What Is a Preferred DNS Server?


Scott Campbell

A Preferred DNS server, also known as a Primary DNS server, is a crucial component of the Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure. It plays a significant role in translating domain names into their corresponding IP addresses, allowing users to access websites and other online resources easily.

Understanding DNS

Before diving into the concept of a Preferred DNS server, let’s have a quick overview of how the DNS works. The Domain Name System is like the phonebook of the internet. When you enter a website’s URL in your web browser, such as “www.example.com,” the browser needs to find the IP address associated with that domain name to establish a connection.

The DNS system consists of multiple servers distributed globally. When you request a URL, your computer contacts its configured DNS server (usually provided by your Internet Service Provider) to resolve the domain name into an IP address. If that initial DNS server doesn’t have the required information, it will forward the request to another server until it finds a match.

Role of Preferred DNS Server

A Preferred DNS server is the first-choice server that your computer uses to resolve domain names into IP addresses. It is specified in your network settings or router configuration and takes precedence over any other DNS servers.

By setting a Preferred DNS server, you can improve your internet browsing experience and potentially enhance network performance. Here are some advantages:

  • Speed: By using a reliable and fast Preferred DNS server, you can reduce query response times and accelerate website loading speeds.
  • Reliability: Configuring a trusted Preferred DNS server ensures that your requests are handled by a reliable source with minimal downtime.
  • Security: Some preferred DNS servers offer additional security features like malware blocking, phishing protection, and content filtering to safeguard your online activities.

It’s important to note that while a Preferred DNS server is the first option, your computer can still fall back to alternate DNS servers if the preferred one is unavailable or fails to resolve a particular domain name.

How to Set a Preferred DNS Server

The process of setting a Preferred DNS server varies depending on your operating system and network configuration. Here are general steps:


  1. Open the “Control Panel” and navigate to the “Network and Internet” section.
  2. Select “Network and Sharing Center” and click on your active network connection.
  3. In the new window, click on “Properties. “
  4. Select “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and click on “Properties.

  5. Choose the option to “Use the following DNS server addresses. “
  6. Enter the IP address of your Preferred DNS server in the respective field.
  7. Click “OK” to save changes.


  1. Go to “System Preferences” and select “Network.”
  2. Select your active network connection from the left sidebar.
  3. Click on the “Advanced” button in the bottom right corner.
  4. Navigate to the “DNS” tab.
  5. Add your Preferred DNS server IP address by clicking on the “+” button below the list of DNS servers.

    In conclusion

    A Preferred DNS server plays a vital role in translating domain names into IP addresses, enabling you to access websites and online resources with ease. By configuring a reliable and fast Preferred DNS server, you can enhance your internet browsing experience, improve network performance, and potentially increase security.

    Remember to choose a Preferred DNS server that is both trustworthy and suits your specific needs. Setting your Preferred DNS server can be done easily through the network settings of your operating system or router configuration.

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