What DNS Server Does pfSense Use?


Scott Campbell

In this article, we will explore the DNS server used by pfSense, a popular open-source firewall and routing software. Understanding the DNS server used by pfSense is crucial for managing and configuring your network effectively.

What is a DNS Server?

A DNS (Domain Name System) server is responsible for translating human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses. When you enter a domain name in your web browser, the DNS server translates that domain name into an IP address to locate the corresponding website.

Default DNS Servers in pfSense

By default, pfSense uses the DNS servers configured by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). These servers are automatically assigned to your pfSense router through DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) when it connects to your ISP’s network.

If you want to check the default DNS servers configured on your pfSense router, follow these steps:

  • Login to your pfSense router’s web interface.
  • Select the System tab from the top menu.
  • Click on General Setup.
  • Scroll down to the DNS Servers section.
  • You will see a list of primary and secondary DNS servers provided by your ISP. These servers are typically listed as IP addresses.

Configuring Custom DNS Servers in pfSense

If you prefer to use custom DNS servers instead of those provided by your ISP, you can easily configure them in pfSense. Here’s how:

  1. Login to your pfSense router’s web interface.
  2. Remove the existing DNS servers provided by your ISP (if any).
  3. Add your desired DNS servers in the provided text boxes. You can add multiple DNS servers by separating them with a comma.
  4. Save the changes.

Note: It is recommended to use reliable and fast DNS servers like Google DNS (8.8.8, 8.4.4) or Cloudflare DNS (1.1.1, 1.0.1) for better performance and security.

Testing DNS Server Configuration in pfSense

To verify if your custom DNS server configuration is working correctly in pfSense, you can perform a simple test:

  1. Login to your pfSense router’s web interface.
  2. Select the Diagnostics tab from the top menu.
  3. Click on DNS Lookup.
  4. Type a domain name (e.g., example.com) you want to look up in the provided field.
  5. Click on the Lookup button.
    • If you see an IP address in the result, it means your custom DNS server is functioning correctly and resolving domain names.
    • If you encounter an error or no response, double-check your DNS server configuration.

By following these steps, you can easily configure and test the DNS server used by your pfSense router. Remember to always choose reliable and trustworthy DNS servers for optimal network performance and security.

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