How to Change DNS Servers in Windows

Change DNS Servers in Any Version of Windows

Screenshot showing how to change the DNS server settings in Windows 10
Changing DNS Servers (Windows 10).

When you change the DNS servers in Windows, you change which servers Windows uses to translate hostnames (like www.lifewire.com) to IP addresses (like 208.185.127.40). Since DNS servers are sometimes the cause of certain kinds of internet problems, changing DNS servers can be a good troubleshooting step.

Since most computers and devices connect to a local network via DHCP, there are probably already DNS servers automatically configured in Windows for you.

What you'll be doing here is overriding these automatic DNS servers with others of your choosing.

I keep an updated list of publicly available DNS servers that you can pick from, any of which are arguably better than those automatically provided by your ISP. See our Free & Public DNS Servers piece for the complete list.

Tip: If your Windows PC connects to the internet via a router at your home or business, and you want the DNS servers for all the devices that connect to that router to change, you're better off changing settings on the router instead of on each device. See How Do I Change DNS Servers? for more on this.

How to Change DNS Servers in Windows

Below are the steps required to change the DNS servers that Windows uses. However, the procedure is a little different depending on the version of Windows you're using, so be sure to take note of those differences as they're called out.

Tip: See What Version of Windows Do I Have?

if you're not sure.

  1. Open Control Panel.

    Tip: If you're using Windows 8.1, it's much faster if you select Network Connections from the Power User Menu, and then skip to Step 5.
     
  2. Once in Control Panel, touch or click on Network and Internet.

    Windows XP users only: Choose Network and Internet Connections and then Network Connections on the following screen, and then skip down to Step 5. If you don't see Network and Internet Connections, go ahead and choose Network Connections and jump to Step 5.

    Note: You won't see Network and Internet if your Control Panel view is set to either Large icons or Small icons. Instead, find Network and Sharing Center, choose it, then skip to Step 4.
     
  1. In the Network and Internet window that's now open, click or touch Network and Sharing Center to open that applet.
     
  2. Now that the Network and Sharing Center window is open, click or touch the Change adapter settings link, located in the left margin.

    In Windows Vista, this link is called Manage network connections.
     
  3. From this new Network Connections screen, locate the network connection that you want to change the DNS servers for.

    Tip: Wired connections are usually labeled as Ethernet or Local Area Connection, while wireless ones are usually labeled as Wi-Fi.

    Note: You may have a number of connections listed here but you can usually ignore any Bluetooth connections, as well as any with a Not connected or Disabled status. If you're still having trouble finding the right connection, change this window's view to Details and use the connection that lists Internet access in the Connectivity column.
     
  4. Open the network connection you want to change the DNS servers for by double-clicking or double-tapping on its icon.
     
  5. On the connection's Status window that's now open, tap or click on the Properties button.
     
  6. On the connection's Properties window that appeared, scroll down in the This connection uses the following items: list and click or tap Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) or Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) to select it.
     
  1. Tap or click the Properties button.
     
  2. Choose the Use the following DNS server addresses: radio button at the bottom of the Internet Protocol Properties window.

    Note: If Windows already has custom DNS servers configured, this radio button may already be selected. If so, you'll just be replacing the existing DNS server IP addresses with new ones over the next few steps.
     
  3. In the spaces provided, enter the IP address for a Preferred DNS server as well as an Alternate DNS server.

    Tip: As I mentioned above, see my Free & Public DNS Servers list for an updated collection of DNS servers you can use as an alternative to the ones assigned by your ISP.

    Note: You're welcome to enter just a Preferred DNS server, enter a Preferred DNS server from one provider with a Secondary DNS Server from another, or even enter more than two DNS servers using the appropriate fields found within the Advanced TCP/IP settings area available via the Advanced... button.
     
  1. Tap or click the OK button.

    The DNS server change takes place immediately. You can now close any Properties, Status, Network Connections, or Control Panel windows that are open.
     
  2. Verify that the new DNS servers Windows is using are working properly by visiting several of your favorite websites in whatever browser you're using. As long as the web pages show up, and do so at least as quickly as before, the new DNS servers you entered are working properly.

Need More Help?

Having some trouble changing DNS servers in Windows? See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more.

When contacting me, please note the operating system you're using and which steps you've already completed, as well as when the problem occurred (e.g. which step you couldn't complete), so that I can better understand how to help.

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