What Is the DNS Server on Windows?


Angela Bailey

The Domain Name System (DNS) server is an essential component of the internet infrastructure. It acts as a translation service, converting human-readable domain names into IP addresses that computers can understand. In this article, we will explore what the DNS server is and how it works on Windows operating systems.

What is a DNS Server?

A DNS server is a computer or network device that maintains a database of domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. When you type a website address in your web browser, such as www.example.com, the DNS server is responsible for translating that domain name into an IP address like 192.168.1.

Without DNS servers, we would have to memorize long strings of numbers (IP addresses) instead of using easy-to-remember domain names. The DNS system makes navigating the internet much more convenient and user-friendly.

How Does the DNS Server Work?

The process of translating a domain name into an IP address involves several steps:

  1. Your computer sends a request to its configured DNS server to resolve the domain name.
  2. If the configured DNS server doesn’t have the necessary information in its cache, it will send a request to other DNS servers in a hierarchical manner.
  3. The root DNS servers handle requests for top-level domains (.com, .org, .net), directing them to the appropriate authoritative name servers.
  4. The authoritative name servers are responsible for specific domains and hold information about their associated IP addresses.
  5. The requested IP address is sent back through the chain of DNS servers until it reaches your computer.

Configuring DNS Servers on Windows

Windows provides an easy way to configure your preferred DNS servers:

  1. Open the Control Panel by clicking on the Start menu and selecting Control Panel.
  2. Click on Network and Internet, then Network and Sharing Center.
  3. On the left-hand side, click on Change adapter settings.
  4. Right-click on your network connection (e.g., Ethernet or Wi-Fi) and select Properties.
  5. In the Properties window, scroll down and double-click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).
  6. Select “Use the following DNS server addresses” and enter the desired DNS server addresses.
  7. Click OK to save the changes.


The DNS server is a vital component of the internet infrastructure that translates domain names into IP addresses. Understanding how it works can help troubleshoot network issues and configure DNS servers effectively. By configuring your preferred DNS servers on Windows, you can optimize your internet experience.

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