Why and how to use custom DNS settings

By , Mar 5, 2016

why and how to change dns server

When you visit a website on your computer, such as iDownloadBlog or Google, you’re using domain name system (DNS) protocol to exchange information between your computer and the server providing you with that website.

Depending on the DNS server you’re using on your Mac or iOS device, you might not be experiencing the best speeds and web securities that you could be. In this piece, we’ll tell you why you may want to consider switching to a new DNS and we’ll even show you how to do it.

Why to consider changing your DNS

Although many reputable internet service providers (ISPs) provide a quality DNS server with their service, not all do. Some people simply get the cruddy end of the stick, and it may be in your best interest to consider a third-party DNS server to improve your web browsing experience.

Different DNS servers have different levels of security, different speeds, and even different abilities.

For example, there are some DNS servers, like Google’s public DNS server, which offers unlimited data usage, high speeds, and even security from known malicious or phishing sites and denial of service (DoS) attacks. I’ve even seen some DNS servers that are capable of filtering ads out of websites you visit for performance boosts, so there is definitely a potential for improving on your DNS server based on the features you need.

Not everyone will have to change their DNS server – Verizon FiOS users, for example, will have a DNS server out of the box that is plenty fast enough to handle the speedy internet services provided by Verizon, although using a third-party DNS server, such as the Google public DNS server, comes down to mere choice.

So now that you have a general idea of why you might want to change your DNS server, let’s show you how it’s done…

How to change your DNS settings on your Mac

Changing your DNS settings on your Mac can be done in a few short steps. We’ll go through them with you below:

1) Launch the System Preferences app on your Mac and open the Network preferences pane.

change dns on mac settings network pane

2) In the next interface, which shows your internet information, click on the Advanced button at the bottom of the interface.

change dns on mac advanced button

3) A drop-down interface will appear. From here, open the DNS tab and then click on the + button under the DNS Servers list.

change dns server on mac dns list

4) After clicking the + button, you’ll begin typing the IP address or domain name of the DNS server you want to use. For our example, we’ll be using Google’s public DNS server, which is or As an alternative, you can also use OpenDNS’s public servers ( and

change dns server on mac Google Public DNS server

5) Once satisfied with the entry, press the Return key on your keyboard, then click the OK button, and then click the Apply button to save your changes.

That’s all there is to it! You’ve changed the DNS server your Mac will use to communicate with websites.

How to change your DNS settings on your iPhone or iPad

You can also change your DNS settings on your iOS devices by following these steps:

1) Launch the Settings app and tap on your Wi-Fi preferences pane to open your Wi-Fi settings.

change dns on ios

2) To the right of the Wi-Fi network you’re connected to, tap on the blue i button to show more advanced settings.

3) Under the DNS cell, change whatever is already in the box to the DNS server address you want. In our case, we’ll be using Google’s public DNS server, which has an IP address of or Once again, we can also use OpenDNS’s public servers ( and

change dns in iOS Google Public DNS server

4) Tap on the Return key on your keyboard and your Wi-Fi connection will reset after successfully connecting with the new DNS server.

Congratulations! You’ve just changed your DNS server on your iOS device.

Now what

You can also change your DNS server settings right from your router, which makes it so every device that uses that router to access the internet will use your selected DNS server. This is a better solution long-term because every device, and not just the one you configure, will get to take advantage of the DNS server without having to be configure individually. Unfortunately, because all routers have different variances of settings interfaces, we’ve opted to show you the method that’s going to be easier for you to follow only on your Mac or iOS device.

A custom DNS server may have either a positive or a negative impact on your internet performance; it’s all dependent on the DNS server you’ve chosen. Google’s public DNS server has a very good up-time reputation and excellent speed of service, so you really can’t go wrong with it. Google even says their DNS server includes securities that may be beneficial to your web browsing if safety is a concern of yours.

Although we can vouch for the reliability of Google’s public DNS server, which we’ve been using for years, there are countless alternatives out there, and you’ll have to do your own research to find out what one to go with for your own needs.

If you come across a website that doesn’t load properly after the DNS server setting change, you can always try removing your DNS server settings by opening the above interface again, clicking on the DNS server you added, and clicking on the button to delete it. Then, just click OK, and Apply to save your changes once again and try to visit the site again to see if the problem persists. Your Mac will automatically grab a DNS server from your ISP if you don’t add one manually.

Keep in mind that changing a DNS server in this manner only changes the DNS server for that particular network in general. This means that if you select a DNS server to use on your home Wi-Fi network, then it will only be used when you’re connected to that Wi-Fi network. If you connect to a different network, wired or wireless, your DNS settings will go back to their defaults again until you re-connect to your home network. With this in mind, you’ll have to configure your DNS settings separately for each network you connect to.

Wrapping up

Changing your DNS server can have a positive impact on your internet speed, privacy, and security, but it can also have a negative impact if you don’t use a reputable DNS server. Configure these options with care and try not to use any sketchy DNS servers that could pose as a risk to your privacy.

Also read:

What DNS server settings are you using? Share in the comments below.

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  • Gregg

    Thanks, that’s a nice little write up, I appreciated the info: clear, helpful and concise. Good work!

  • Mr.Coolfreak

    I recommend using Google’s name bench tool to find the best DNS address for you. Download the tool and run it

  • More technically DNS stands for “Domain Name Server”.

    • Either or; they’re interchangeably used throughout the field!

      • Partially agree with you.

    • James

      Nah it’s system bro. Heard of Google? Try it

      • Scott Curry

        Damn you got shown bro! 😛 lmao

  • Scotow

    Wow, I inserted the Google DNS, and my pages are now way more faster. I have fiber connection, so i didn’t thought changing DNS would increase page loading, but it does. Thanks for the tip IDB.

  • sylvan feghali

    Can someone plz tell me how to use DNS on my Apple TV 4 to change my location ?

  • Guilherme 

    Thank you guys!! Noticeable Internet speed bump here!

  • JRDN

    I have a question in need of answering.

    So this trick to change your DNS settings seems to have increased the speed for loading webpages on my Mac substantially. However, does it only increase it for webpages? Or does it do it for other things like online gaming, just as an example?

  • Scott Curry

    The most useful bit of information to add to this article would be how to change these for your 4GLTE connections. Damn I was hoping for that….