How to change DNS settings on your PC running Windows 10

Windows 10 change DNS addresses
Windows 10 change DNS addresses (Image credit: Windows Central)

As part of your internet access subscription, the internet service provider (ISP) also supplies the local network with the necessary settings, including the domain name system (DNS) addresses, enabling access to your favorite websites and online services and download files.

The only caveat is that the ISP's DNS servers are usually not very private, slower than other services, and sometimes unreliable. However, you can always use different resolvers from third-party companies to improve your internet experience on Windows 10.

Related: How to configure Cloudflare 1.1.1.1 DNS service on Windows 10 or router

What's DNS?

A domain name system is an internet service (usually at no cost to you) that allows you to type a friendly domain name in the web browser to load a website. And without it, it'd be a nightmare to surf the web.

The issue is that every device requires an IP address (example, 104.18.189.55) to communicate with other devices. However, these addresses are not easy for humans to remember, and DNS servers are the ones that provide the mechanism to translate friendly domain names (example: WindowsCentral.com) into an IP address that computers can understand.

Although you can type https://windowscentral.com to get to our website, in the background, the browser first sends a request to the DNS servers to resolve the website name into an IP address. When the address is found, it returns, and then the browser connects to the site and downloads the page's contents.

Typically, you won't notice this process because everything happens in milliseconds. However, if your resolvers are not reliable, they slow down your internet, or you want to use faster and more private servers, Windows 10 allows you to change these settings using Control Panel, Command Prompt, and Settings app.

In this Windows 10 guide, we will walk you through the steps to change the DNS settings on your laptop or desktop computer.

How to change DNS settings using Control Panel on Windows 11

To change the DNS settings with Control Panel, use these steps:

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

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Right-click the active network interface and select the Properties option.Quick tip: You'll know which adapter is connected to the network because it won't have a "Disabled" or "Network cable unplugged" label.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Select and check the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Properties button.
  2. Select the Use the following DNS server addresses option.Quick note: When you select the option to specify the DNS settings manually, the computer will continue to receive the TCP/IP address from the DHCP server (router).
  3. Under the "Preferred DNS server" section, confirm the primary DNS address.If you want to use Cloudflare, Google Public DNS, or Cisco OpenDNS, you can use these settings:
    • Cloudflare: 1.1.1.1
    • Google Public DNS: 8.8.8.8
    • OpenDNS: 208.67.222.222

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Under the "Alternate DNS server" section, confirm the secondary DNS address the system will use if the primary is not reachable.You can use one of the secondary addresses from these companies:
    • Cloudflare: 1.0.0.1
    • Google Public DNS: 8.8.4.4
    • OpenDNS: 208.67.220.220
  2. (Optional) Click the Advanced button.
  3. Click the DNS tab.
  4. Click the Add button.
  5. Specify additional alternate DNS server addresses.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Add button.Quick tip: In addition to adding more addresses, you can also edit and remove resolvers, and you have an option on the side to change their priority.
  2. Click the OK button.
  3. Click the Close button.

Once you complete the steps, the computer will immediately start using the specified DNS settings.

How to change DNS settings using Settings on Windows 10

To change the DNS addresses through the Settings app, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Network & Internet.
  3. Click on Ethernet or Wi-Fi.
  4. Select the connection that connects Windows 10 to the network.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Under the "IP settings" section, click the Edit button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Use the "Edit IP settings" drop-down menu and select the Manual option.
  2. Turn on the IPv4 toggle switch.
  3. Under the "Preferred DNS server" section, confirm the primary DNS address.To use Cloudflare, Google Public DNS, or Cisco OpenDNS, use these settings:
    • Cloudflare: 1.1.1.1
    • Google Public DNS: 8.8.8.8
    • OpenDNS: 208.67.222.222

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Under the "Alternate DNS server" section, confirm the secondary DNS address.You can use one of the secondary addresses from these companies:
    • Cloudflare: 1.0.0.1
    • Google Public DNS: 8.8.4.4
    • OpenDNS: 208.67.220.220
  2. Click the Save button.
  3. Restart the device.

After you complete the steps, you should now be able to connect to the internet using the new resolvers. The restart may be necessary to regain an IP address configuration for the device.

Although the Settings app should be the recommended option to change the DNS settings on your computer, we're not listing this option first because it can be confusing for some people.

How to change DNS settings using Command Prompt on Windows 10

Alternatively, it's also possible to change the DNS configuration using Command Prompt on Windows 10.

To use Command Prompt to change the computer DNS settings, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  3. Type the following command to launch the tool to change the networking settings and press Enter:netsh
  4. Type the following command to identify the names of the network adapters and press Enter:interface show interface
  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, change "ADAPTER-NAME" with the name of the network adapter you identified on step 4, and change "X.X.X.X" with the IP address you want to use.To use Cloudflare, Google Public DNS, or Cisco OpenDNS, you can use these settings:
    • Cloudflare: 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1
    • Google Public DNS: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4
    • OpenDNS: 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220
    This example sets the primary DNS address to 1.1.1.1:interface ip set dns name="Ethernet1" source="static" address="1.1.1.1"

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. 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=2In the command, change "ADAPTER-NAME" with the name of your network adapter you queried on step 4, and change "X.X.X.X" with the secondary address.This example sets the secondary DNS address to 1.0.0.1:interface ip add dns name="Ethernet1" addr="1.0.0.1" index=2Quick tip: You can repeat the above steps to add more addresses if necessary. However, in the command, you must increase the number of the index option by 1. For instance, interface ip add dns name="Ethernet1" addr="8.8.8.8" index=3

Once you complete the steps, Windows 10 will start using the new DNS server addresses to resolve domain names to numeric addresses that your device can understand.

More Windows resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

20 Comments
  • Very informative.
  • yes, let Google see all your internet trafic from the first second till the last second. Its faster but not for "free"  
  • Indeed. 4.2.2.1, 4.2.2.2, -thru 4.2.2.6​ are other non-Google options run by Level 3. Generally your ISP will actually provide the optimal DNS service as that are physically closer. OpenDNS is great for families.  Or Level 3 for a non-Google public option.
  • It is crucial to do historical research into any entity that purports to do something like resolve web address requests from your machine.  As revealed by Cryptome (who Windows Central deity, DARPA-controlled Microsoft tried to shut down on a technicality for delivering the truth), Level 3 uses NSA-controlled IPs just like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc. Use OpenNIC if you don't want your traffic logged.
  • Thank you. This is very helpful.
  • Very informative and useful. Thanks.
  • Just one more point.  Most DNS's are coming from DHCP or IPv6 discovery services and in most home routers they leveage the DNS services in your home router.  Haveing a cache copy in theory does make sense but if you want to change the DNS service provider it's better to do in on the router vs. the computer.
  • Except when your ISP uses fake DNS entries in their server to support their other service offerings. My ISP's IPTV service doesn't work if you modify the router DNS settings. The workaround, use your own router in DMZ mode on their gateway/router.  
  • SYSADMIN tip: You can force DNS registration to a local DNS server by running ipconfig /registerdns from command prompt in the client machine. This is especially helpful in a dynamic DNS environment if you have DNS updating issues.