The web is comprised of websites, which are just files being downloaded by your web browser from a web server.

In the early days of the Internet, you would need to know the IP addresses of these web servers to access the websites they serve.

Nowadays, you use Google or type in the website’s domain name, but how does it work and what does DNS have to do with this?

DNS stands for Domain Name System and helps map a website’s domain name to the IP addresses of the web server serving it.

When you go to www.facebook.com, your computer first asks a DNS server (or a few) what the IP address is for Facebook (there are a few more things that take place after such as storing the IP address in your computer’s DNS cache for next time, but that’s out of the scope of this post).

Your default DNS server(s) are usually hosted by your ISP (Internet Service Provider), which is ok as way of getting access to the Internet, but they tend to be slow, overused and your ISP could use this opportunity to perform controversial activity such as DNS request logging/snooping, blocking/filtering content, advertising and more.

Luckily there are plenty free alternatives to your ISP’s DNS servers which you can switch to right now for free and it’s easier than you think.

My personal favourite is 1.1.1.1 aka. one.one.one.one by Cloudflare. In case you didn’t know, Cloudflare provides DNS services for websites and small all the way to large companies as well.

Google runs a public DNS service with the IP 8.8.8.8.

OpenDNS (a Cisco company) operates a DNS service with some cool optional customisation such as content filtering/blocking, phishing protection and more.

Quad9 aka. 9.9.9.9 also appears to be a good trusted DNS provider by other tech gurus.

ProviderPrimary DNS Server IPSecondary DNS Server IP
Cloudflare1.1.1.11.0.0.1
Google8.8.8.88.8.4.4
OpenDNS208.67.222.222208.67.220.220
Quad99.9.9.9149.112.112.112

So whichever one you choose to switch to, you’re bound to get performance and security benefits.

But how do you change your DNS?

There are 2 options… you could change the DNS server IP addresses on your router or you can change the DNS server IP addresses on each of your devices.

The benefit of changing the DNS on your router is that every device will automatically use the new DNS servers whenever they connect, however some ISP-provided routers don’t allow this e.g. BT Hubs, so you’ll have to settle for the latter or buy a new router (also recommended).

To change your DNS for common routers, check out this awesome guide.

To change your DNS on a single device e.g. phone, tablet, laptop etc…, check out these awesome guides…

I hope this post has been useful.

Please feel free to share it with your friends, family and colleagues.