Want to use custom DNS settings on Windows 10? In this guide, we show you how.

Usually, when you subscribe to an internet connection, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will provide the necessary networking settings, including the DNS addresses, that you can use to quickly load websites, download files and use online services. However, sometimes the DNS servers are slow responding to requests, or they just are not reliable. Changing your default settings can improve your internet browsing experience.

What is DNS?

DNS stands for "Domain Name System," and it's the service that makes it possible for you to open a web browser, type a domain name and load your favorite websites.

All computers connected to the internet have IP addresses that enable them to talk to each other. However, we're not computers, and IP addresses (137.46.78.189) are hard to remember. DNS provides a way to translate friendly domain names (windowscentral.com) into IP addresses that computers can understand.

While most of us get to our favorite websites by simply typing URLs, such as http://windowscentral.com, your browser needs to know the IP address for the site you're trying to access. In order to do this, when you enter a new domain name, your browser sends a request to the DNS servers to translate the domain name into an IP address, and when a match is found, it's returned to the browser and the page loads.

Typically, this translation process is pretty fast, measured in milliseconds, but if the DNS servers provided by your ISP aren't reliable or for whatever reason you need to use custom settings, Windows 10 allows you to quickly change the DNS settings on your computer.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to change the DNS settings on your computer using Control Panel and Command Prompt.

How to change your PC's DNS settings using Control Panel

To change the DNS settings on your Windows 10 device using Control Panel, do the following:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on Network and Internet.
  3. Click on Network and Sharing Center.
  4. On the left pane, click on Change adapter settings.

  5. Right-click the network interface connected to the internet, and select Properties.

  6. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) from the list.
  7. Click the Properties button.

  8. Click the Use the following DNS server addresses option.
  9. Type your preferred and alternate DNS server addresses. Here you can enter any DNS servers you want, including from free ones such as Google Public DNS or OpenDNS.

    • Google Public DNS addresses: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4
    • OpenDNS addresses: 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220
  10. Click OK.

  11. Click Close to apply the new DNS settings to the adapter.

Once you complete these steps, your computer will immediately start using the new DNS settings.

In the rare case that you need to use more than two DNS addresses, on step 9, you can click the Advanced button, and on the DNS tab, you can add, edit, and remove as many DNS IP addresses as you need. You even have buttons on the side to set their priority. (The top is always used first).

How to change your PC's DNS settings using Command Prompt

Depending on how you're using the OS, sometimes you won't have access to Control Panel, but you can still change the DNS settings running a few command lines, as shown here:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the result, and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type the following command to show the names of your network adapters and press Enter:

    wmic nic get NetConnectionID

  4. Type the following command to change the networking settings and press Enter:

    netsh

  5. Type the following command to set the primary DNS IP address and press Enter:

    interface ip set dns name="ADAPTER-NAME" source="static" address="X.X.X.X"

    In the command, remember to change ADAPTER-NAME with the name of your network adapter you queried on step 3, and change X.X.X.X with the DNS server address you want to use.

  6. Type the following command to add an alternative DNS IP address and press Enter:

    interface ip add dns name="ADAPTER-NAME" addr="X.X.X.X" index=2

    In the command, remember to change ADAPTER-NAME with the name of your network adapter you queried on step 3, and change X.X.X.X with the secondary DNS server address you want to use.

After completing the commands, your device will immediately start using the new DNS settings.

If you need to set up more than one alternative address, you can repeat step 6, but increase the index number by 1.

Here's an example of using the command to add a third DNS IP address to Windows 10:

interface ip add dns name="Ethernet0" addr="8.8.4.4" index=3

Wrapping things up

Although Windows 10 gives you a few ways to change the DNS settings on your device, there are many other approaches to accomplish the same thing, such as using a third-party app or configuring your router.

The steps we mentioned in this guide work well when you only have one computer in the house or, for example, when you're working in a coffee shop and want to use your own DNS configurations.

Important note: We do not recommend using these steps if you're using a computer at work, because changing these settings could cause connectivity and other problems. If you want to change these settings on your work computer, always ask your IT administrator first.

More Windows 10 resources

For more help articles, related coverage and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources: