A DNS (Domain Name System) server translates the website domains (Google.com, Yahoo.com, etc) you enter in your browser’s URL bar into IP addresses. Without DNS servers, you wouldn’t be able to open websites in your browser using its domain name.
Your default DNS server is typically the one given to you by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). However, your ISP’s DNS server might not be among the fastest and most reliable ones. If you would prefer to have a different one, you can change your server to numerous alternatives.
Here are five alternative ways you can change DNS server settings
1. How to Change DNS Servers in Settings
The Settings menu includes a wide variety of network and internet options for you to configure. So, it’s not surprising you can change your DNS server in Settings. To do so, follow the steps below.
- Open Settings by clicking that app on the Start menu.
- Select Network and Internet in Settings.
- Click the Wi-Fi or Ethernet navigation option.
- Then select your Wi-Fi or Ethernet network adapter in Advanced network settings.
- Next, click the View additional properties option.
- Press the Edit button next to DNS server assignment.
- Select the Manual option.
- Turn on the IPv4 option if it’s not already.
- Enter new servers in the Preferred DNS and Alternative DNS boxes.
- Click the Save button.
2. How to Change Your DNS Server in the Control Panel
Although Microsoft is gradually sidelining the Control Panel, the CP still includes many handy settings. It includes a Network Connections applet, from which you can change adapter settings. You can change your DNS server via that applet as follows:
- Press Win + X, which will bring up the Power User menu. Select Run on that menu.
- Type Control Panel in Run, and press the OK button.
- Select Large icons on the View by drop-down menu.
- Click Network and Sharing Centre in the Control Panel.
- Then click the Change adapter settings option in Network and Sharing.
- Right-click your internet network adapter and select Properties.
- Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) on the Networking tab, and click the Properties button.
- Click the Use the following DNS server addresses radio button.
- Input preferred and alternative DNS addresses for a server within the DNS server boxes.
- Press the OK buttons on the IPv4 and properties windows.
3. How to Change DNS Servers With the Command Prompt
If you prefer to utilize the Command Prompt, you can change your DNS server with that instead. The Command Prompt has a Netsch command-line utility you can utilize for that purpose.
Here is how to change DNS server settings with Netsch:
- Open the search utility with the Win + S hotkey.
- To find Command Prompt, input cmd in the search text box.
- Then select Run as administrator for the Command Prompt search result.
- To view internet source names, input this command and press Enter:
netsh interface show interface
- Note down your currently connected network interface listed there.
- Then input this netsch command and press Return:
netsh interface ipv4 set dnsservers "Interface Name" static preferred-DNS-address primary
- To specify an alternative DNS server address, enter this command and press Return:
netsh interface ipv4 add dnsservers "Interface Name" alternate-DNS-address index=2
You will need to change the alternative-DNS-address, preferred-DNS-address, and “Interface Name” details in those commands with actual DNS server address and interface name details. For example, netsch commands to change to Google DNS server for a Wi-Fi interface would look like this:
netsh interface ipv4 set dnsservers "Wi-Fi" static 18.104.22.168 primary
netsh interface ipv4 add dnsservers "Wi-Fi" 22.214.171.124 index=2
The above commands change the DNS server for IPv4. If you utilize IPv6, you’ll need to replace ipv4 in those commands with ipv6 as shown in the screenshot directly below.
4. How to Change DNS Servers With PowerShell
Windows PowerShell is an alternative command-line interpreter you can change DNS server settings with. However, the PowerShell commands you’ll need to enter to do so are not the same as those for the Command Prompt method.
You can change your DNS server with the Set-DNSClientServerAddress command as follows:
- Bring up Windows 11’s search box.
- Type PowerShell in that search box.
- Click the PowerShell search result’s Run as administrator option.
- First, input the following PowerShell command and press Enter:
- Note down the InterfaceAlias detail for your internet connection (Wi-Fi or Ethernet).
- To change your DNS server, input this command:
Set-DNSClientServerAddress "InterfaceAlias" –ServerAddresses ("preferred-DNS-address", "alternate-DNS-address")
- Press the Enter key to execute the command.
The Set-DNSClientServerAddress command specified above won’t change your DNS server unless you modify the alternate-DNS-address, InterfaceAlias, and preferred-DNS-address details in it. Replace those details with an actual alternative DNS address, InterfaceAlias, and preferred DNS address. For example, a Wi-Fi Google DNS command should look like this:
Set-DNSClientServerAddress "Wi-Fi" –ServerAddresses ("126.96.36.199", "188.8.131.52")
5. How to Change DNS Servers With DNS Jumper
There are also numerous third-party software packages with which you can change your DNS server settings. DNS Jumper is a freely available portable utility you can utilize on any Windows platform. The good thing about Jumper is that it enables you to select 36 different servers. So, you don’t need to look up addresses to change servers with that program.
Here is how to change your DNS server settings with DNS Jumper:
- Open the DNS Jumper webpage.
- Click Download at the bottom of that page.
- Open File Explorer (press its Win + E keyboard shortcut).
- Next, open up the folder that includes the DNS Jumper ZIP.
- Select File Explorer’s Extract all option.
- To choose a different extraction path, click the Browse button.
- Select the Show extracted files when complete option on the Extract Compressed window.
- Finally, click Extract to view Jumper’s extracted folder.
- Double-click DnsJumper to open the window in the snapshot directly below.
- Click the Choose default DNS server drop-down menu.
- Then choose a server option there.
- If the server you want isn’t available on the drop-down menu, click the Custom DNS Server checkbox. Then you can manually enter primary and alternative addresses in the boxes.
- Press the Apply DNS button.
Remember that you can also set up a desktop shortcut for DNS Jumper. To do that in Windows 11, right-click DnsJumper in its extracted folder and select Show more options. Select Send to > Desktop on the classic context menu.
Alternative DNS Server Addresses
If you don’t utilize DNS Jumper, however, you’ll need to look up and enter addresses for different servers. Google, Cloudflare, Quad 9, CleanBrowsing, and OpenDNS are five popular alternatives to default DNS servers. To save you some searching, these are the IPv4 addresses for those DNS servers.
- Google: 184.108.40.206 (primary) 220.127.116.11 (alternative)
- OpenDNS: 18.104.22.168 (primary) 22.214.171.124 (alternative)
- Cloudflare: 126.96.36.199 (primary) 188.8.131.52 (alternative)
- CleanBrowsing: 184.108.40.206 (primary) 220.127.116.11 (alternative)
- Quad9: 18.104.22.168 (primary) 22.214.171.124 (alternative)
Give an Alternative DNS Server a Try
Overall, it’s relatively straightforward to change your DNS server in Windows 11 with the above methods. Changing your server with DNS Jumper is probably the quickest and most straightforward method once you’ve downloaded and extracted its ZIP archive. However you choose to do it, you might find the likes of Google Public DNS, OpenDNS, Cloudflare, and co to be faster and more reliable servers than your current one.
A DNS server matches a host and domain name with its server IP address. When a DNS server is unavailable, you can’t reach the URL.
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