How to Use Google’s and Public DNS Servers

Have you ever had trouble connecting to the internet, issues loading a website, or difficulty getting your devices to communicate with one another? Then, you’ve likely come across changing your DNS server as a recommended solution to these technical issues.  

The reason for this is DNS servers are responsible for converting human-readable domain names into IP addresses, which computers use to communicate with one another. DNS servers are also responsible for routing traffic between networks, which is why you get slow internet speeds, connectivity problems, and network issues when your DNS server isn’t working correctly.  

If you’re a regular reader here at TroubleshootingCentral, you may have seen us recommend using the DNS servers and as a solution on many of our internet and networking-related posts. This is why we’re taking an in-depth look at what public DNS servers are today. 

Read on to learn more about them, when you should use one, and how to connect to the most popular one of all – Google’s public DNS server. 

What is a DNS Server and What Do They Do?

A DNS (Domain Name System) server, sometimes called a nameserver, is a computer server containing a database of public IP addresses alongside their associated hostnames (Google, LinkedIn, YouTube). That sounds like a mouthful so let’s break it down a little more. 

You can think of a DNS server like the contact list on your phone. The name of the person is comparable to the website URL or hostname, while the phone number associated with that person’s name is like the website’s IP address. 

The job of the DNS server is to convert a website’s URL (hostname) into an IP address, which is a unique numerical identifier that uses the internet protocol layers to communicate over a network. It’s like a phone number for the internet. 

When you type a hostname, or URL, into your web browser, the DNS server (connected either directly to the computer, or remotely through your router) will look up the IP address associated with it and send you to the proper website, just like making a call will direct you to the specific device tied to the number dialed. 

Additionally, DNS servers also contain other record types, allowing them to route email, allow specific types of device-to-device communication like VOIP and video calls, and more. This overarching functionality makes DNS servers essential to the proper operation of the internet as a whole. 

Thus, it goes without saying that if you’re connected to a DNS server experiencing some difficulties, you’re going to get a whole host of internet-related problems. This is where public DNS servers come in.

What is a Public DNS Server and How is it Different?

A public DNS server is exactly what it sounds like: a publicly available and accessible DNS server. 

Most individuals connect to a DNS server hosted by their Internet Service Provider (ISP) as that is what is provided to them when they are first connected to the internet. The difference between them is that a public DNS server contains a lot more information on where websites are being hosted, namely, what servers are hosting them. 

So, why is this important? 

Your ISP’s DNS server will typically look through several other servers to find the information it needs. A public DNS server, on the other hand, already has the information on standby, allowing it to go directly to the server it needs and request the information. As a result, your internet browsing is sped up!

Examples of public DNS servers include Google, the largest and most widely used, as well as CloudFlare, Quad9, and OpenDNS.

examples of public DNS servers

Why You Might Want to Change DNS Servers and Why to a Public One?

Changing DNS servers can be done at any time, and is a perfectly safe process with several purposes for doing it. You may want to change to a public DNS server for the following reasons:

How to Switch To and Use Google’s 8. 8. 8. 8 and Public DNS Servers on Different Operating Systems

If you do decide to switch to a public DNS server, we recommend using Google’s DNS server  8. 8. 8. 8 and 8. 8. 4. 4. These are two of the most popular, safe, and well-maintained public DNS servers available, and they’re very easy to use. 

To switch to Google’s DNS servers, follow the instructions below for your operating system:

Windows Computers

To find the DNS settings on your Windows computer, you’ll need to find where the TCP/IP Properties are located for the selected network.  Here is how to do this: 

  1. In your computer’s search field/start menu, type in “Control Panel”.
Windows 10 or 11 control panel
  1. Click Network and Internet – Network & Sharing Center – Change Adapter Settings (found in the left-hand sidebar).
windows 10 or 11 network and sharing center
  1. Now select which connection you would like to configure the settings for.  You will have two options here: Ethernet Connection or WiFi Connection. 
network connections - ethernet cable or wi-fi
  1. Right-click on either of these and choose Properties from the context menu.
windows 10 or 11 IPv4 properties
  1. In the properties window, select the Networking tab at the top of the window.
  2. In the box window under “This connection uses the following items” text, select either the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) or the Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and click the Properties button. 
  3. In the Internet Protocol Version Properties window, before changing anything, click on the Advanced button and select the DNS tab. If you see any listed DNS numbers, write these down for future references and close out the window by hitting the okay button. 
windows 10 or 11 IPv4 -Advanced window
  1. Back under the General tab in the Internet Protocol Version Properties window, click on the “use the following DNS server addresses”  and this will allow you to replace what is already there with a new set of preferred and alternate DNS servers. If there are some already listed, write these down for future reference before replacing them. 
  2. When in the  Internet Protocol Version Properties window for IPv4, you’ll want to use Google’s DNS server as the preferred, and as the alternative. 
IPv4 setting for Google DNS server 8.8 8.8 and
  1. When in the  Internet Protocol Version Properties window for IPv6, you’ll want to replace them with 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844.
IPv6 setting Google DNS servers
  1. If you are ONLY using IPv6, then you can only use Google’s public DNS64 instead of what is listed in step 10. 


The process for changing your DNS servers on macOS is similar to that of a Windows computer, in that the DNS settings are specified in the Network window. 

