How to change your DNS provider to reduce DNS propagation delays

After you update your domain's name server settings, DNS (Domain Name System) propagation can sometimes take as long as 24 to 48 hours to fully complete. If your computer is using a DNS server that takes awhile to update, you have to wait longer to access your site.

However, some providers update their DNS servers more frequently, and typically faster than many ISPs (internet service providers). By using DNS servers from one of these faster providers for your computer, you can reduce the amount of time you must wait to access your site after making a DNS change.

Selecting a DNS provider

There are numerous companies that provide DNS services, but the following three are very well-known, and they update their DNS servers frequently. Which one you use is a matter of personal preference:

Google

As one of the largest internet companies, Google has an enormous networking infrastructure as its disposal. Google DNS servers provide fast, secure lookups. Additionally, the IP addresses of its DNS servers are easy to remember:

  • Primary DNS server: 8.8.8.8
  • Alternate DNS server: 8.8.4.4
  • TLS hostname: dns.google
Cloudflare

Cloudflare has the same advantages as Google—it has a very large networking infrastructure to provide fast, secure lookups. Their DNS server IP addresses are also easy to remember:

  • Primary DNS server: 1.1.1.1
  • Alternate DNS server: 1.0.0.1
  • TLS hostname: 1dot1dot1dot1.cloudflare-dns.com
OpenDNS

OpenDNS has been providing DNS services for more than 15 years. OpenDNS is focused on privacy and security, and is a good alternative to Google and Cloudflare (but the IP addresses are not as easy to remember as the other two):

  • Primary DNS server: 208.67.222.222
  • Alternate DNS server: 208.67.220.220
  • TLS hostname: OpenDNS does not support TLS hostnames, so you cannot use OpenDNS with Android devices.

Changing the DNS settings for your computer

After you have selected a provider to use, you are ready to change your computer's DNS settings. The procedure to do this varies; follow the appropriate steps below for your own operating system.

Microsoft Windows

To change the DNS servers on Microsoft Windows 10, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Windows icon.
  2. Click the Settings (gear) icon.
  3. Click Network & Internet.
  4. Click Change adapter options.
  5. Right-click the connection you want to modify, and then click Properties.
  6. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), and then click Properties.
  7. Click Use the following DNS server addresses.
  8. In the Preferred DNS server text box, type the IP address for the primary DNS server of your selected provider.
  9. In the Alternate DNS server text box, type the IP address for the alternate DNS server of your selected provider.
  10. Click OK.
  11. Click Close. Windows updates the settings for the network adapter.
macOS

To change the DNS servers on macOS, follow these steps:

  1. On the Apple menu, click System Preferences.
  2. Click the Network icon.
  3. In the left sidebar, click the connection you want to modify, and then click Advanced.
  4. Click the DNS tab.
  5. Under DNS Servers, next to IPv4 or IPv6 addresses, click the + (plus) sign.
  6. Type the IP address for the primary DNS server of your selected provider, and then press Enter.
  7. Click the + (plus) sign again, type the IP address for the alternate DNS server of your selected provider, and then press Enter.
  8. Select any previously existing IP addresses, and then click the - (minus) sign to remove them.
  9. Click OK. macOS updates the settings for the network adapter.
Linux

On Linux, the procedure to change the DNS servers depends on the distribution you have installed. Consult your distribution's documentation for instructions about how to change the networking settings.

Android

To change the DNS servers on Android devices, follow these steps:

  1. On the home screen, tap Settings, and then tap Network & Internet.
  2. Tap Advanced, and then tap Private DNS.
  3. Tap Private DNS provider hostname.
  4. Type the TLS hostname of your selected provider.
    As mentioned above in Selecting a DNS provider, OpenDNS does not currently support TLS hostnames, so unfortunately you cannot use it with Android devices. 
  5. Tap Save. Android updates the DNS settings.
iOS

To change the DNS servers on iOS devices, follow these steps:

  1. On the home screen, tap Settings, and then tap Wi-Fi.
  2. Locate the connection you want to modify, and then tap the information icon (the blue letter “i” in a blue circle).
  3. Scroll down, and then under DNS, tap Configure DNS.
  4. Tap Manual.
  5. Under DNS SERVERS, tap Add Server.
  6. Type the IP address for the primary DNS server of your selected provider.
  7. Tap Add Server again, and then type the IP address for the alternate DNS server of your selected provider.
  8. Tap Save. iOS updates the DNS settings for the connection.

More Information

For more information about DNS, please visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_Name_System.

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