A couple days ago, Cloudflare launched its own DNS service at 126.96.36.199, promising that consumers would enjoy greater privacy and potentially faster internet if they switched over from their ISP’s default. Now, those speed differences might not be significant or noticeable enough to the point of making the switch full-time. (We’re talking milliseconds here.) But it doesn’t take many steps to test out a new DNS, so it’s probably worth a quick try if you’re curious or sold on Cloudflare’s privacy measures.
The Domain Name System (DNS) is what converts domain names into IP addresses. And the best way to change your DNS is by adjusting your router’s settings. This automatically makes any devices joining your Wi-Fi network use the new DNS without having to go in and configure each device individually. It’s just a much easier approach.
What are some popular DNS options besides my ISP’s default?
Google Public DNS:
Change DNS for all devices that connect to your router (best option)
Sign in to your Linksys router’s admin page, which is almost certainly 192.168.1.1. Click “Setup” from the top menu. From there, choose “Basic Setup,” and enter the new DNS info into the Status DNS 1 and 2 fields. Save settings, and you’re done. You shouldn’t need to reset your router for the change to take effect.
When connected to your Wi-Fi, visit http://www.routerlogin.com or http://www.routerlogin.net in a web browser. Log in with your administrator credentials. Click “Internet” and then select “Use these DNS Servers” and enter the primary and secondary addresses. Then click “Apply.” Done.
Open your router administration page at wither 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1. Log in with your password, and then choose “Manual Internet Connection Setup.” Fill in the DNS server fields with the primary and secondary DNS addresses.
Open the Google Wifi app, go to the settings tab, then pick “networking & general.” Tap on advanced network, and then DNS. Choose “custom,” and then enter your new primary and secondary DNS addresses.
From the Network Settings page, to go Advanced, then choose DNS. Tap “Custom DNS,” and enter your primary and secondary DNS.
Change DNS for individual devices
Open the Control Panel. Click on Network and Internet, and then Network and Sharing Center. Choose “Change Adapter Settings” from the list on the left.
Next, right click on whatever Wi-Fi network you’re currently on, and choose Properties. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), and then click Properties.
Click “Use The Following DNS Server Addresses,” and replace whatever’s there with your new DNS. In the case of Cloudflare, you’d enter 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206. Click OK, followed by Close, and you’re done.
Android requires a static IP address to use custom DNS addresses, which takes additional setup steps. The router approach is recommended here.
If you’ve already done that, go to settings, then Wi-Fi. Long-press on your current Wi-Fi network and choose “Modify Network.” You might need to go to an advanced section depending on your Android device’s software. Add your new primary and secondary DNS addresses to the DNS 1 and DNS 2 fields.
Go to settings. Pick Wi-Fi, then tap the blue “i” next to your preferred network. Tap “Configure DNS” and make sure it’s set to manual, not automatic. Then delete any entries under DNS services and choose “Add Server” to enter your new DNS resolver. Using Google Public DNS as an example, you would add two entries: 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168. Save your changes, and you’re done.
Open System Preferences. Instead of clicking through numerous menus, the fastest way to get where you want to be is just by searching for “DNS servers” at the top right. That’ll take you to the right screen, where you can click the + symbol to add whichever DNS you want to try.