Your DNS Settings: How to change them & why you may want to

By | December 6, 2017
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Your DNS Settings: How to change them & why you may want to

The information in this article can be used on Windows 7, Windows 8x and Windows 10 computers.

First, let’s discuss what DNS servers are. Don’t worry – we’re not going to get all technical on you. We will define DNS servers as simply as possible. However, you don’t need to know what a DNS server is to use this tip, but you should have a basic understanding of DNS and what DNS servers do.

So, here’s a pretty simple definition of DNS and DNS servers from Lifewire’s “What is a DNS Server”:

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a technology standard for managing names of public Web sites and other Internet domains. DNS technology allows you to type names into your Web browser like lifewire.com and your computer to automatically find that address on the Internet. A key element of the DNS is a worldwide collection of DNS servers.

A DNS server is any computer registered to join the Domain Name System.

A DNS server runs special-purpose networking software, features a public IP address, and contains a database of network names and addresses for other Internet hosts.

DNS Root Servers

DNS servers communicate with each other using private network protocols. All DNS servers are organized in a hierarchy. At the top level of the hierarchy, so-called root servers store a complete database of Internet domain names and their corresponding IP addresses…

In other words, when you type in https://www.microsoft.com/ you’re actually typing a numerical address like 207.46.129.3 which is resolved by the DNS server  to the name you know and love… www.microsoft.com. Due to security issues, many sites will block attempts to directly reach the site by typing in its numerical address…but whoa! We’re getting in way too deep.

Without DNS servers you’re not going to get anywhere on the Internet. And if you have not changed your DNS settings, the first DNS server you’ll use to get to the Internet and the Web sites you want to visit, is your Internet Service Provider’s DNS server(s). However, you’re not stuck using your ISP’s DNS servers. You have options. The option we’re going to show you today is to use Google’s public DNS servers, which will let circumvent your ISP’s DNS servers.

Lately, we have had a number of people who were unable to access certain sites at certain times. Sites would randomly be available. In at least two cases, while working with customers using our Cloudeight Direct Computer Care service,, we found that customers could not access Facebook. And one of them could not access Facebook, Twitter and other sites she liked.  In all of these cases, instead of the web sites loading, they got a DNS error.

Google’s Public DNS servers are fast and secure.

So let’s change our Internet adapter settings to use Google’s Public DNS:

Step One: Go to Control Panel —> Network & Sharing Center.

Step Two: In Network & Sharing Center click on “Change adapter settings” (it’s on the left side).

Step Three: Right -click on your Wi-Fi or Ethernet Adapter and click on “Properties”. (If you use both Ethernet and Wi-Fi, you’ll have to both adapters, one at a time).

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In the Properties dialog find “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), click it to highlight it, then click “Properties”:

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In the TCP/IPv4 properties dialog, tick the circle next to “Use the following DNS server addresses” and enter 8 8 8 8 next to preferred DNS server and 8 8 4 4 next to
“Alternate DNS server”. Please note that you’ll have to press the space bar after entering each number. Press OK when you’re done.

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After you press OK you’ll be back to the Adapter Properties dialog. This time you’ll need to click on “Internet Protocol 6 (TCP/IPv6)” to highlight it, then click “Properties”.

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In the TCP/IPv6 Properties dialog, tick the circle next to “Use the following DNS server addresses” and …

Next to “Preferred DNS server” enter the following (you can copy & paste if you like):

2001:4860:4860::8888

Next to “Alternate DNS server” enter the following (copy & paste if you like):

2001:4860:4860::8844

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Keep in mind those numbers must be exactly as shown. So, double -check before you click OK.

Now you’re almost done. Open a command prompt (does not have to be an administrator command prompt) and type:

IPCONFIG /FLUSHDNS

and press Enter. If you typed the command correctly, you will see the confirmation as below: “Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache”. If you don’t see that confirmation then you typed the command incorrectly. Makes sure you leave a space after IPCONFIG and before the slash.

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And that’s it. If you ever want to change back to your ISP’s DNS servers, just got back to the IPv4 and IPv6 properties and tick the circle next to “Obtain DNS server address automatically.

You’ll need to run the IPCONFIG /FLUSHDNS command again.

I so wanted to name this article DNS the MNS.  A great classic TV show 🙂

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