Walkthrough On Changing DNS Settings In Windows And Mac

Making use of DNS servers is a great way of boosting your browsing speeds, security and gaining access to restricted content in your geographical location. Generally, most operating systems usually have DNS set as automatic. This means that your ISP is the one that will suggest the DNS server to use. However, there’s a simple way of changing this in order for you to utilize a DNS server of your preferred choice.

We’ve compiled a simple step by step guide that will help both Windows and Mac users whenever they want to change their DNS settings.

Changing DNS Settings In Windows

Changing your DNS settings in Windows is an easy five step process. However, the steps might vary depending on the type of windows that you are using. We’ve outlined these below.

Tip: Ensure that you’ve logged into your system using valid administrator rights.

Windows 10 Users

  1. From the main screen, right click on start menu and select network connections. This will take you to the Network Connections Window.
  2. Right click on the network connection that you are currently using then click on properties.
  3.  Depending on the DNS server that you are using, you can either choose ‘Internet Protocol Version 6’ or ‘Internet Protocol Version 4’ (generally, TCP/IPV4 is more preferred for all DNS servers) then click properties.
  4. Select ‘Use the following DNS server addresses’ and then type in the IP addresses of your preferred DNS server in the Preferred DNS server and Alternate DNS server fields.
  5. Now click Ok, and then close the tabs in order of how they appear before finally closing the Network Connections Window.
  6. For your new settings to take effect immediately, ensure that you flush your web browser’s cache and the DNS resolver cache as well.

Windows 8 Users

  1. For windows 8 users, move your cursor to either the bottom right or top right corner of the screen and select settings then control panel.
  2. In the control panel window, select category and then change it to either large or small icons.
  3. From the resultant change in icons, you can then select Network and Sharing Center.
  4. Select ‘Change adapter settings’ in the new window. This will open up the Network Connections window.
  5. Right click on the network connection that you are currently using then click on properties.
  6. Depending on the DNS server that you are using, you can either choose ‘Internet Protocol Version 6’ or ‘Internet Protocol Version 4’ (generally, TCP/IPV4 is more preferred for all DNS servers) then click properties.
  7. Select ‘Use the following DNS server addresses’ and then type in the IP addresses of your preferred DNS server in the Preferred DNS server and Alternate DNS server fields.
  8. Now click Ok, and then close the tabs in order of how they appear before finally closing the Network Connections Window.
  9. For your new settings to take effect immediately, ensure that you flush your web browser’s cache and the DNS resolver cache as well.

Windows 7 Users

  1. Click on the start menu and then click on control panel.
  2. Once you are in the Control Panel Window, click on ‘View Network Status and Tasks’.
  3. Then click on ‘Change Adapter Settings’.
  4.  A new window with all your network lists will appear on the screen. Right click on the network connection that you are currently using then click on properties.
  5. You can then follow step 6-9 of setting up the DNS settings as outlined for Windows 8 users.

Changing DNS Settings In Mac OS X

In order for you to successfully change your DNS settings you’ll have to login into your system with valid administrator rights.

  1. Click on the Mac Apple sign then select system preferences.
  2. Choose network from the resultant screen.
  3. A Network center window will open; select Ethernet located on the left side of the screen.
  4. In the Network screen, click on the DNS tab then add your preferred DNS servers by clicking on the + located at the bottom left of the screen.
  5. Then click OK at the bottom right of the screen.
  6. In the Network center you will now be able to see the newly added DNS server. Click on Apply to save your settings.

You can also check out our guide for configuring a windows server on your machine.

How Your Firewall Settings Can Interfere With Your DNS Server

Most DNS server connectivity issues that are experienced are as a result of firewall settings. DNS servers work through queries (See different server software here).

This means that if you block your machine from being queried by means of a firewall, then you’ll definitely not experience any networking. However, many people never realize that they have a firewall problem at first. Here are some of the symptoms to check if you want to know whether your DNS server is being disrupted by your firewall;

  • Your machine taking long to establish a connection
  • Prevention of establishing connections by using DNS names instead of IP addresses

When you encounter these, always know that your firewall settings need to be reconfigured.

Configuring Your Firewall

Navigate To The Configuration Interface Of Your Firewall

Every machine/ router has a way in which you can be able to change its firewall settings. Therefore, it’s hard to detail exactly how you can get to this configuration. A good place to check would be to refer to your server/ machine OS documentation to find out how to get to this part. However, we’ve sneaked in a guide for windows users who would like to change their firewall settings.

  • Go to the control panel of your windows operating system (10/8/7).
  • Click on System and Security then select Windows Firewall.

Change Settings To Point To Port 53

You need to allow traffic by change the TCP and UDP protocol settings in port 53 of your machine. Depending on the firewall of your machine, you may need to set separate rules for each protocol or a single one that encompasses both of them.

For windows users you can access this by;

  • Click on Advanced Settings on the left hand pane from the Windows Firewall window.
  • This will lead you to a window with a list of rules on the left side. From the list select Inbound Rules.
  • Select New Rule from the right pane. This will open a new inbound rule wizard.
  • From it, select port as the new rule type then click next.
  • You can then choose either TCP or UDP protocol settings and then specify the specific port that you want to open (in our case port 53); then click next.
  • Select allow the connection.
  • Choose what network the rule applies then click next.
  • Give the rule a name and add a description if you want to, then click the finish button to complete the wizard.

Change Settings In All Machines

The last thing that you need to do is to ensure that all other machines connected on your network also allow traffic through port 53. Ensure that you also enable traffic through port 53 on the server computer in your business or home.

Conclusion

It’s also important that you ensure that users can’t be able to change the local DNS IP server to something other than the specific IP address for your DNS Server. If other users on your network are able to change the DNS IP address, they will be able to bypass your DNS server and any restrictions that you might have put on your network connections. In order to ensure that this does not work, you should setup a firewall on your network to ensure that other DNS services can’t access the internet.

The good thing about setting up all connections to use port 53 is that all users on the network will be forced to use the DNS settings defined on the server computer (or router). Another nifty solution also involves having all requests that are directed to DNS server different the set one to be forwarded to your preferred DNS Server (still through port 53). This will ensure that even if the DNS server address is changed on other machines. They will still access the network’s DNS server.

All of these can be made possible by the use of your machine’s firewall.