What Is DNS Server in Mac?


Scott Campbell

What Is DNS Server in Mac?

In the world of technology, DNS (Domain Name System) plays a crucial role in translating domain names into IP addresses. It acts as a directory that connects domain names to their corresponding servers. Every time you type a website URL into your web browser, your Mac’s DNS server helps it find the correct IP address to access that website.

Understanding how DNS works on your Mac can help you troubleshoot network issues and improve your internet experience. Let’s dive deeper into the world of DNS servers and how they function on macOS.

DNS Server Basics

A DNS server is responsible for resolving domain names to IP addresses. When you enter a website address in your browser, your Mac sends a request to the configured DNS server, asking it to resolve the domain name to an IP address that can be understood by computers.

The DNS server then searches its database for the corresponding IP address associated with the particular domain name. Once found, it returns the IP address back to your Mac, allowing it to establish a connection with the desired website server.

Configuring DNS Server on Mac

Your Mac is preconfigured with default DNS servers provided by your internet service provider (ISP). However, you have the option to change or customize these settings according to your preferences or specific requirements.

To configure your DNS server settings on macOS:

  • Click on the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences.”
  • Choose “Network.”
  • Select your preferred network connection (Wi-Fi or Ethernet) from the left sidebar.
  • Click on “Advanced” at the bottom-right corner of the window.
  • Go to the “DNS” tab.
  • Add or remove DNS servers using the “+” and “-” buttons.
  • Drag and drop to reorder the DNS server priority.
  • Click “OK” to save the changes.

By customizing your DNS server settings, you can potentially improve your internet speed, security, and bypass certain restrictions imposed by your ISP. Many users prefer using third-party DNS servers like Google DNS (8.8.8) or Cloudflare DNS (1.1.1) for enhanced performance and privacy.

Clearing DNS Cache on Mac

Sometimes, your Mac’s DNS cache may cause issues by storing outdated or incorrect IP addresses for certain websites. Clearing the DNS cache can help resolve such problems and ensure that your Mac fetches the latest IP address information from the DNS server.

To clear the DNS cache on macOS:

  1. Open Terminal from Applications > Utilities (or search for it using Spotlight).
  2. Type the following command: sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
  3. Press Enter and enter your administrator password if prompted.

This command will flush the DNS cache on your Mac, forcing it to obtain fresh IP address information from the configured DNS server when accessing websites in the future.


DNS servers are an integral part of how internet browsing works on your Mac. By understanding their role and configuring them properly, you can optimize your network performance and ensure a smooth browsing experience.

Remember to periodically check and update your DNS server settings based on your needs or if you encounter any network-related issues. Clearing the DNS cache can also prove useful in troubleshooting connectivity problems.

Now that you have a better understanding of DNS servers in macOS, you can take control of your internet browsing experience and make the most out of your Mac’s network capabilities.

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