What Is a DNS Server on My Computer?


Larry Thompson

A DNS server, short for Domain Name System server, is a fundamental component of the internet infrastructure. It plays a crucial role in translating human-readable domain names into IP addresses that computers can understand. In simpler terms, it’s like the phonebook of the internet, matching website names with their respective numerical addresses.

How Does a DNS Server Work?

When you type a URL into your web browser, such as “www.example.com,” your computer sends a request to a DNS server to find out the IP address associated with that domain name. The DNS server then searches its records for the corresponding IP address and returns it to your computer. Your device can then use this information to establish a connection and load the website.

Types of DNS Servers

There are several types of DNS servers that work together to ensure smooth communication on the internet:

1. Recursive DNS Servers

These servers are responsible for handling user requests by querying other DNS servers until they find the required IP address. They work behind the scenes, performing all the necessary steps to complete the translation process.

2. Authoritative DNS Servers

Authoritative DNS servers hold specific domain information and provide answers to recursive servers’ queries. They store records such as IP addresses, mail exchange details, and other essential data related to a particular domain.

3. Caching DNS Servers

Caching DNS servers temporarily store recently accessed domain name information in their memory. This caching mechanism helps speed up future requests for already visited websites since they don’t need to go through all the steps again.

  • DNS Cache Poisoning: It’s important to note that caching can sometimes lead to security vulnerabilities like cache poisoning, where incorrect or malicious data gets stored in a caching server.
  • TTL (Time-to-Live): To mitigate this risk, DNS records have a Time-to-Live value associated with them. The TTL determines how long DNS information can remain cached before it needs to be refreshed from an authoritative DNS server.

4. Public and Private DNS Servers

Public DNS servers are maintained by organizations or service providers and are accessible to the general public. They handle queries from any user on the internet.

On the other hand, private or local DNS servers are set up within specific networks, like homes or businesses, to handle internal requests. These servers help in resolving domain names for devices within the network without relying on public DNS servers.

Why Should You Change Your DNS Server?

There can be several reasons why you might consider changing your default DNS server:

  • Improved Performance: Some public DNS servers are known to offer faster response times, which can result in quicker website loading.
  • Enhanced Security: Certain DNS providers offer additional security features like malware blocking and phishing protection, helping safeguard your online experience.
  • Bypassing Restrictions: Changing your DNS server can allow you to bypass certain restrictions imposed by your internet service provider (ISP) or location-based access restrictions.

How to Change Your DNS Server?

To change your computer’s default DNS server, follow these steps:


  1. Open the Control Panel.
  2. Select “Network and Internet,” then “Network and Sharing Center. “
  3. Click on your active network connection (e.g., Ethernet or Wi-Fi).
  4. In the new window, click on “Properties.

  5. Select “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and click on “Properties. “
  6. Choose “Use the following DNS server addresses. “
  7. Enter the desired DNS server addresses.
  8. Click “OK” to save the changes.


  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Select “Network.”
  3. Choose your active network connection from the left-hand panel (e., Wi-Fi or Ethernet).
  4. Click on “Advanced.”
  5. Navigate to the “DNS” tab.
  6. Add or remove DNS servers by clicking on the “+” or “-” buttons.

In Conclusion

DNS servers play a critical role in translating domain names into IP addresses, enabling seamless communication on the internet. Understanding how they work and knowing how to change your DNS server can enhance your online experience in terms of speed, security, and accessibility.

Remember to choose reliable DNS servers that prioritize performance and security while considering your specific needs.

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