What's My DNS Server?

Our DNS server checker tool verifies and displays the DNS servers your device is using. It also reveals the owner (ISP) of the DNS server processing your requests.

The tool (above) does this by analyzing how your DNS requests are processed on the internet.

If you’ve changed device or router DNS settings to use a specific DNS server, for example a Google (8.8.8.8) or a Cloudflare (1.1.1.1) server, you may see a slightly different DNS address.

This is because when you use an organization’s DNS server (e.g. 8.8.8.8), the server sends your requests onto other servers (with different IP addresses) in the company’s network to avoid server congestion.

What is a DNS Server?

DNS stands for Domain Name System and is comparable to a phone directory for the internet.

A DNS server is a computer server containing a directory of fully-qualified domain names (FQDN) and the corresponding public IP addresses for that domain.

A fully-qualified domain name is a hostname, a domain name, and a top-level domain (TLD) if the format of hostname.domain.tld, and is used as a human-friendly way to identify devices/computers on the internet to communicate with.

DNS servers translate domain names into their IP addresses, eventually letting you view the web content you want to access. We explain this process in the section below.

How Do DNS Servers Resolve DNS Queries?

When you visit a URL (a website address) in your browser, your device sends a DNS query to the DNS resolvers it knows about via your device's network settings, and the DNS resolver responds with the IP addresses on the internet where that website is located.

When the DNS resolver receives such a query, it communicates with several types of servers in a chain to find out which DNS server holds the information to answer the query.

  1. First, the resolver communicates with a DNS Root Server, to find out which servers hold information for the Top-Level Domain (TLD) part of your DNS query, e.g. .com or .net. The response to this is 1 or more IP addresses for TLD servers.
  2. The DNS resolver then communicates with a server from this list, passing the domain name and TLD to the server, and gets a response of 1 or more IP addresses for the Authoritative Name Servers for the domain name and TLD.
  3. Finally, the resolver communicates with these Authoritative Name Servers, querying the fully-qualified domain name, and receives 1 or more IP addresses which are the servers that host the content required.

This information is then returned to your browser running on your computer.

Once your web browser knows the IP address of a website, it communicates with the server at the IP address, and displays the received web content that is available on the URL.

Despite the number of steps involved, the process of resolving a DNS query and displaying a website’s content happens very quickly.

Why Should I Regularly Check My DNS Server?

To stay safe on the internet, you must verify that your computer's DNS requests are fulfilled by a trustworthy server.

Connecting to an untrustworthy DNS server carries serious security risks, such as identity theft and malware infections.

If you unknowingly use a DNS server operated by a hacker, it could redirect your browser to fake and dangerous websites.

Sadly, malware created by cybercriminals can hijack your computer's DNS requests and have them processed by rogue servers in their control. These are commonly referred to as DNS attacks.

To fully check your DNS requests are being fulfilled by a trusted DNS server, run a DNS server check with our tool prior to visiting and/or logging into a website.

Our DNS server check tool doesn’t simply look up your device’s or router’s settings. Instead, it uses advanced technology to determine the DNS server(s) in actual use.

How Do I Change My DNS Server?

Your Internet service provider (ISP) typically dictates which DNS server you use.

However, there are three key ways to change which DNS server your device uses:

  1. You can use a good virtual private network (VPN) to use the VPN service’s DNS servers.
  2. You can configure your DNS server in the Network Settings of your Operating System.
  3. Or, you can change your DNS settings on your home or office router. This effectively changes the DNS settings of all devices connected to that router.

DNS queries are fundamental to how the modern internet works. But, as with anything sent to third parties, DNS queries can be logged and stored by DNS servers. This can leave a trail of your internet activity, vulnerable to misuse.

If you want to hide your devices’ DNS activity and avoid it being logged, then using VPN software is by far the best method.

Free, Safe and Public DNS Servers

If you want your devices to use faster DNS servers, here are some of the best free DNS servers available to the public:

DNS ProviderPrimary DNSSecondary DNS
Google - IPv48.8.8.88.8.4.4
Google - IPv62001:4860:4860::88882001:4860:4860::8844
Quad9 - IPv49.9.9.9149.112.112.112
Quad9 - IPv62620:fe::fe2620:fe::9
OpenDNS - IPv4208.67.222.222208.67.220.220
OpenDNS - IPv62620:119:35::352620:119:53::53
Cloudflare - IPv41.1.1.11.0.0.1
Cloudflare - IPv62606:4700:4700::11112606:4700:4700::1001

Using one of the DNS servers above could improve DNS lookup times, and therefore increase your web browsing speed.

What’s My Router’s DNS Server Address?

There are several ways to find out which DNS server IP address your router is using. Most methods depend on your device’s operating system.

However, there is one technique which is by far the simplest for all users, and works for all devices.

The best way to check the DNS server address your router is using is by checking your router’s setup page. This is also known as the Webgui Status page.

Follow the three steps below to see which DNS server address your router is using:

  1. Launch your web browser and type the router’s IP address (also known as the Default Gateway) in the address bar. Often, the router’s IP address is 192.168.1.1. If it’s not, consult this helpful router IP address guide.
  2. Once you’ve accessed your router’s setup page, enter your router’s username and password.
  3. Click on ‘Status’ to view the DNS address currently being used.