  1. Click on your Apple Menu Logo – System Preferences – Network
macOS - system preferences
  1. In the Network window that pops up, see if there is a little lock icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the window. If there is, click on it to unlock the window so you can make changes. You may need to authenticate this action by typing in your password. 
macOS - network option
  1. Now select which connection you would like to configure the settings for.  You will have two options here: Ethernet Connection or WiFi Connection. 
macOS network connections - apply changes
  1. If configuring the Ethernet connection, select built-in Ethernet and then click on the Advanced button. 
  2. If configuring the WiFi, just simply click on the Advanced button. 
  1. Now in the Advanced window on either of these, choose DNS at the top.
macOS - advanced network
  1. Click on the little + icon to replace the listed addresses with the Google DNS and server addresses if using IPv4. 
macOS plus icon
  1. If using IPv6, then you’ll want to use:  2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844.
  2. If you are ONLY using IPv6, then you can only use Google’s public DNS64 instead of what is listed in step 8. 
  3. Then hit the okay and apply buttons and test to see if the connection is working properly. 
Google DNS server addresses 8.8 8.8 and in macOS


If you’re using a Linux-based Ubuntu computer, you can configure your DNS server settings through the Network Manager. 

  1. Head to your System – Preferences – then Network Connections. 
  2. Now select which connection you would like to configure the settings for.  You will have two options here: Ethernet Connection or WiFi Connection. 
  3. Click on either of these and then select your network interface in the eth0 list.
  4. Now click on the Edit button and select either your IPv4 or IPv6 Settings tab. 
  5. If you have Automatic (DHCP) selected, open the drop-down menu and change it to Automatic (DHCP) Addresses Only. If it is not set to Automatic (DHCP) then leave it as it is. 
  6. In the DNS servers fields, you’ll want to enter Google’s DNS server and for IPv4. 
  7. If you’re using IPv6, then you’ll want to add in  2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844.
  8. If you are ONLY using IPv6, then you can only use Google’s public DNS64 instead of what is listed in step 7. 
  9. Hit the apply button when done and test to make sure that the setup is working correctly. 

If you don’t have a Network Manager, you can specify your DNS server settings by using the /etc/resolv.conf. If you’re on a server, you can replace your nameserver lines with the same DNS server settings as listed above for IPv4 and IPv6.


Since every router has a different user interface, we can only provide the generic steps on configuring your DNS server settings. If the steps listed out below do not work or don’t get you to the right spot, you need to contact your ISP for router documentation. 

  1. Open up a clean/blank browser window. 
  2. Enter the IP address that allows you to view your router’s administration console. Examples of these include:,,, or If none of these work, you’ll need the default gateway address found in the network settings panel of your computer. 
  3. Enter your internet password to edit your network settings. 
  4. Search for the button or link that takes you to the DNS settings section.
  5. Write down any IP addresses already specified in the primary and secondary slots.
  6. Replace these addresses with and/or for IPv4 and 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844 for IPv6.
  7. If you are ONLY using IPv6, then you can only use Google’s public DNS64 instead of what is listed in step 6. 
  8. Now save, exit, and restart your browser to test the connection. 

Small note: if your router doesn’t accept the IPv6 addresses, it’s because it isn’t taking the :: found in the syntax. Just simply separate these out as such: 2001:4860:4860:0:0:0:0:8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860:0:0:0:0:8844. If 4 hex digits are required, expand the singular 0 with 0000.


The steps needed to change the DNS server settings on your iPhone, iPad, or even old iPod Touch are quite simple. 

  1. Find Settings on your home screen and go to WiFi.
Apple iPad Wi-Fi setting
  1. Tap the little “i” icon next to your WiFi network and scroll down to the DNS section.
  2. Tap on the Configure DNS option.
Apple iPad configure DNS option
  1. Now tap on Manual, and add in Google’s DNS server addresses. 
Apple iPad DNS add server
  1. For IPv4, type in and/or as the alternate.
Add Google DNS servers and on iOS
  1. For IPv6, type in 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844.
  2. If you switch back to Automatic (instead of Manual), this will restore the DNS server that was originally specified by your WiFi network. 
configure DNS - automatic


The steps needed to change the DNS server settings on your Android device that is using Android 9 (Pie) or higher are as follows: 

  1. Head into Settings – Connections – More Connection Settings – Private DNS.
android settings - internet and network connections
  1. Click into the Private DNS.
Set android private DNS configuration to Google DNS
  1. Choose Private DNS Provider Hostname. 
  2. Enter in as the hostname of the DNS server.
  3. Save it.

It is important to note here that older versions of Android do not support DNS-over-TLS and therefore don’t have the option to configure a Private DNS. Instead, you would have to manually configure the DNS for each WiFi connection you use. This is typically only recommended to advanced users of Android devices. 

Keep in mind that configuring your DNS server should be under the advanced WiFi settings, but some Android devices use a different user interface, so you might want to consult the manual/help guide for your specific phone. 

Slow Internet Connection Solved with Google DNS Server

If you’re looking for a way to speed up your internet connection or improve your online privacy, using a public DNS server like Google’s and/or can be a great solution. Not only are these some of the most reliable DNS servers, but some of the fastest as well. 

If this post has been helpful, let us know in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to check out our other troubleshooting articles – we cover everything from Windows/Linux to networking and more!

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