How Do You Tell if a DNS Server Is Being Used?


Larry Thompson

How Do You Tell if a DNS Server Is Being Used?

When it comes to troubleshooting network issues or understanding how your internet connection is functioning, it can be helpful to determine whether a DNS server is being used. DNS (Domain Name System) is a crucial component of the internet that translates domain names into IP addresses, allowing us to access websites and other online services by typing in human-readable addresses. In this article, we will explore various methods to check if a DNS server is being used.

Method 1: Checking Network Settings

If you suspect that your computer or device is not using the desired DNS server, one of the first steps you can take is to check the network settings. Follow these steps:

  1. Windows:
    • Open the Control Panel by clicking on the Start menu and selecting “Control Panel”.
    • Navigate to “Network and Internet” and click on “Network and Sharing Center”.
    • In the left sidebar, click on “Change adapter settings”.
    • Right-click on your active network connection and select “Properties”.
    • In the Properties window, scroll down and select “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)”.
    • Click on the “Properties” button.
    • In the new window, make sure that either “Obtain DNS server address automatically” or “Use the following DNS server addresses” is selected.
  2. macOS:
    • Click on the Apple menu at the top-left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences”.
    • Choose “Network”.
    • Select your active network connection from the left sidebar.
    • Click on the “Advanced” button in the bottom-right corner.
    • Navigate to the “DNS” tab.
    • Check if any DNS servers are listed in the “DNS Servers” section.
  3. Mobile Devices:
    • Open the Settings app on your device.
    • Navigate to the Wi-Fi or Network settings.
    • Select your active Wi-Fi network or cellular network.
    • Look for DNS settings and check if any DNS server addresses are specified.

Method 2: Using Command Line Tools

If you prefer using command line tools, there are a few commands you can run to determine if a DNS server is being used. Here are some examples:

Windows (Command Prompt):

To check the DNS server being used:

C:\> nslookup

This command will display the IP address of the DNS server that was used to resolve the domain name “”. If no DNS server address is displayed, it means that your computer is not using any specific DNS server and is relying on default settings.

macOS and Linux (Terminal):

To check the DNS server being used:

$ nslookup

The output will show you the IP address of the DNS server that was used to resolve the domain name. Similarly, if no DNS server address is displayed, your system is likely using default settings.

Method 3: Online DNS Lookup Tools

If you prefer a more user-friendly approach or want to check the DNS server being used by a remote server or website, you can utilize online DNS lookup tools. These tools allow you to enter a domain name and retrieve information about the DNS server(s) used to resolve it. Some popular online DNS lookup tools include:

These tools provide valuable insights into DNS configurations and can help troubleshoot any issues related to DNS resolution.

In conclusion, determining whether a DNS server is being used is crucial for troubleshooting network issues and ensuring proper connectivity. By checking network settings, using command line tools, or utilizing online DNS lookup tools, you can gain valuable insights into your DNS configuration and make necessary adjustments if needed.

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