How to Change DNS Server Settings

Is it better to change DNS servers on your router or your device?

When you change the DNS servers that your router, computer, or other internet-connected device uses, you're changing the servers, usually assigned by your ISP, that the computer or device uses to convert hostnames to IP addresses.

In other words, you're changing the service provider that turns www.facebook.com to 173.252.110.27.

Changing DNS servers can be a good troubleshooting step while you're troubleshooting certain kinds of internet connection problems. It also might help keep your web surfing more private—assuming you choose a service that doesn't log your data—and could even allow you to access sites that your ISP has chosen to block.

DNS Settings on ASUS RT-AC66U Router
Yaplex, Inc.

Use one of several public DNS servers instead of the automatically assigned ones you're probably using now. There are also lists of free and public DNS servers that have primary and secondary DNS servers you can change to right now.

Changing DNS Server Settings

Before you change your DNS servers, you'll need to decide if it's a better choice, in your specific situation, to change the DNS servers on your router or those on your individual computers or devices:

  • Change the DNS servers on your router if you'd like all the computers and devices that connect to the internet through that router to also use the new DNS servers. This technique only works if your computers and devices are setups for DHCP, meaning they look to the router for DNS server information, among other things. This approach is typical.
  • Change the DNS servers on your individual devices if you'd only like that one device to use these different DNS servers. This approach is a good idea when you're troubleshooting an internet problem with one device that you suspect might be DNS related or if you don't have a router at all. This pathway is also the right course of action if you're in the uncommon situation of not using DHCP to obtain network information for your computers or other internet-connected devices.​

Changing DNS Servers on a Router

Every router manages this process differently. Consult your router's documentation for specific steps to update DNS for your specific hardware.

To change the DNS servers on a router, look for text fields labeled as DNS, usually in a DNS Address section, most likely in a Setup or Basic Settings area in the router's web-based management interface, and enter the new addresses.

NETGEAR, Linksys, and D-Link support profiles have information on locating downloadable product manuals for your specific router. Searching online for your router's make and model is a good idea if your router isn't from one of those popular companies.

Changing DNS Servers on Computers and Other Devices

Microsoft changed the wording and location of network related settings with each new release but you can still change DNS Servers for Windows 10 down through Windows XP.

Configuring your Mac's DNS settings will be slightly different than a Windows device.