How Does Windows 10 Decide Which DNS Server to Use?


Scott Campbell

Windows 10 is a powerful operating system that provides users with a seamless browsing experience. One of the key components that determines the speed and efficiency of your internet connection is the Domain Name System (DNS) server.

But have you ever wondered how Windows 10 decides which DNS server to use? In this article, we will explore the intricacies of this process.

The Basics of DNS

Before we delve into Windows 10’s decision-making process, let’s first understand the basics of DNS. The DNS is like a phone book for the internet, translating human-readable domain names into IP addresses that computers can understand.

When you type a website’s URL into your browser, your computer sends a request to a DNS server to resolve the domain name into an IP address. This IP address allows your computer to establish a connection with the website’s servers and retrieve the desired web page.

DNS Server Selection in Windows 10

Windows 10 has an intelligent system for selecting which DNS server to use. It follows a specific order of preference:

  1. Local DNS Cache: Windows keeps a local cache of recently visited websites’ IP addresses. If your desired website is in this cache, Windows will use it without making any further requests.
  2. Primary DNS Server: The first choice for Windows is usually your ISP’s (Internet Service Provider) primary DNS server. This server is provided by your ISP and is configured in your network settings by default.
  3. Secondary DNS Server: If Windows fails to reach the primary DNS server or receives no response, it moves on to the secondary DNS server configured by your ISP.

    This acts as a backup option when the primary server encounters issues.

  4. Tertiary DNS Server: In some cases, your ISP may provide a tertiary DNS server as an additional backup. Windows will only access this server if both the primary and secondary servers are unavailable.
  5. Public DNS Servers: If all the above options fail, Windows 10 can use public DNS servers like Google DNS (8.8.8) or Cloudflare DNS (1.1.1). These servers are maintained by reputable organizations and offer reliable performance.

Changing DNS Server Settings in Windows 10

If you wish to change the DNS server settings in Windows 10, you can do so easily:

  1. Open the Control Panel by searching for it in the Start menu.
  2. Select “Network and Internet” and then click on “Network and Sharing Center. “
  3. On the left-hand side, click on “Change adapter settings.

  4. Right-click on your active network connection and choose “Properties. “
  5. Select “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” from the list and click on “Properties. “
  6. In the properties window, select “Use the following DNS server addresses” and enter your desired DNS server’s IP address.
  7. Click “OK” to save your changes.

In Conclusion

Windows 10 utilizes a systematic approach to determine which DNS server to use for resolving domain names into IP addresses. By following a predefined order of preference, Windows ensures a smooth browsing experience for users while providing redundancy in case of server failures.

If you ever encounter slow browsing speeds or issues with specific websites, changing your DNS server settings to a more reliable option might help. Experimenting with different DNS servers can sometimes improve your internet connection’s performance.

Now that you understand how Windows 10 handles DNS server selection, you can make informed decisions about optimizing your browsing experience.

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