What Is the Alternate DNS Server?


Larry Thompson

What Is the Alternate DNS Server?

The Alternate DNS Server, also known as the secondary DNS server, is an essential component of the Domain Name System (DNS). It provides a backup option for resolving domain names into IP addresses when the primary DNS server is unavailable or fails to respond.

Why Do You Need an Alternate DNS Server?

In a typical network setup, devices like computers and smartphones rely on DNS servers to translate human-readable domain names (such as www.example.com) into machine-readable IP addresses (such as This process, known as DNS resolution, is crucial for accessing websites and other online services.

When you connect to the internet, your device automatically assigns a primary DNS server. This primary server is responsible for handling all your DNS queries. However, if this server encounters any issues or becomes overloaded, it may fail to respond promptly or at all.

This is where the alternate DNS server comes into play. It acts as a failover option in case the primary server experiences downtime or malfunctions. By specifying an alternate DNS server address in your device’s network settings, you can ensure uninterrupted access to websites even if the primary server fails.

How Does the Alternate DNS Server Work?

When you enter a domain name in your web browser, your device sends a request to its configured primary DNS server. If this server responds with the corresponding IP address, your device can establish a connection with the desired website.

If, however, the primary server fails to respond within a specified time limit or returns an error message indicating its unavailability, your device automatically switches to using the alternate DNS server for resolving domain names.

The alternate DNS server performs the same function as the primary server – it looks up the IP address associated with the requested domain name and returns it to your device. With this information, your device can establish a connection and load the website or online service you are trying to access.

Setting Up an Alternate DNS Server

To set up an alternate DNS server on your device, follow these steps:

  • Open the network settings on your device.
  • Locate the DNS settings.
  • Enter the IP address of your preferred alternate DNS server.
  • Save the changes and close the settings.

You can find various public DNS servers available on the internet. Some popular options include Google Public DNS (8.8.8, 8.4.4) and Cloudflare DNS (1.1.1, 1. These servers are known for their reliability and fast response times.

Benefits of Using an Alternate DNS Server

Using an alternate DNS server offers several benefits:

  • Redundancy: By having a secondary DNS server, you ensure that even if the primary server fails, you can still access websites without interruptions.
  • Faster Response Times: Some alternate DNS servers are optimized for speed and can provide quicker resolution of domain names compared to default ISP-provided servers.
  • Bypassing Geo-restrictions: Certain alternate DNS servers allow you to bypass regional restrictions imposed by websites or services by resolving domain names from different locations.

Note: It is important to choose reliable and trustworthy alternate DNS servers to ensure security and privacy while browsing the internet.

In Conclusion

The alternate DNS server serves as a backup option for resolving domain names when the primary server is unavailable. By setting up an alternate DNS server, you can ensure uninterrupted access to websites even if the primary server fails.

Additionally, using an alternate DNS server can provide faster response times and help bypass certain regional restrictions. Remember to choose trustworthy servers for enhanced security and privacy.

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