How to change Windows DNS server settings in Windows 10 and Windows 11
The Domain Name System (DNS) is one of the core systems that make the internet possible. It’s also pretty reliable. However, occasionally the DNS server you’re connected to may go down or experience routing issues, resulting in a less-than-stellar web surfing experience. If you’ve found yourself connected to a faulty DNS server, it may be time for a change. Follow along as I break down the ins and outs of DNS and how you can change your DNS server settings in Windows.
What is DNS?
Domains, computers, and smart devices all use these things called Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to locate and communicate with each other. IP addresses come in a couple of different varieties.
IPv4 uses a 32-bit address. It’s the version that most people are familiar with. Here’s an example of an IPv4 address: 22.214.171.124.
IPv6 is the newer IP format and uses a 128-bit address. Here’s an example of an IPv6 address: 2001:0db8:0100:f101:0210:a4ff:fee3:9566. Scary, right?
So what does this have to do with DNS? Good question. DNS is designed to translate domain names (e.g., google.com, amazon.com, pdq.com) to their respective IP addresses. For example, DNS would translate google.com to 126.96.36.199.
DNS was developed because, while people are reasonably good at remembering names (myself not included), we’re not great at remembering large sets of random numbers. Imagine trying to memorize a random 12-digit number for each website you visit. It’s much easier for us to remember yahoo.com than it is for us to remember 188.8.131.52.
You can liken DNS to the maps app on your cell phone. You enter the name of a destination, and the app returns the address and directions on how to get there. Similarly, you provide your browser with a domain name, and DNS will translate that to an IP address and direct the traffic where it needs to go.
Why you may want to change your DNS server settings
With that clear-as-mud explanation out of the way, let’s talk about why we would want to change our DNS settings.
Most devices use whichever DNS server settings are automatically assigned to them by their internet service provider (ISP). For example, if your ISP is Comcast, they will automatically direct you to their DNS servers at 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11. On the one hand, this is great because users don’t have to do anything. On the other hand, if the DNS servers aren’t reliable, you could experience frequent routing issues. If you are one of those unfortunate people being directed to unreliable DNS servers, then you may want to consider manually configuring your DNS server settings.
Let’s look at several ways you can manually configure your DNS server settings in Windows.
How to change DNS server settings using Control Panel
Configuring your DNS server settings with Control Panel is quick, easy, and what I like to refer to as “ol’ reliable.” While Microsoft seems content to let the new Windows Settings app replace Control Panel, it’s still around, so we’ll use it while we still can.
1. Enter control panel into the Windows search bar, then click on the Control Panel app.
2. Click on View network status and tasks.
3. Click on the name of your connection next to the “Connections:” field.
4. In the status window, click Properties.
5. In the properties window, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), then click Properties.
6. Select Use the following DNS server addresses: and enter the IP addresses of the DNS servers you want to use. Here are a few popular servers that you can try.
OpenDNS: 18.104.22.168 & 22.214.171.124
Cloudflare: 126.96.36.199 & 188.8.131.52
Google: 184.108.40.206 & 220.127.116.11
7. When you’re finished, click OK, then close the Properties and Status windows.
That’s all there is to it. You’ve successfully changed your DNS server settings. However, continue reading to learn about the newer methods, especially since Control Panel may disappear in future versions of Windows.
How to configure DNS server settings in the Windows 10 Settings app
Microsoft is transitioning all the settings away from Control Panel and into the Settings app. In Windows 10, the settings app contains many, but not all, of the configuration options found in Control Panel. As a result, this method uses a combination of both the Settings app and the Control Panel.
1. Click on the Windows button.
2. Click on the Gear (settings) icon.
3. Click Network & Internet.
4. Click Change adapter options.
5. Double-click on your adapter.
6. Repeat steps 4 through 7 of the previous method.
While this method works, transitioning from the Settings app to Control Panel feels a bit clumsy.
How to change DNS settings on Windows 11
The Settings app in Windows 11 has drastically improved over the Windows 10 version. It’s easier to navigate, and you can configure most settings directly within the Settings app. While Control Panel still exists and the DNS settings can still be set using Control Panel, let’s look at how to change your DNS server settings using the Settings app in Windows 11 to prove we’re not afraid of change.
1. Right-click on the Windows button, then click Settings.
2. Click Network & internet.
3. If you are using Wi-Fi, click Wi-Fi, click Hardware properties, then click Edit next to DNS server assignment. If you are using an ethernet connection, click Ethernet, then click Edit next to next to DNS server assignment.
4. Using the drop-down menu, select Manual, then toggle IPv4 to On.
5. Enter the Preferred DNS address and the Alternate DNS address, then click Save.
While the Settings app in Windows 10 was a bit cumbersome, it’s been significantly improved in Windows 11 and might be the quickest way to configure your DNS settings.
How to set your DNS settings with PowerShell
If you’re a sysadmin that eats, sleeps, and breathes PowerShell, then this method is for you. If you’re not an avid PowerShell user but like learning new things, give this method a shot. The PowerShell commands we’ll be using are pretty simple, so you should be able to follow right along.
1. Right-click on the Windows button and click Windows PowerShell (Admin). If you’re using Windows 11, click Terminal (Admin).
2. Click Yes if prompted by a User Account Control dialog box.
3. At the PowerShell prompt, enter the following command and hit enter:
4. Make a note of your InterfaceIndex number. In the image above, my InterfaceIndex is 6.
5. Enter the following command replacing your InterfaceIndex number and the server address you wish to use:
Set-DnsClientServerAddress -InterfaceIndex 6 -ServerAddresses 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124
6. Ensure the settings have been changed by re-entering the command:
As you can see, our DNSServer was changed from 192.168.60.30 to Google’s DNS servers, 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52. Now that you know how to change your DNS server using PowerShell, check out The PowerShell Podcast to discover all the other awesome things you can do with PowerShell.
Don’t take DNS for granted
DNS is one of the most important and widely used systems in the world. It also enables the use of some incredibly powerful sysadmin tools, like PDQ Deploy & Inventory, which specialize in managing and patching Windows devices. Try out Deploy & Inventory free for 14 days, or take PDQ Connect for a spin if you’ve got a growing list of remote devices to manage.
Born in the '80s and raised by his NES, Brock quickly fell in love with everything tech. With over 15 years of IT experience, Brock now enjoys the life of luxury as a renowned tech blogger and receiver of many Dundie Awards. In his free time, Brock enjoys adventuring with his wife, kids, and dogs, while dreaming of retirement.