How Do I Setup a Local DNS Server on a Mac?


Angela Bailey

Setting up a Local DNS Server on a Mac

If you’re looking to set up a local DNS server on your Mac, you’ve come to the right place. In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of configuring your Mac as a DNS server using the built-in macOS Server app.

Why Set Up a Local DNS Server?

Before we dive into the setup process, let’s quickly understand why you might want to set up a local DNS server.

A local DNS server:

  • Improves network performance: By caching domain name lookups, a local DNS server can speed up future requests for the same domain.
  • Provides custom domain resolution: You can use your local DNS server to map custom domain names to specific IP addresses within your network.
  • Enables access control: With a local DNS server, you can restrict or block access to certain websites or domains within your network.

Setting Up Your Mac as a Local DNS Server

To start setting up your Mac as a local DNS server, follow these steps:

Step 1: Install macOS Server

The first step is to install the macOS Server app from the App Store if you don’t already have it. Once installed, open the app and proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Configure macOS Server

Note: Configuring macOS Server requires administrative privileges.

  1. In the macOS Server app, click on “DNS” in the sidebar menu.
  2. Click on the “+” button at the bottom left to add a new DNS zone.
  3. Enter a domain name for your local network (e.g., “local” or “myhome”) and click “Create”.
  4. Under the “Records” tab, click on the “+” button to add DNS records.
  5. Add records for the desired hostnames and IP addresses within your local network.
  6. Click “OK” to save your changes.

Step 3: Configure DNS Settings on Your Mac

To ensure that your Mac uses the local DNS server you just set up, follow these steps:

  1. Go to “System Preferences” on your Mac.
  2. Click on “Network”.
  3. Select your active network connection (e., Wi-Fi or Ethernet).
  4. Click on “Advanced”.
  5. In the “DNS” tab, remove any existing DNS servers and add the IP address of your Mac’s local DNS server as the primary DNS server.

Testing Your Local DNS Server

To test if your local DNS server is working correctly, open a web browser and try accessing a domain name that you’ve mapped in your local DNS records. If everything is set up correctly, you should be directed to the associated IP address within your network.

Note: It may take a few minutes for the changes to propagate, so be patient if you don’t see immediate results.


You’ve successfully set up a local DNS server on your Mac using macOS Server. Now you can enjoy the benefits of improved network performance, custom domain resolution, and access control within your local network.

Happy networking!

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