed to fit you so well, your PC could be in need of a DNS refresh for any one of the following reasons:
In a world where millions of information bits are swirling around us, some of which being not at all positive, filtering the kinds of content we come in contact with has become a must. Computer users with kids need to ensure their children aren’t exposed to adult content, gambling sites, etc. at a young age. By setting up the kid’s computers to use a DNS that filters these kinds of stuff, they will keep their browsing experience clean and free of unwanted stuff.
The same principle applies to network administrators who can use filters to block non-work related websites during company hours. Individuals struggling with porn or gambling addictions can voluntarily set up DNS servers that prevent adult-themed websites and gambling sites from displaying on their computers.
If you live somewhere close to a public and reliable DNS server, it makes sense to switch to that server rather than keep using the default one from your ISP. It is possible for your DNS server to become crippled such that its response time noticeably slows down, rendering your browsing experience frustrating. You won’t lose anything if you test out another server.
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This can be anything that affects the ability of the domain name service to parse hostnames and IP addresses. Whether it is a server failure, a database attack or server leaks,your best bet is to try another DNS service, at least temporarily until all the problems are sorted.
Security threats and privacy
Unfortunately, because your DNS service is configured by your ISP, they have ready access to your computer through your IP address. Thus, you’re at their mercy and they can reroute your traffic, send you targeted ads and do other privacy-violating things with that information. If you would rather not receive ads, you can change to a public DNS like Google’s.
Additionally, if you suspect that malware has infiltrated your precious Windows computer through your DNS service, you can subscribe to a paid server or use a third-party DNS server that is known for being secure. With this method, your ISP will no longer be able to track you through your browsing logs.
It is possible that you have started using another ISP to connect to the net while the DNS configured on your PC and/or router remains the same. Some networks tend to work better with certain DNS servers, especially their own.
Generally, public DNS servers are available and free for everyone to use are faster and come with a range of features. So if you’re considering switching, you can check out Google, CLoudflareQUad9, AdGuard, and Open DNS, among others.
Is it safe to change the DNS settings on Windows 10?
This, as questions go, is a bit complicated. In principle, changing your DNS server shouldn’t make much of a difference as it is simply replacing one well-stocked database of hostnames with another.
All the same, there are a few things that must be borne in mind:
- The DNS service provider: Any popular ISP’s DNS service is fine, unless otherwise proved. Public DNS servers like Google DNS and OpenDNS are also OK to use.
- Preferences: If you’re an adult with inhibitions regarding the kind of content you like to see, sticking with a DNS service that lets everything through is a very bad idea. Use a DNS service that blocks the category of content you don’t want.
- Vulnerability: How protected is the DNS server? How safe from prying eyes? Domain name services with a history of security breaches should be given a wide berth. You should read up on a preferred DNS before you make the switch.
How to change DNS on Windows 10?
Every connected computer on the internet has an IP address and that includes DNS servers. Changing your DNS involves replacing your current DNS server’s IP address with the address of the new one. In Windows 10, changing your DNS is a simple matter of following these steps:
- Press Windows Key + X to open the Windows Tools menu.
- Select Control Panel.
- Expand the Network and Internet option.
- Open Network and Sharing Centre and select Change adapter Settings on the left.
- In the new window, right-click the desired connection and select Properties.
- Scroll down the This connection uses the following itemslistbar until you find Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).
- Tap on the one whose DNS settings you want to change and click on Properties in the bottom right.
- Select Use the following DNS server addresses.
- Fill in the IP addresses for your preferred and alternate DNS servers in the given boxes.
- Click OK once you’re done.
For the best results, it is recommended to accompany any changes in DNS with a clean-up of your system. This will make the effects of the new, presumably faster DNS even more pronounced. For a lightning-fast browsing experience, you can use Auslogics BoostSpeed. It will instantly remove all junk files, corrupt files, unused registry entries, unnecessary caches and any other items that cumulatively clog your system’s resources and cause slower performance. After using it to remove all junk , you will notice the changes immediately upon a restart.